Oct
28
2013

Four Authors, Four New Books


Posted by Tiger Pride in Academics, Alumni


Don Piper, author of "90 Minutes in Heaven" with ETBU grad and author Brian Brown at the East Texas Christian Writers Conference. Photo: courtesy of Brain Brown.

Don Piper, author of “90 Minutes in Heaven” with ETBU grad and author Brian Brown at the East Texas Christian Writers Conference. Photo: courtesy of Brian Brown.

Four authors with ETBU connections have recently published books. 

Rev. James Webb, pastor of Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church of Marshall, has written a devotional book titled, “Power Walk through the Holy Spirit.”  Rev. Webb is a graduate of ETBU’s Certificate in Ministry program as well as board of trustee member. He is rotating off the Board in December after serving nine years as a trustee.

Webb told Marshall News Messenger reporter Cait Shields that he wrote the book to be “user friendly.”  Webb said to her in an interview, “The way it is written, you can open the book at any spot and still understand it. So if you have a problem with worship, you can just go to that chapter. “

To read the complete article in the Marshall News Messenger, click here.

Brian Brown, a 2008 ETBU graduate from Hallsville, has cerebral palsy. During the East Texas Christian Writers Conference held at ETBU October 25-26, Brown displayed his first book titled, “A Legacy of Faith: A Story of Perseverance through a Foundation of Faith.”

Brown, who has a speaking ministry called Open Arms, posted on his Facebook  page, “OMG, I was at a Christian writers conference at ETBU today selling my book and best-selling author Don Piper (author of the book 90 Minutes in Heaven)  actually bought my book!”

To find out more, click here to go to Brown’s website.

The 3rd author, Nathan Lorick, is an ETBU grad currently serving as the Director of Evangelism for the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention.   The title of his book is “Dying to Grow: Reclaiming the Heart for Evangelism in the Church. “ 

In the book, Lorick brings out the importance of gospel-based evangelism for the local church.  He states, “Hell will tremble when churches once again make evangelism the central theme of their strategy.”

To learn more about the book published by Life Sentence Publishing, click here.

ETBU Professor of History Dr. Jerry Hopkins most recent book is titled “A Growing Adventure” is a history of Clever Creek Baptist Church located in rural Shelby County, Texas.  Dr. Hopkins has been the bi-vocational pastor of Clever Creek Baptist Church since 1993. To learn more about the book, email Dr. Hopkins at jhopkins@etbu.edu.  Dr. Hopkins has served as a professor of history at ETBU since 2001.

A Tiger Pride high five to the four authors.

Oct
24
2013

Alumni Awards


Posted by Tiger Pride in Alumni, Honors


Ned Calvert,  Tim Cline, Major General (Ret.) Vernon B. Lewis and Dr. Katherine Spears take the oath of a Golden Blazer after being presented their jackets. Photo: Ryan Perry.

Ned Calvert, Tim Cline, Major General (Ret.) Vernon B. Lewis and Dr. Katherine Spears take the oath of a Golden Blazer after being presented their jackets. Photo: Ryan Perry.

The Office of Alumni Relations presented Alumni Awards at this year’s Homecoming Chapel held on October 18th in Baker Auditorium of the Ornelas Spiritual Life Center.  

Dr. Gaynor Yancey, a 1967 graduate of then East Texas Baptist College, received the J. Wesley Smith Achievement Award.  She served has a home missionary with the North American Mission Board from 1972 to 1993.  Since her retirement from the NAMB she has continued to serve as professor, assistant professor and Associate Dean for Baccalaureate Studies at Baylor University and teaches courses in urban missions and social issues at Truett Seminary.  She was nominated for Outstanding Professor in the Graduate School in 2003 and named Outstanding Teacher in 2006. Yancey earned her Doctor of Social Work in Social Welfare Policy in 1998 and an Advanced Certificate in Social Welfare Policy in 1993, from the University of Pennsylvania.

The J. Wesley Smith Achievement Award is given to an alumnus who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in his/her profession, business vocation, or life of service, and who has shown continued interest in ETBU.

The W.T. Tardy Service Award was presented to Oakland Heights Baptist Church of Longview, Texas. Since 1988, Oakland Heights has contributed over $156,000 to ETBU.  ETBU Director of Alumni Relations Allison Peteet shared at the Alumni Awards Chapel, “For their generosity, for their vision for the Kingdom, for their confidence in ETBU and the God we mutually serve the Alumni Association is happy to present this award to Oakland Heights.” Dr. Butch Tanner, pastor of Oakland Heights accepted the award on the congregation’s behalf.

