Wayland Baptist University served as host site for COVID-19 drive-through testing on June 25. The Texas Department of Emergency Management tested 309 individuals, with assistance from U.S. Air Force personnel. Coralyn Dillard, director of health services at Wayland, noted the call center that handled registration received more than 6,000 calls the day before the event. The drive-through testing at the Wayland site was extended three hours beyond the original schedule, serving every vehicle waiting in line.
Howard Payne University held a groundbreaking ceremony June 25 to celebrate the beginning of construction on the Newbury Family Welcome Center. The facility is named for the family of Don Newbury, president of the university from 1985 to 1997 and current chancellor. The welcome center will be located on the historic former site of Old Main, the university’s original building, which was destroyed by fire in 1984. The new building not only will serve as a welcome center for visitors and prospective students, but also will house the HPU admissions office and provide space for meetings and events. In addition to Don and Brenda Newbury and other members of their family, others who participated in the groundbreaking ceremony included Cory Hines, HPU president; Deborah Cartwright, chair of the university’s board of trustees; Ronny Marriott, an HPU trustee and senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Burleson; Draco Miller, Brownwood mayor pro tem and city councilman; Chris Liebrum, director of Cooperative Program ministry at the Baptist General Convention of Texas; and Richard Jackson, former HPU trustee and president of the Jackson Center for Evangelism and Encouragement.
A $1.5 million gift to Baylor University from James Robert “JB” Parker, an orthopedic surgeon from Amarillo, will combine with a match from the Baylor Academic Challenge to create the James Robert Parker Endowed Chair in Health Science and Leadership. The chairholder will help teach and mentor the Baylor Honors College’s pre-medical, pre-health and science students, a population of approximately 400 students. The Parker Chair also will support students through supervision of Honors College theses, connect students to research programs, and develop clinical internship and research partnerships within local, regional and national health care providers and research centers.
Christopher McCloskey, a freshman at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, earned second place honors in the 2020 National Student Auditions during the virtual national conference of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. More than 750 participants applied to be considered for the competition, submitting performances via YouTube. McCloskey learned on May 27 he had been selected as one of 14 semifinalists. In a typical year, the semifinalists would be invited to perform live during the NATS National Conference. Due to COVID-19, however, this year’s conference was moved online. On June 21, McCloskey learned he was one of three finalists. Each finalist selected one of his or her three videos to be played, judged and ranked on a June 28 livestream.
Wayland Baptist University and Weatherford College will join with Lubbock Independent School District, Arlington ISD and the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences to create a consortium in partnership with Steinway & Sons. Using Steinway’s Spirio | r high-resolution player piano capable of live performance capture and playback, the consortium will link students from high school to college via coordinated distance piano education allowing real-time sharing of live performances, one-on-one lessons and group masterclasses between remote locations. “We are excited to be part of this next generation of distance music education,” Wayland President Bobby Hall said. “Under the leadership of our visionary music faculty, we will cultivate fresh, distance partnerships while refining the curricular impact of the Spirio | r. In doing so, this will greatly increase our capacity to provide high-quality piano instruction for those in urban, low socioeconomic and remote locations.”
At a called meeting in mid-June, the Texans Against Gambling board of directors elected Mark Bumpus as its secretary and elected Michael Evans Jr. as a board member. Bumpus, who retired earlier this year as pastor of First Baptist Church in Graham, succeeds Jana Jackson, who is retiring from the staff of Dallas Baptist Association, as secretary. Evans is public policy director for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission.
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship named two Texas Baptists as CBF Fellows for 2020-22: Kan’Dace Brock, church starter and co-pastor of The Message Church in San Antonio; and Israel Loachamin, director of La Puerta, a ministry to immigrants based at First Baptist Church in Waco. The CBF Fellow program helps young ministers make healthy transitions into congregational ministry by providing a range of professional development opportunities including peer learning, mentoring and coaching.
100th for Alto Frio Baptist Encampment at Leakey. The camp celebrated its centennial with worship, fellowship and fireworks June 19-20. Alumni offered remembrances, and current staff presented future plans. Worship leaders included the Singing Men of South Texas and Singing Women of Texas as a combined choir. Rusty Brandon is executive director.