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Dr. Donna Hedgepath



Wayland presents President-elect to faculty, students, and community

PLAINVIEW — Dr. Donna Hedgepath has been unanimously appointed by the Board of Trustees to serve as the 14th president of Wayland Baptist University.

Dr. Hedgepath, who will become the first woman to lead the 115-year-old university, was introduced by Mark Jones, chair of Wayland’s Board of Trustees. She currently serves as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, KY. Upon the unanimous recommendation of the Presidential Search Committee, Dr. Hedgepath was selected by Wayland’s trustees during a meeting held Thursday, Jan. 25.

Dr. Hedgepath will succeed Dr. Bobby Hall, who announced in 2023 his intent to retire on June 30, 2024. She begins her new duties July 1.

It is a tremendous privilege to be invited to lead Wayland Baptist University,” Dr. Hedgepath said. “To serve this institution is an extraordinary opportunity. Academics have played a major role in my career as an educator, department dean, vice president, and provost. Using my experience, I am excited to lead the faculty and staff as we build on the excellent foundation established here at Wayland.”

Dr. Hedgepath said she is humbled by the confidence Wayland’s trustees have placed in her as well as by the prospect of succeeding Dr. Hall, who she noted, “has faithfully served this institution for more than four decades.”

I am eagerly looking forward to working with all Pioneers to build on this great university’s strong foundations,” Dr. Hedgepath said. “I intend to foster a culture of collaboration and excellence. By working together, we can propel Wayland to even greater eminence through a strong commitment to student success, development, and service, as well as stewardship of what God has given us.”

Mark Jones, chair of Wayland’s board, said trustees are thrilled the nine-month search for a new leader has come to a successful conclusion with the appointment of Dr. Hedgepath as the 14th president.

Dr. Hedgepath is most importantly an educator, but she is also a tremendously talented and experienced leader with a track record of innovation and tangible, positive results,” he said.

We are confident that Dr. Hedgepath has the intellectual vision, Christian faith, and personal integrity to inspire our Wayland family to new levels of excellence. We look forward to working alongside her to foster a climate of community, engagement, and mutual respect.”

Jones said that following an extensive national search, trustees unanimously selected Dr. Hedgepath from a diverse and impressive pool of candidates.

A champion of program innovation and academic excellence, Dr. Hedgepath has proven to possess the passion, knowledge, and strategic vision necessary to advance Wayland and build upon our distinguished reputation,” Jones said. “For many years, Dr. Hedgepath has been deeply involved in issues fundamental to Christ-centered higher education leadership, including admissions, student life, athletics, finance, and philanthropy.”

Jones expressed “heartfelt thanks” to the Presidential Search Committee.

The impact of your efforts simply cannot be overstated,” he said. “We would also like to thank all who contributed their support and perspectives throughout this process.”


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Statement of Chairmen of the Board of Trustees

Statement • Mark Jones, Chairman, Board of Trustees

Esteemed faculty and staff, students, and members of the Wayland Baptist University family, as well as the Plainview community, welcome. This is a great day for our university.

It is with great pleasure and anticipation that I introduce to you the person who will serve as the 14th President of Wayland Baptist University, Dr. Donna Hedgepath. In embracing the spirit of our university's Pioneer legacy, Dr. Hedgepath embodies the essence of forward-thinking leadership that has defined Wayland throughout its rich 115-year history.

Our President-elect is no stranger to pioneering endeavors. With a Ph.D. specializing in Teacher Quality, she brings a wealth of experience as a high school public school teacher, college professor, Fine Arts department dean, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Provost at a large, multi-campus Baptist university.

Her achievements include spearheading the development of dozens of degree programs, academic minors, and trade certification programs at her current university, supervising external campus locations throughout the United States and Canada, and, notably, driving exponential increases in enrollment throughout her current university system.

Beyond her impressive professional accomplishments, Dr. Hedgepath is deeply engaged in her local community, including her church, other religious organizations, a regional hospital board, local arts organizations, and her local chamber of commerce. A church pianist and Sunday School teacher, she brings sincerity, authenticity, and a holistic understanding of community dynamics.

