Archive for the ‘Alumni’ Category

Swaner Top Nine Finish

Monday, October 21st, 2013
Lya Swaner and Janae Shirley at the NCAA Woman of the Year Award Banquet.

Lya Swaner and Janae Shirley at the NCAA Woman of the Year Award Banquet.

Two graduates of East Texas Baptist University were not able to be a part of all the Homecoming celebrations this past weekend because they were traveling to Indianapolis, Indiana for the NCAA Top Woman of the Year banquet. 

ETBU head softball coach Janae Shirley, class of 2005, accompanied her former catcher Lya Swaner, class of 2013, to the banquet who was a Top Nine nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year.

Unfortunately, Lya did not win the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

Here is just one of the many tweets from Coach Shirley at the banquet held Sunday evening:

“@ETBU_Softball @Lya_Swaner @ETBUTigers thank you Lya for representing ETBU, the softball program, and the @ASC_sports with class.”

Then later the coach posted this on Facebook:

“Thank you Lya for allowing me to be a part of your NCAA Woman of the Year journey. I have enjoyed watching you grow into this amazing athlete and phenomenal young woman. I am so proud of you and all that you have accomplished. What an honor it is for you to be selected as one of the final 9 for NCAA Woman of the year. Congratulations!!!!”

Click here for Adam Ledyard’s , ETBU Sports Information Director,  story on this great recognition for Lya as well as ETBU.

Congratulations to Billy & Winky Foote

Monday, October 21st, 2013
Billy and Winky Foote Photo: www.news-journal.com

Billy and Winky Foote Photo: www.news-journal.com

Billy and Winky (Stark) Foote met on the campus of then East Texas Baptist College back in 1961. They were united in marriage on October 26, 1963. On Sunday, October 27, 2013, a 50 year anniversary celebration will be held at Trinity Baptist Church in Lakeport, Texas, just south of Longview.

James Robison and Billy Foote will conduct a special Sunday morning service beginning at 10:45 a.m. at Trinity Baptist Church on October 27. James Robison will be preaching and Billy will be leading the music and directing the choir, just as they did 50 years ago

Billy and Winky are members of Trinity Baptist and serve as directors of a kids program for 4th -6th grades called Kids For Christ. Back in April 2009, Billy conducted his 1000th revival meeting.

Billy and Winky have two grown children, Billy James Foote and his wife, Cindy, of Amarillo, and Wendy (Foote) Tompkins and her husband, Robbie, of Gilmer. Billy and Winky also have four beautiful granddaughters: Brooke Tompkins, Libby Foote, Gracie Foote and Sunny Foote.

Son Billy James wrote the worship song, You Are My King (Amazing Love) while he was a student at ETBU.

To read the complete anniversary announcement published in the Longview News-Journal, click here.

 God’s blessings to Billy and Winky from your ETBU family.

Trauma, Tragedy, and Heartfelt Thanks

Thursday, October 17th, 2013
ETBU grad Wimberly Melton, RN with co-workers at Memorial Hermann Shock Trauma ICU, Barbara Lamb, RN, and Luke Riley, RN. PHOTO: courtesy of Critical Care Nurse Journal.

ETBU grad Wimberly Melton, RN (left) with co-workers at Memorial Hermann Shock Trauma ICU, Barbara Lamb, RN, and Luke Riley, RN. PHOTO: courtesy of Critical Care Nurse Journal.

Aiming to create a well-rounded student experience, East Texas Baptist University’s motto is to “Embrace Faith, Engage Minds, and Empower Leaders.”  The integration of faith and learning in the classroom is evident as graduates leave the campus and begin to serve in their God called vocations. 

JoAnn Grif Alspach is an editor at Critical Care Nurse which is a journal for high acuity, progressive, and critical care nursing.  Back in June,  Alspach received a phone call from her daughter with tragic news about her second youngest daughter, Charissa, who was a patient in Houston’s Memorial Hermann Shock Trauma ICU.

ETBU 2010 nursing grad Wimberly Melton, RN was Cherrisa’s nurse when Alspach arrived from Baltimore to be with her daughter.  Melton, not only had the skills to nurse but also the skills to minister. Read the heartfelt thank you letter that Alspach sent to Melton by clicking here

Melton is not the only graduate from ETBU serving at Memorial Hermann, registered nurses Ben Behnke (class of 2013), Amanda Flinn (2012), Megan Folmar (2012) and Hilary Moody (2013) all work in the Silver Trauma Acute Care unit. (To read previous Tiger Pride on Melton, Behnke, Flinn, Folmar, and Moody, click here.)

ETBU Nursing is experiencing unprecedented growth, with a 58% increase in overall enrollment over the past 3 years and the largest class entering the professional program in the past 5 years.

Leadership Principles From the Coaching Box

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
Members of the 2013 American Southwest Conference Championship Tiger softball team receive their championship rings. Photo: Ryan Perry

Members of the 2013 American Southwest Conference Championship Tiger softball team receive their championship rings. Photo: Ryan Perry

“Common Call” magazine is published monthly by the Baptist Standard.  The October edition features stories of leaders.  On pages 12-13 of the magazine East Texas Baptist University head softball coach Janae Shirley is featured.

