Wayland President Stresses Heritage to Students

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Dr. Paul Armes highlights the important role Wayland Baptist University has played in pioneering advances in higher education.

Wayland Baptist University President Dr. Paul Armes addressed the student body on Wednesday during the school’s weekly chapel service, challenging students to be proud of Wayland’s Pioneering heritage.

Armes stated that Pioneers is more than the school’s mascot, it has been a consistent approach to how the university conducts its operations. He pointed to four areas where Wayland has truly been a pioneer in education.

The first point of emphasis was integration. Under the leadership of Dr. Jim Marshall, Wayland voluntarily integrated in 1951, becoming the first university in the formerly confederate south to do so. Armes pointed out that the move was even more significant given the fact that it occurred 13 years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In his second point, Dr. Armes focused on Wayland’s pioneering efforts in equality – specifically when dealing with women’s roles in athletics. Beginning in the late 1940s, Wayland had a competitive women’s basketball program, sponsored by the Harvest Queen Mill and later by Claude and Wilda Hutcherson. The Hutcherson Flying Queens became ambassadors for the school and for women’s athletics, winning a record 131 consecutive games in the late 1950s and continuing decades of dominance on the basketball court. Queens coaching legend Harley Redin was also instrumental in moving women’s basketball to adopt the five-on-five, full-court game played by men.

Armes also stated that Wayland was a Pioneer in distance and military education, operating a language institute in Mexico in the late 1940s as its first venture into distance learning. Wayland’s pursuit of distance education climaxed in the 1970s and 80s as the university began offering degrees at external locations, many of which are still located on military bases around the country. Wayland operates 14 campuses and more than 50 teaching sites in six states and the African nation of Kenya. Armes said that what Wayland began in the 1970s has now become a popular point of interest for other universities that are branching out with their course and degree offerings.

In his final example, Dr. Armes pointed to Wayland’s remedial academic program that is designed to give college student who struggle in specific academic areas a way to increase their performance without disrupting their chances to earn a college degree. Wayland began the program in 1985, long before remedial programs became required at public institutions of higher learning.

Armes said it is a privilege to be part of a university that has proven throughout the years to be a true pioneer in higher education.

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Jonathan Petty
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