Described by those who know her as someone who sees the big picture and knows how to generate enrollment growth, Dr. Hedgepath is a testament to the aspirations we set as we embarked on our search. The search committee, guided by the belief that God had already identified Wayland's next president, was unanimous in recommending Dr. Hedgepath on the very first vote.

It is with immense pride and excitement that I invite you to join me in welcoming Dr. Donna Hedgepath, who will be the 14th President of Wayland Baptist University.

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Statement of President-Elect

Statement • Dr. Donna Hedgepath, President-elect

Good morning to each of you. Thank you for being here today.

It is a joy to be come along side Mark Jones, Chair of the Board of Trustees; and Dr. Bobby Hall, the 13th President of this institution, and to stand before each of you — the faculty, staff, and students at Wayland Baptist University as well as the Greater Plainview community. I am also proud to be joined by my husband, Pete.

I am deeply honored and humbled to accept the position of President of Wayland Baptist University, and I am filled with gratitude for the trust and confidence that the university’s trustees have placed in me. It is indeed a tremendous privilege to be invited to lead this esteemed institution, and I am excited about the extraordinary opportunity to serve Wayland in this capacity.

Throughout my career as an educator, dean, vice president, and provost, academics have played a pivotal role. Now, as I look forward to the role of President, I am eager to bring my experience to the forefront and lead the faculty and staff in building upon the excellent foundation established here at Wayland.

I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for the dedicated service of Dr. Hall, who has faithfully served this institution for many years. Succeeding such a distinguish leader is both an honor and a responsibility that I approach with great humility and determination.

I look forward to collaborating with all Pioneers — faculty, staff, students, and alumni — as we work together to elevate Wayland to even greater heights. My commitment is to foster a culture of collaboration and exhortation, where we can collectively propel the university forward.

Our focus will be on student success, development, and service, guided by strong stewardship of the resources and responsibilities God has entrusted to us. By working together, we can ensure that Wayland remains a beacon of academic excellence in higher education.

To the trustees, as well as the search committee, I want to express my thanks for affording me this incredible opportunity. I eagerly anticipate the journey ahead as we work together to shape the future of Wayland Baptist University.

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Statement of Current President

Statement • Dr. Bobby Hall, WBU President

I would like to thank each of you for being here today. This is a great day for the university I have loved with all my heart for so many years. Although I am retiring at the end of June, my heart will always be at Wayland Baptist University. That Pioneer DNA that the chairman of the Board of Trustees mentioned a moment ago will always run through my veins. And because that is true, it is my great pleasure to extend heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Donna Hedgepath, our President-elect and soon to be the 14th President of this institution. Dr. Hedgepath's distinguished career and remarkable contributions to Christian higher education make her an outstanding choice for this important role.

Dr. Hedgepath has demonstrated exemplary leadership during her tenure at Campbellsville University, and her passion for academic excellence aligns seamlessly with the values that define Wayland Baptist University. I am confident that her vision, dedication, and wealth of experience will greatly benefit our institution as we continue our mission of providing a transformative education.

As we welcome Dr. Hedgepath to our university community, I am excited about the positive impact she will undoubtedly have on the future of Wayland Baptist University. I look forward to working with her during a time of transition, and I offer full support as the Wayland family embarks with her on this new chapter in our storied history. Dr. Hedgepath, may God richly bless you and guide you in the days to come.

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WBU History

Wayland • History

Like many people, Dr. James Henry Wayland came to Plainview as a pioneer, seeking a place to live, work and raise a family. Dr. Wayland probably never imagined how the school he founded would grow and have the influence it would have throughout the world.

Born April 22, 1863, in Randolph County, Missouri, he was the son of Joseph and Catherine Gates Wayland. He attended medical school in Louisville, KY, and at the age of 20 he struck out on his own, moving to Parker County, TX. Dr. Wayland met and fell in love with Sarah Tucker. Soon after they were married, they moved to Hunt County. However, chronic asthma health issues forced Dr. Wayland to look for a new place to live. Hoping the higher, drier climate of the Panhandle would ease his symptoms, he moved his family to Plainview in 1891.

