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Awards dinner honors alumni

by David Cason

Texas Wesleyan’s annual Alumni Medal Dinner Awards Ceremony was held Friday at the Colonial Country Club.

The event’s master of ceremonies was Congressman Marc Veasey, who remarked how honored he was to be an alumnus of Wesleyan.

“I’m glad I had the opportunity to further my education at Texas Wesleyan,” Veasey, a 1995 graduate, said during the dinner.

He reflected on his tough upbringing, and how Wesleyan helped him to achieve his goals.

“My dad was from Stop Six and my mom was from Como. I’m glad we have a president that is committed to helping students such as myself,” Veasey said.

Lifelong educator Sarah Croft B.S. ’77 said she was honored to be awarded the O.D. Bounds Award for her contribution in athletics.

“It is an honor to receive this award. My time at Texas Wesleyan laid the foundation for my time as a schoolteacher, coach, administrator and consultant,” she said.

Dr. Michelle Payne was awarded the Wesleyan Flame Award that is presented to a current faculty or staff member that best exemplifies their commitment and dedication to the university. Payne remarked that the culture of Wesleyan is what makes the university great.

“Texas Wesleyan’s culture is defined by the people,” said Payne, who received her B.S. in ‘96, M.Ed. in ’97, and J.D. in ’99. “I am honored and humbled to be among the company before me.”

Local doctor and noted alumni Dr. Greg Phillips brought laughter to the crowd during his acceptance speech for the Wesleyan Service Award. Phillips said that attending Texas Wesleyan was an accident brought on by his father moving for work.

“Fort Worth is the best place in Texas for you to live,” said Phillips, a 1970 graduate. “I don’t plan on retiring and I don’t plan on stop helping Texas Wesleyan.”

The youngest award recipient, Martin Garcia, remarked that his father, who was a United States Marine Corps veteran, helped instill a sense of discipline that enabled him to succeed at Wesleyan.

“It’s good to be kicking ass when life’s been kicking your ass,” Garcia, a 2009 graduate, said while accepting the Young Alumnus Achievement Award. “Professors, thank you, thank you for having our back, thank you for being here for us.”

Honorary Alumnus award recipients Kenneth Barr and Hunter Enis both acknowledged the unique culture of Wesleyan that fosters a personal relationship amongst students and faculty.

National Woman’s Basketball Hall of Fame member Leta Andrews was able to add another award to her already prestigious career by receiving the Distinguished Alumna award. Andrews is the winningest coach in high school basketball history with 1,416 wins. Andrews graduated from Texas Wesleyan in 1962.

Husband and wife Evan and Janie Faris received the prestigious Alumni of the Year award for their support and involvement at Texas Wesleyan. They both talked about the lasting friendships they made during their time as students.

“This tapestry of our lives, this golden thread that binds all of us, is Wesleyan,” said Janie Faris, a 1977 graduate. “When we talk about family, Wesleyan is family.”

University President Fred Slabach concluded the event while remarking on the university’s Smarter. Smaller. motto.

“Tonight’s honorees represent everything we know and love about Texas Wesleyan University,” said Slabach. “The relationship with faculty changed the course of their life.”

Evan and Janie Faris, who receive the Alumni of the Year Award, pose with President Frederick Slabach.
Photos provided by Texas Wesleyan University Marketing & Communications/Chuck Greeson

Dr. Michelle Payne, with President Frederick Slabach, won the Wesleyan Flame Award on Friday.
Photos provided by Texas Wesleyan University Marketing & Communications/Chuck Greeson

Sarah Croft received the O.D. Bounds Award at Friday’s ceremony. She is seen here with President Frederick Slabach.
Photos provided by Texas Wesleyan University Marketing & Communications/Chuck Greeson





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