Around the State: Astronaut Charlie Duke to lecture at UMHB

Astronaut Charlie Duke, who piloted the lunar module for the Apollo 16 mission, will be the featured speaker for the 2020 McLane Lecture at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

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Charlie Duke

Astronaut Charlie Duke, one of only a dozen men to set foot on the moon, will be the featured speaker for the 2020 McLane Lecture at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Duke will speak at 11 a.m. on March 18 in the arena of the UMHB Frank & Sue Mayborn Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public. In 1972, Duke piloted the Apollo 16 lunar module. Previously, he was spacecraft communicator for the Apollo 11 moon landing and backup lunar module pilot for the Apollo 13 mission. Duke is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After he retired from NASA in 1975, Duke entered private business in San Antonio. He also entered the U.S. Air Force Reserves, where he rose to the rank of brigadier general before retiring in 1986. He was awarded the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal. Duke and his wife Dorothy live in New Braunfels, where he is president of Charlie Duke Enterprises and owner of Duke Investments. This is the seventeenth McLane Lecture sponsored by Elizabeth and Drayton McLane Jr., created to bring outstanding individuals to the UMHB campus to share their experiences and insights about leadership, government, business and faith.

Elona Prroj, vice president of the Evangelical Alliance of Albania and founding director of the No Blood Feud Yes to Life Foundation, speaks in chapel at Dallas Baptist University.

Elona Prroj, vice president of the Evangelical Alliance of Albania, spoke in chapel at Dallas Baptist University. She and her husband Dritan were co-pastors of Word of Christ Church in Shkodër. In 2005, her husband’s uncle had an argument with another man in a restaurant and killed him. At that point, 25 men and boys in Prroj’s family were in mortal danger, due to a 500-year-old blood feud honor code called Kanun law. In 2010, the 21-year-old brother of the man his uncle had killed shot Dritan Prroj eight times in the doorway of his church. He died at age 34. Fearful their 10-year-old son Gabriel would perpetuate the cycle of revenge, Elona Prroj asked the boy what he planned to do. “Mom, Jesus told us to forgive our enemies,” Gabriel Prroj told his mother. Elona Prroj went on to become founding director of the No Blood Feud Yes to Life Foundation in Albania. “Forgiveness is a process that happens all your life,” he told students and faculty at DBU. “Every morning I wake up, I must decide to forgive.”

Baylor University has announced the slate of alumni-elected regent candidates presented for election this spring.  They are Kristina (Krissy) Doerner Guidi, a 2000 graduate from McLean, Va.; Brenda Rowland Sims, a 1979 graduate from McKinney; and Bradley T. Steele, a 1979 graduate from Longview. Credentials for voting will be provided to all degree-holding alumni of the university by mail and/or email in advance of the voting period. The election will be conducted by an independent third party in late April through early May. The candidate who receives the most votes will serve a three-year term on the Baylor board of regents. The candidates, whose nominations were supported by the signatures of at least 50 other Baylor graduates or who were nominated by official advisory and advocacy boards and groups associated with the university, were considered by a nominating committee comprised of two sitting alumni-elected regents not up for re-election and two other regents. A full list of guidelines for the election can be found on the Baylor Alumni-elected Regents website here.

Deborah Cartwright, a tax attorney from Austin, addressed the inaugural Career Summit at Howard Payne University.

Howard Payne University recently hosted more than 90 students, faculty, staff and alumni at its inaugural Career Summit. The university’s offices of career services, alumni relations and university services jointly coordinated the event, which featured seven HPU alumni who discussed their experiences in professional sectors including law, education, business, finance, municipal government and university administration. In addition to HPU President Cory Hines, other speakers were Bobbette Bell, a longtime educator with school districts in Mart and Salado; Deborah Cartwright, a tax attorney from Austin who worked with two Texas state comptrollers; Stephen Cox, director of bands at Eastland Independent School District; Daniel Hutson, vice president for commercial lending at TexasBank in Brownwood; Natalia Lopez, an immigration attorney with law offices in Brownwood and Fort Worth; and Marshal McIntosh, public information officer and assistant director of economic development with the City of Brownwood.

In support of East Texas Baptist University’s Neighborhood Renewal Initiative, ETBU is partnering with Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity to carry out its first Blitz Build in Marshall during Spring Break, March 9-13. ETBU students, staff and faculty will volunteer their time and labor throughout the week to make a difference in the life of a local family. “I am thankful for those who will sacrifice part of their spring break to live out their faith and be the hands and feet of Jesus as they serve our community,” said Scott Stevens, dean of spiritual life at ETBU. In the months leading up to the build, ETBU secured a vacant lot near campus in an effort to help provide affordable, quality housing for local families. The university has donated the lot in support of the Blitz Build program and is scheduling volunteers to cover the work site throughout the week.

Albert Reyes, president and chief executive officer of Buckner International, spoke in chapel Feb. 26 at Wayland Baptist University. He also participated in a luncheon panel discussion. “What the world needs now is hope,” Reyes said. Wayland currently is participating in a drive to collect shoes for Buckner’s Shoes for Orphan Souls program.

During the inaugural Patriots Prepared event at Dallas Baptist University, a panel included (left to right) Chad Estis, executive vice president of the Dallas Cowboys; Cynthia Marshall, chief executive officer of the Dallas Mavericks;and Rob Matwick, executive vice president of the Texas Rangers.

In partnership with the Dallas Baptist University Center for Career and Professional Development, the DBU department of athletics held its inaugural Patriots Prepared student-athlete event Feb. 10. A panel discussion featured Cynthia Marshall, chief executive officer of the Dallas Mavericks; Chad Estis, executive vice president of the Dallas Cowboys; Rob Matwick, executive vice president of the Texas Rangers; and Dave Brown, chief operating officer and general manager of the American Airlines Center. Brendan Smith, assistant director of athletics at DBU, moderated the panel.

Mack Rhoades, vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics at Baylor University, has been selected as a recipient of the Under Armour AD of the Year Award for 2019-20. The award highlights the efforts of athletics directors at all levels for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses and their surrounding communities. Rhoades has led Baylor’s department of intercollegiate athletics since July 2016, focusing on a commitment to “Preparing Champions for Life,” by emphasizing academic achievement, athletic success, character formation and spiritual growth. “Mack has achieved remarkable success in leading our athletics program to arguably its greatest heights in school history, and his example of values-based leadership has aligned with our university mission and uplifted the entire Baylor community,” Baylor President Linda Livingstone said.

Scott Whitson, executive director of the Southwest Metroplex Baptist Association, and Gene Wilkes, president of B. H. Carroll Theological Institute, reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Gene Wilkes, president of B. H. Carroll Theological Institute, and Scott Whitson, executive director of the Southwest Metroplex Baptist Association, climbed 19,341 feet to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. The pair raised $5,000 for Baptist theological education in Tanzania and more than $3,700 for scholarships for B.H. Carroll students.

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Baylor University has been ranked on the Peace Corps’ list of top volunteer-producing colleges and universities in 2020, coming in at No. 21 among medium-sized schools. Currently, 17 Baylor alumni are serving as Peace Corps volunteers in countries around the world. Since the agency’s founding in 1961, about 215 Baylor alumni have served abroad as Peace Corps volunteers. More than 8,174 Texans have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.


Craig Vire after 33 years as pastor of Bethesda Baptist Church in Burleson. The church will host a reception honoring Vire and his wife Pamela from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on March 29.

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