The W.T. Tardy Service Award, is given to individuals or groups who have rendered significant service to ETBU.

Dr. Glenn Hambrick, a 1978 graduate of ETBC, received the Alumni Achievement Award.  The award is presented to alumni who have made a significant contribution to society through his or her profession, vocation, or life service. Dr. Hambrick is the superintendent of the Carthage Independent School District.

In his education career, Hambrick has served as a teacher, assistant coach, head coach and athletic director in several East Texas high schools. He also served as a principal in both Garrison and Crockett High Schools. 

Before coming to Carthage as superintendent, he served in the same role at both Rosebud-Lott ISD and Elkhart ISD. He came to Carthage in 2008 and under his leadership has led the school district in three major bond programs totaling $50.5 million; the district has become a Recognized School District in the state of Texas with a Superior Financial Rating. Students have been awarded numerous championships in academics, athletics, agriculture, technology and band at the regional, state and national levels. For his outstanding leadership, Region 7 recognized him as Superintendent of the Year in 2012.  He is a member, deacon, and Sunday School teacher at Central Baptist Church of Carthage.

Susan Williams, a 2002 Cum Laude graduate of ETBU, is the recipient of the Young Alumnus Award.  After graduating with her Bachelor of Business Administration degree she went to work as Merchant Services Representative for Texas Bank and Trust of Longview.  In February of 2006, she made a career change that would not only affect her life, but the lives of countless others. Moving to the Dallas area, she became the Director of Missions for Buckner International, an international Christian organization that is a global ministry to vulnerable and orphan children through foster care and adoption, family and empowerment programs. As Director of the program she provides leadership and management of travel planning and volunteer project coordination services to nearly 3000 mission trip volunteers annually.

The Young Alumnus Award is given to one who has graduated from ETBU within the last 10 years and shown outstanding achievement in his or her field of service.

The Unsung Hero Award was given to 1965 graduate Dale Coates. The Unsung Hero Award goes to former students who have served faithfully yet inconspicuously in their family, church, community, or field of service and whose selfless contribution  in their sphere of influence has yet to be recognized.

While a student at ETBC, Coates served as Minister of Music at Second Baptist Church, was president of his senior class, vice-president of his junior class, student conductor of the pep band and member of Acapella Choir, Alpha Psi Omega and the Marshall Symphony.

Completing his master’s degree at North Texas State in 1971, he began his teaching career at John Adams Jr. High in Grand Prairie followed by appointments at Ennis High School, Wills Point High, West Mesquite High, First Baptist Academy – Dallas, Scurry-Rosser High and Robertson Middle School in Lancaster.

Coates is a member of the Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Music Educators Association and a Life member of both the TSTA and the ETBU Alumni Association. For the past 18 years, Dale has been the Conductor and Musical Director of the Mesquite Symphonic Band, which has presented over 175 concerts for the citizens of Mesquite.

Before the Alumni Awards ceremony, Golden Blazers were presented to Ned Calvert (’95), Tim Cline (’90), Major General (Ret.) Vernon B. Lewis (attended 1949-52), and Dr. Katherine Spears (’77).

The Golden Lightkeeper Awards, given to distinguished alumni of 50 years or more, were given at a reunion lunch held during Homecoming activities. Golden Lightkeeper Awards went to Rena Key Pricer (’55), Amon Baker (’51), and Joynelle Gammon Baker (’53).

Pricer taught kindergarten for 32 years, 7 years at First Baptist Church of Greenwood and 25 years in the Caddo Public School System of Louisiana.  She received numerous awards and plaques during her career and was nominated for Louisiana Teacher of the Year in 1996. After retiring in 1998 and after 27 years of being single, she married an old ETBU classmate, John Pricer, in 2007.

From 1962 to 1979 she was involved with “Builders for Christ”, now known as Volunteer Christian Builders, in building church buildings and conducting Vacation Bible Schools across the United States from the East Coast to the Pacific Northwest, particularly in what were called “pioneer mission” areas.

