Our Town briefs: Endowed Alaska scholarship honors memory of Pampa educator

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Endowed Alaska scholarship honors memory of Pampa educator JoAnn T. Jones

PLAINVIEW – JoAnn T. Jones, who once lived in Fairbanks, Alaska, and joked that she wanted to be “laid out on an iceberg and float to the Great Beyond” was memorialized in her hometown of Pampa recently with the presentation of an endowed scholarship benefitting students attending Wayland Baptist University’s Alaska campuses.

“I know she would be thrilled,” said Mike Davis, who remembered Jones as his teacher, school counselor and friend. “She would not tell you that because she didn’t like crowds, but she would be thrilled.”

JoAnn T. Jones, who once lived in Fairbanks, Alaska, was memorialized in her hometown of Pampa recently with the presentation of an endowed scholarship benefitting students attending Wayland Baptist University’s Alaska campuses. Friends and family attended the presentation at White Deer Land Museum honoring Jones, who passed away Feb. 19, 2022. Mike Davis, a Pampa resident, decided to honor his friend by establishing the JoAnn T. Jones Alaska Endowed Scholarship, his 13th endowed scholarship to the university.

Friends and family attended the presentation at White Deer Land Museum honoring Jones, who passed away Feb. 19, 2022. Davis, a Pampa resident, decided to honor his friend by establishing the JoAnn T. Jones Alaska Endowed Scholarship, his 13th endowed scholarship to the university.

“It means a lot that I can give back, and especially that I can honor a friend,” Davis said. “It was nice that we were able to honor JoAnn here in her hometown.”

Dr. Bobby Hall, President of Wayland Baptist University, spoke of Jones as a person who “had a servant’s heart and loved helping people” as he recalled her multiple ministries as well as her service on numerous boards.

Presenting the family’s response, Christie Demetriades said her mother “viewed education as the path to a better life. More opportunities were available to you if you had a degree, and she was always on the lookout to make that dream a reality for as many kids as she could, whether that was through counseling kids and their parents or simply providing a meal or a snack for hungry kids that came by each day. She always did what she could.”

Demetriades said her mother would “hate the attention this scholarship would bring to her but would love the fact that there is something in place to help kids in Alaska further their own education so that they can find a new path for themselves.”

In his remarks, Hall also praised Davis, whom he described as a “genuine article Pampa Harvester who is also a Wayland Baptist University Pioneer.” The President noted Davis recently earned Wayland’s highest distinction, the President’s Award. “He has told me many times before that his desire is to pay back and pay forward those who provided and those who will need the educational support he needed when he came to Wayland from Pampa those many years ago,” Hall said.

Discovery Center is now open on Mondays

With the start of Summer Break and Memorial Day weekend festivities to kick things off, the Don Harrington Discovery Center is now open on Mondays.

Summer hours start on May 29, making DHDC open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Admission fees are $14 for adults, $9 for children ages 2-17, $11 for seniors and free for those ages 1 and younger and DHDC members. Military members get in free through Sept. 4.

For more information, visit DHDC.org or give them a follow on Facebook.

22 WT faculty members earn promotions; 7 announce retirements

CANYON — Twenty-two West Texas A&M University faculty members have been recognized for outstanding performance by being awarded tenure and/or promotion for the 2023-24 academic year. This total includes 13 faculty members awarded tenure and promotion to associate professor and nine promotions in academic rank to professor.

Extensive reviews and recommendations by colleagues inform the decisions, which culminate with final approval by President Walter V. Wendler and The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, which officially approved promotion and tenure at their May 18 meeting.

Newly named professors at West Texas A&M University include, front from left, Dr. Maxine DeButte, Dr. Collette Loftin and Dr. Angela Phillips, and back from left, Dr. Tim Bowman, Dr. Christopher Meerdink, Dr. Jeremy Lewis, Dr. John Richeson, Dr. Sean PUllen and Dr. Guglielmo Manfredi.
Newly named professors at West Texas A&M University include, front from left, Dr. Maxine DeButte, Dr. Collette Loftin and Dr. Angela Phillips, and back from left, Dr. Tim Bowman, Dr. Christopher Meerdink, Dr. Jeremy Lewis, Dr. John Richeson, Dr. Sean PUllen and Dr. Guglielmo Manfredi.

