Wayland prepares to celebrate centennial

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PLAINVIEW—After years of planning and preparation, Wayland Baptist University has kicked off its celebration of the century.

“We’ve set a calendar that will feature events for the university family and the community at large, as well as our extended WBU family in the form of alumni and our external campuses,” said Teresa Young, a 1994 graduate who is co-chair of the celebration with Hope English, director of development.

“We think we’ve got a perfect lineup of events for almost every audience, from the fine arts aficionado to the sports fans and those who just like to celebrate in a festive atmosphere.”

The year kicked off with exhibits in the various buildings on campus and the museum of the Llano Estacado.

Freshman orientation, called Koinonia, and faculty-staff development—both held in mid-August before the fall term begins in Plainview—marked the first official celebrations.

Convocation Chapel, marking the official start of the fall term, is planned for August 27, and students will celebrate a centennial-themed Pride Week Sept. 2-6. Then Wayland reaches out, drawing the community into its celebration.

“We’re reprising last year’s first Plainview Pioneer Palooza on Sept. 6 this year as the community birthday party, with inflatable games for kids, other game and food booths, door prizes and entertainment,” Young said. “This year we’re adding the KDP Corporate Spelling Bee, a hamburger cookout, and a musical celebration of the decades by Don Caldwell and the Texas Rhythm Machine. It’ll be a great time for the community to come out and celebrate with us to ring in the birthday year.”

The family-friendly event will take on a multicultural feel in terms of entertainment and activities, reflecting the heritage of diversity at Wayland and in Plainview. While most of the events of the day will be free, food plates will incur a minimal charge. Commemorative items marking the 100th anniversary will be available for purchase as well.

A banquet for local teachers who are Wayland alumni will be held Sept. 25 featuring author Hal Urban, followed by the annual Leadership Summit for students. October opens with the Centennial Hymn Celebration on Sunday, Oct. 5, an afternoon event that will include a walk through beloved hymns of the century, featuring plenty of audience participation.

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Students, alums and community members will join hands Oct. 8-11 for a building blitz of a Habitat for Humanity house, built on the Wayland campus and moved later to the Habitat neighborhood. In partnership with First Baptist Church of Plainview, the house project will be an opportunity to give back to the community in honor of their support for 100 years. The annual Degree of Difference Day will follow on Oct. 11, with other community service projects in Plainview set for that day.

The first major musical production of the centennial, the Fall Choral Festival, is set for Oct. 23. Besides performances by the International Choir and other choral groups, the event will feature the debut performance of the commissioned Centennial Anthem, written by Gary Belshaw, associate professor of piano pedagogy at Wayland.

Other fall campus events include a presidential Debate Watch, an ethics competition for students, and the annual Miss Wayland pageant on Nov. 1. Then on Nov. 12, a special chapel will feature a salute to the military influence at WBU, notably the veterans who returned after the war to boost enrollment, and those military personnel who have studied at Wayland over the decades at our external campuses. A book signing for the history book and a writer’s workshop focusing on researching family history round out November.

December will welcome a new event, Centennial Christmas in the Circle, on Dec. 5. On that evening, the campus lights will be turned on, and visitors will enjoy brief entertainment and light refreshments in the Gates Hall foyer before attending the annual American Family Christmas concert in Harral Auditorium.

After the graduation celebration and ceremony in December 2009 kicks off with Heritage Chapel on Jan. 21 and a luncheon honoring Plainview scholarship donors and student recipients. The business division will host Business After Hours for the Plainview Chamber of Commerce.

February is homecoming month at Wayland, and the centennial year will be even bigger than usual. Slated Feb. 19-22, homecoming will include the usual ballgames and reunions, with emphasis for all alumni to return regardless of class year. Special events planned are a bigger reunion by International Choir alums, a special banquet for mathematics and science alumni and faculty, receptions for band and radio station alums, a full musical theatre production and an alumni art exhibit in the Abraham Art Gallery. The Athletic Hall of Honor induction will take on a centennial flair as all previous inductees are invited to return for the celebration.

Spring continues with the annual Panhandle-Plains Pastors’ and Laymen’s Conference March 9-11 and the spring break Week of Service. The Centennial Gala is slated for March 21, with the Glenn Miller Orchestra booked to perform. The formal event will raise funds for scholarships and celebrate the big band era in history.

As the centennial year winds down, April includes a “Good ol’ Days” baseball game featuring 25-cent hot dogs and Cokes and throwback activities at Wilder Field. The annual McCoy Lecture series will be a celebration of Wayland’s mission heritage on April 1. The President’s Centennial Concert is slated for April 18, including performances by many WBU music groups as a tribute to the former leaders of the university. A Founder’s Day Celebration is scheduled for April 20, with chapel honoring founder James H. Wayland. The evening rounds out with the annual outdoor concert by the Wayland band.

The year wraps up with May graduation celebration and ceremony and the centennial officially ends with the start of Koinonia 2009 as the first event of the second century.

“There are so many things planned, and we hope that alums, friends and neighbors will come out and celebrate Wayland’s birthday with us at some time during the year,” Young added. “There really is something for everyone, and it’ll be a festive atmosphere that folks will enjoy.”

Besides the calendar of events planned, the year will feature other promotions to celebrate the century. A special postal cancellation has been released, and special photo collage banners will be hung in every building and on each Wayland campus during the year. In addition, academic schools and each campus will be honoring a graduating senior as Centennial Scholars, notable students who will earn a Wayland diploma during the year. Diplomas issued during the year will bear a special seal marking the centennial as well.

Perhaps the biggest project is the compiling of the official centennial history book, being written by history professor Estelle Owens with help from public relations office personnel Young and Jonathan Petty. A coffee-table style volume titled “A Dream Realized,” the history book will feature many photos, memorabilia and anecdotes from throughout WBU’s century along with a timeline and historical narrative. The volume will sell for $40 at the kickoff events but is available for $32 until May 15 with an early reservation form that can be found online.

For more details on individual events, log onto the Wayland website at wbu.edu and follow the centennial link. Information will be updated regularly closer to the dates. The history book can be ordered via the links as well.

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