Here is the text of the article written by Ken Camp:

Janae Shirley has served as head softball coach at her alma mater, ETBU, six seasons. Under her leadership, the Tigers have posted a 141-45 record. In 2010, her team won the program’s first national championship, and she and her staff were named NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year.

She and her husband, Guy, have one son, Carter, and another child due in December. They are members of Immanuel Baptist Church in Marshall.

As coach, several leadership principles guide her:

(1) Lead by example. She recognizes the decisions young women make between age 18 and 22 can shape the course of their lives. “I want to be a godly influence in their lives,” she said. She wants them to understand femininity and athleticism are not mutually exclusive. She seeks to model professionalism and also allow her players to see her as a wife, mother and Christian young woman. “I try to open my life up to my girls and be a good example.”

(2) Work hard for long-term goals. Delay gratification. “Winning is fun, but it’s also hard work- and sometimes hard work is not fun,” she tells her team. “Work hard now, and payoff comes later.”

(3) Focus on what can be controlled. Mistakes happen, and she does not scold players for strikeouts or errors-unless they are due to lack of effort. “Control what you can control-your attitude and your effort.”

The 2013 Tigers won the American Southwest Conference championship and the team recently received their championship rings.

Leadership & Servanthood

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
First Baptist Church Pastor Michael Murphy appreciates the new truck given to him by the congregation in honor of nine years of service to the church and community. Photo: Sarah Acosta, Austin Community Newspapers

First Baptist Church Pastor Michael Murphy appreciates the new truck given to him by the congregation in honor of nine years of service to the church and community. Photo: Sarah Acosta, Austin Community Newspapers

Two graduates of East Texas Baptist University have been honored for their leadership abilities and servanthood to the Kingdom of God.

 First Dale Suel, a 1979 graduate was elected by the messengers of the 44th Annual Meeting of the Baptist Convention of New York (BCNY) as President of the Convention. Suel also serves the Convention as the elected Chairman of the BCNY Executive Board.

Suel has been the pastor of Amherst Baptist Church of Amherst, New York since 2009. Before, he and his wife Kathy moved to New York, he served as pastor of Steep Hollow Baptist Church in Bryan, Texas.

Second, 1984 alum Michael Murphy received a gift from the congregation that he pastors that was a total surprise.  Murphy is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Smithville, Texas and is moving into his 10th year at the church.  The gift of a new 2013 Ford 150 truck was presented to him by the congregation for his many years of faithful ministry.  Murphy told a reporter with the Austin Community Newspapers he was surprised and unworthy of such a gift.

The ETBU family rejoices in the news about Suel and Murphy.

To read the story, “FBC Pastor Truckin’ Into His 10th Year,” by reporter Sarah Acosta, click here.

To learn more about the church Suel pastors in New York, click here.

Interesting Hunting Partner

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
Danny Pickens holds his falcon named Phoenix in his backyard Aug. 28 in Whitehouse. Pickens is a falconer. He hunts wild game in its natural state and habitat by using a trained bird of prey. Phoenix is captive bred, a gyr/peregrine hybrid. Photo by Sarah A. Miller

Danny Pickens holds his falcon named Phoenix in his backyard Aug. 28 in Whitehouse. Pickens is a falconer. He hunts wild game in its natural state and habitat by using a trained bird of prey. Phoenix is captive bred, a gyr/peregrine hybrid. Photo by Sarah A. Miller

Who is your hunting partner? Is it an old college friend? Maybe it is someone in your church?  Dr. Danny Pickens, a 1984 graduate of East Texas Baptist University, has a very unique hunting partner. His name is Phoenix and Phoenix does not hunt with a gun or bow.  Phoenix is a falcon in which Pickens has been training and hunting with for 13 years.

Pickens currently serves as the Director of Missions for the Smith Baptist Association.  He became licensed as falconer in 1987. Recently, the Tyler Morning Telegraph featured Pickens and Phoenix in a story. The feature piece written by Coshandra Dillard was also published in the Longview News Journal.   Pickens said in the story, “Falcons have been scientifically clocked at over 225 mph in a dive.” 

Phoenix and Pickens do more than just hunt together. The longtime minister of the Gospel uses Phoenix sometimes in churches as a teaching tool.  Back in the summer, Pickens did a falconry demonstration at Lake Tyler Baptist Church for Vacation Bible School.

To read more about this interesting hunting partner that Pickens hunts with click here.

One of the Best In the NCAA

Monday, September 16th, 2013

swaner top nine

What an experience for the ETBU family back in 2010 when the Lady Tigers won the NCAA Division III National Softball Championship in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. One of the players on the national championship team was freshman catcher Lya Swaner from Wylie, Texas. Lya was behind the plate every game for the Tigers that year. In her four years of  playing softball at ETBU, it was hard not to find a game that she was not behind the plate.