“We are proud of our colleagues who are celebrating this well-deserved career milestone,” said Dr. Neil Terry, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs. “We have confidence that these faculty members will continue to contribute at a level of excellence that is critical to WT’s mission.”

The faculty members recognized include:

Award of tenure and promotion to rank of associate professor:

  • Dr. Ryan M. Brooks, associate professor of English;

  • Dr. Gene L. Farren, associate professor of sports & exercise sciences and Baptist Community Services Professor of Health Sciences;

  • Dr. Noah J. Franken, associate professor of communication;

  • Dr. Matthew P. Harrison, associate professor of English and Wendy Marsh Professor of Shakespeare Studies;

  • Dr. David C. Howe, associate professor of management;

  • James B. Johnson, associate professor of biology and James A. “Buddy” Davidson Professor of Wildlife Biology;

  • Dr. Eric P. Meljac, associate professor of English;

  • Dr. Justin Moeller, associate professor of political science;

  • Angelo O’Dierno, associate professor of theatre;

  • Dr. Joshua Partheepan, associate professor of engineering;

  • Dr. Kendall L. Samuelson, associate professor of animal science

  • Dr. Michelle L. Simmons, associate professor of education, Lanna Hatton Professor of Learning Disabilities and director of the Center for Learning Disabilities; and

  • Dr. Yong Yang, associate professor of mathematics.

Promotion to professor:

  • Dr. Tim Bowman, professor of history and department head;

  • Dr. Maxine DeButte, professor of psychology;

  • Dr. Jeremy Lewis, professor of music;

  • Dr. Collette Loftin, professor of nursing and Kritser Professor of Nursing;

  • Dr. Guglielmo Manfredi, professor of music;

  • Dr. Christopher Meerdink, professor of music;

  • Dr. Angela Phillips, professor of nursing and Mike Wartes Professor of Nursing and Health Sciences;

  • Dr. Sean Pullen, professor of music and director of choral activities; and

  • Dr. John Richeson, Paul Engler Professor of Beef Cattle Feedlot Management.

Retiring faculty members include:

  • Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences: Greg Ingham, instructor of public administration;

  • College of Engineering: Deanna Bodkin, instructor of mathematics, and Dr. Randell Combs, associate professor of mathematics;

  • Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities: Dr. Tina Carpenter, professor of music, and Dr. Edward Kahler, professor of music and associate dean; and

  • College of Nursing and Health Sciences: Dr. Helen Reyes, associate professor of nursing, and Kathy Shipp, instructor of nursing.

Discover High Plains' ecological history at new DHDC exhibit: Discover Through Time

The Don Harrington Discovery Center has announced the upcoming opening of its newest permanent exhibit, "Discover Through Time," in July 2023.

This exhibit will take visitors on a journey through the ecological history of the High Plains, showcasing the various new and exciting animals in the DHDC collection, including jellyfish, coral reef tanks, new reptiles, and a two story aviary with a golden pheasant and other birds. The "Discover Through Time" exhibit will feature immersive experiences that showcase the Inland Sea, the ancient Pleistocene Grassland, and the Spruce Forest of the High Plains. Visitors will encounter over 30 different animal species including saltwater and freshwater fish, mammals, insects, spiders, reptiles and amphibians.

"Discover Through Time will bring animals to our region that many people have never seen, and may never have the chance to see. It is an exciting way to learn about the incredible history of the High Plains and its ecological evolution over time," said Wendy Taylor, CEO of the Don Harrington Discovery Center. "We are so excited to bring this exhibit to our community to foster a connection to our history and land."

The exhibit will also include a new second-story mezzanine classroom, a Treehouse Reading Nook, an observation deck, and a state of the art Life Science Lab. The exhibit will provide a vital educational resource to the community, as well as enhanced care facilities and habitats for the animals on display.

The Don Harrington Discovery Center is a nonprofit organization that relies on the support of the community to continue to provide unique educational experiences for visitors of all ages. To support the "Discover Through Time" exhibit, the Discovery Center is seeking sponsorships and donations. Those interested in supporting the exhibit can contact Kirk Daniels at (806) 355-9547 or kdaniels@dhdc.org. For more information, please visit their website at discoverycenteramarillo.org.

This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Amarillo area community news for May 28, 2023