As he cared for the people of West Texas, Dr. Wayland saw the need for education grounded in faith in Christ. While dozens of schools founded by Baptists struggled due to small populations or too much competition, Baptists continued to push for education. There was a lot of competition for a Baptist school, including two other Baptist schools in the Panhandle. Despite the competition, Dr. Wayland offered $10,000 and 25 acres of land to the Staked Plains Baptist Association in 1906 to form a school. The deal was contingent on the city of Plainview raising $40,000 to help fund the project. Dr. Wayland, who owned much of the land in what would soon be known as the College Hill area, planned to sell lots to raise money for the school. Prices ranged from $50-$250 per lot.

Wayland was chartered on Aug. 31, 1908. As Dr. Wayland continued to give to the school, his gift would grow to more than $100,000, an enormous sum of money in the early 1900s. The first classes were held in September of 1910 in Matador Hall with 241 students enrolled in what was now called Wayland Baptist College. By 1914, Wayland had become one of the correlated schools affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

During Dr. James W. "Bill" Marshall's tenure from 1947 to 1953, Wayland began to expand its reach. An international student program was initiated, and the college soon had a higher percentage of international students than any other American college or university. By 1948, Wayland had become a four-year college. Wayland continued to make bold strides forward in 1951 by becoming the first four-year liberal arts college in the former Confederate states to voluntarily admit black students. This decision came three years before the Supreme Court's decision that banned racial segregation in schools.

In 1956, Wayland marked another milestone by securing full accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and attained the approval of the Texas Education Agency to certify teachers.

By the 1970s, Wayland began expanding its reach, beginning by offering courses to law enforcement in Lubbock in 1972. Wayland opened its first official external campus in Wichita Falls in 1974, Amarillo in 1976 and Hawaii in 1979. Wayland also reached out to non-traditional, full-time adult learners in 1973 by offering what is now known as the Bachelor of Applied Science degree.

In the 1980s, Wayland moved from college to university status and began offering graduate and lifelong learning programs. At the dawn of the 21st century Wayland opened its online campus so students around the world could attend the university. By 2003, Wayland Baptist University had become the fourth-largest Southern Baptist university in the United States. Wayland continues to operate campuses and offer degrees in several states as well as online. The university added a doctoral program in 2016, added a second doctoral program in 2023.

Continuing the pioneer spirit, the Board of Trustees in January 2024 named Dr. Donna Hedgepath to be the 14th President of Wayland Baptist University. The President-elect becomes the first woman to lead the university.


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Presidents of Wayland Baptist University

Isaac E. Gates
1909-1915 — First President

Orren L. Hailey
1915-1916 — Second President

Robert E. Lee Farmer
1916-1918 — Third President

Elmer B. Atwood
1919-1923 — Fourth President

George McDonald
1924-1947 — Fifth President

James Marshall
1947-1953 — Sixth President

Albert H. Owen
1953-1963 — Seventh President

Roy C. McClung
1963-1980 — Eighth President

David L. Jester
1981-1987 — Ninth President

Edwin L. “Lanny” Hall
1989-1991 — 10th President

Wallace E. Davis
1991-2001 — 11th President

Paul W. Armes
2001-2016 — 12th President

Bobby Hall
2017-Present — 13th President

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Wayland At a Glance

Wayland Baptist University was established in 1908 by pioneer physician Dr. James Henry Wayland, who believed that education should be accessible to all and that it should be grounded in faith in Christ. Wayland is the oldest institution of higher education in continuous existence on the High Plains of Texas.

Our Mission
Wayland Baptist University exists to educate students in an academically challenging, learningfocused, and distinctively Christian environment for professional success and service to God and humankind.

Wayland Baptist University is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

Wayland's home campus in Plainview, Texas, a city of about 20,000, is located on the High Plains of West Texas between Lubbock and Amarillo. However, Wayland also operates campuses in San Antonio, Lubbock, Amarillo, and Wichita Falls in Texas; as well as Phoenix and Sierra Vista, Ariz.; Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska; and Mililani, Hawaii. The university also offers full degree programs online.

Academic Excellence
Fully Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Wayland is committed to offering academically challenging programs that prepare students for careers and lifelong learning.

With 18 sports teams, Wayland Baptist University has long been a contender in athletics. Our student-athletes have performed well both in and out of the competition venues with many earning high academic honors and awards. Our sports teams have brought home several championship titles in basketball, baseball, and track through the years. Wayland’s barrierbreaking and award-winning Flying Queens women's basketball team is enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

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