 Fast forward to May 2013, Spring Commencement in Baker Auditorium of the Ornelas Spiritual Life Center, Lya walks across the stage to graduate with honors with a double major in Biology and Chemistry. She is not only an All-American National Champion softball player, but a very bright, smart young lady.

 If you recall back on August 21, Tiger Pride reported that Lya had been named as one of the Top 30 Women in the NCAA.  The NCAA has announced the Top Nine Finalist for the Woman of the Year Award and Lya is one of the top nine. The nine finalists were selected in recognition of their accomplishments in academics, athletics, community service and leadership. 

 Here is the release from the NCAA about one of the best student/athletes to ever walk the ETBU campus:

 Lya was a campus leader at East Texas Baptist University, where she was a three-year member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and president in her senior year. She also held a work-study job on campus while volunteering for the Dallas Fire Department, Habitat for Humanity and Special Olympics.

 Double-majoring in biology and chemistry and graduating with honors, Lya earned multiple academic scholarships, was inducted into the National Honor Society and made the Dean’s List each semester on campus, and was voted a Capital One Academic All-American. She was also recognized with the American Southwest Conference Scholar-Medal of Honor, which is awarded to one graduating male and female student-athlete at each member university for most outstanding academic, athletic and leadership records and awarded the Distinguished Scholar-Athlete award given to one American Southwest Conference softball player.

 The two-year team captain and four-year starter led the East Texas Baptist University softball team to three NCAA tournament appearances in four years, including winning the NCAA National Championship in 2010. She also won two American Southwest Conference Tournament championships and was named the tournament MVP in 2013. She was given the Top Tiger Award, which recognizes the top overall female athlete at East Texas Baptist.

 The NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced on October 20th during a ceremony in Indianapolis.  The nine finalists were selected from more than 450 nominees.

 Congratulations Lya!  Your ETBU family is cheering for you to be named the NCAA Top Woman of the Year.

Youth Minister Now Known as Dr. Dolittle?

Monday, August 26th, 2013
Crossroads Baptist Church youth minister Jeff Stapleton (in orange jacket with cap) stands with a group  while on a mission trip to Huyacaundo Arma, Peru. Standing next to Stapleton (brown jacket) is ETBU graduate David Rice, pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church and current ETBU Board of Trustee member.

Crossroads Baptist Church youth minister Jeff Stapleton (in orange jacket with cap) stands with a group while on a mission trip to Huyacaundo Arma, Peru. Standing next to Stapleton (brown jacket) is ETBU graduate David Rice, pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church and current ETBU Board of Trustee member.

On a recent Wednesday night, ETBU alum and youth minister Jeff Stapleton, did something that has led some of his friends to call him Dr. Dolittle or the Dog Whisperer.   Stapleton was at home after leading the youth of Crossroads Baptist Church when his neighbor knocked on his door.

The neighbor’s dog was in distress after choking on food.  Stapleton, who is also pursuing his graduate degree in Religion at ETBU, sprang into action. He performed CPR on Tigger, a five-year old Chihuahua. Tigger responded to Stapleton’s actions and is doing fine.

Way to go Stapleton by helping your neighbor in a time of need. The heroic act gained the attention of Marshall News Messenger reporter Austin King. Read the complete story that appeared in the Marshall News Messenger by clicking here.

2013 Senior Class Gift

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013
Class of 2013 graduate Brad Mashburn stands with President Dub Oliver under the new archway marking the entrance to the University.  Photo: Ryan Perry

Class of 2013 graduate Brad Mashburn stands with President Dub Oliver under the new archway marking the entrance to the University. Photo: Ryan Perry

The ETBU graduating class of 2013 has given back to its alma mater a gift that will be seen by many in the years to come. The gift is an archway located at the main entrance to the campus. The archway spells out East Texas Baptist University in Tiger gold and is trimmed in navy blue with the seals of the University displayed.

            “I wanted my class to give something back because I wanted us to have pride in our alma mater when we come back to visit,” said Brad Mashburn, who served as Student Government Association president for the 2012-2013 academic year and graduated this past May.

Read the full story by clicking here.

Lya Swaner Top 30 Finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Swaner Top 30 Finalist

A student-athlete must typically balance the roles of being a full-time student and a full-time athlete.   ETBU graduate and former softball player Lya Swaner balanced her roles very well and has been recognized by the NCAA.  Swaner is on an elite list as she has been named as a Top 30 finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year.

Swaner, who began her career in 2010 when the Tigers won the NCAA Division III national championship, was a four year starter at catcher for head coach Janae Shirley.  This past May, she graduated with honors as a double major in chemistry and biology. On softball road trips playing in NCAA Tournaments or American Southwest Conference games and tournaments, she would not only pack her softball gear but her chemistry and biology text books as well.  On many road trips, she could be found in the lobby studying or as the team bus traveled down the road, the books would be opened as well.

The 2013 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced at an annual ceremony in Indianapolis on October 20.

A huge “Tiger Clap” for this outstanding student-athlete and graduate.  Click here for more on Swaner’s nomination as NCAA Woman of the Year.