Amon and Joynelle were married in June of 1950 and have shared a career in church music leadership for over 53 years. Amon served as music minister of Immanuel Baptist Church of Little Rock from 1958 to 1966 and again from 1973 to 1986. Before returning to Immanuel, he served as minister of music at First Baptist Church of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.  Amon and Joynelle have conducted Bold Mission Thrust concert tours throughout Europe and have conducted youth choir tours in 36 states of the USA.

 Amon and Joynelle both are professional voice teachers and have served as workshop leaders at Glorieta, Ridgecrest and music camps at Ouachita Baptist University. Joynelle has faithfully served alongside her husband. They are currently in the process of funding the Amon and Joynelle Baker Endowed Scholarship for Music.

Also during the Golden Lightkeepers luncheon, Golden Lightkeepers medallions were presented to those in the Class of 1963 and earlier.

View photos from Alumni Awards by clicking here.

Revisit Homecoming 2013 by clicking here.  Homecoming Parade float winners were:  tied for first place, Baptist Student Ministry and Ornelas Hall. Third place, Mabee Hall.

Oct
22
2013

A Life Saved By ETBU Alum


Posted by Tiger Pride in Alumni


Eight year-old Sean Suppan of Pennsylvania was saved by the bone marrow donated to him by ETBU alum Stephen McCormick of Sugarland, Texas.  The two met for the first time recently in Longview, Texas at a banquet sponsored by Because I Care, a recruitment group in support of Be The Match marrow donor registry. PHOTO: Courtesy of Chas Shira

Eight year-old Sean Suppan of Pennsylvania was saved by the bone marrow donated to him by ETBU alum Stephen McCormick of Sugarland, Texas. The two met for the first time recently in Longview, Texas at a banquet sponsored by Because I Care, a recruitment group in support of Be The Match marrow donor registry. PHOTO: Courtesy of Chas Shira

There is an old saying that “The first impression is the last impression.” When Stephen McCormick met eight year-old Sean Suppan for the first time he said, “Sean was stronger than I had imagined.”  The meeting might not have even occurred if it were not for the bone marrow that McCormick donated to Suppan. 

            The first meeting of the two occurred during the annual Bryan Quinn-Al Edwards Awards Banquet sponsored by Because I Care, a recruitment group in support of Be The Match marrow donor registry. The banquet held on October 11 in Longview, Texas brings together its donors and volunteers in an emotion-charged evening.  Sean, accompanied by his parents Ellen and David, traveled from their home in Pennsylvania.

            In November 2008, McCormick, while a student at East Texas Baptist University registered with Be The Match during a donor recruitment drive held by Because I Care. According to Anita Quinn, a coordinator for Because I Care, “About four months later, McCormick received a phone call that he might possibly match a four year-old boy who had adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD).  This was the second child in the Suppan family to be diagnosed with ALD. Their son, David, suffered with the same illness and passed away at age 10.”

            “When I was contacted, I was shocked that I was even a possible match,” said McCormick, who was still a student at ETBU at the time. “To be the ‘one’ is a special thing. I thought ‘What a great opportunity to help someone.’  I considered it a blessing to be able to be used by God to help save someone’s life.”

            The transplant occurred in April 2009. McCormick’s marrow was collected at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. The life-giving marrow was then flown to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Suppan’s transplant was facilitated.  At the time of the transplant, the donor and recipient are anonymous to one another.  After a year’s time the two are given the opportunity to sign release forms and contact one another if they wish.

            McCormick, and his wife Brittany (Milum), an ETBU grad as well, are expecting their first child. He teaches high school social studies and coaches football, basketball, and track at Dulles High School. Some may call the Sugarland, Texas native a hero for what he did. The former ETBU football player and 2011 graduate does not see it that way.

“I never looked at it as being a hero or saving someone’s life. I looked at it as an opportunity to help someone to have another season in his life.  Even if it was unsuccessful, I would have the same outlook. It was a blessing to help a stranger,” said McCormick.

             Suppan’ s mom told a reporter from the Longview News-Journal that McCormick’s donation allowed them to do for Sean what they couldn’t do for their older son- save his life.

            “Meeting Sean and his family for the first time was amazing,” shared McCormick. “I was overwhelmed with emotion; to see a strong family like the Suppans.”

            This is not the first time an ETBU student has been involved with Because I Care. In 2011, then ETBU football player James Fugate served as a bone marrow donor to an anonymous individual in the eastern U.S.  On October 30-31, Because I Care will be back on the ETBU campus recruiting volunteer donors in the Ornelas Student Center from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. each day. 

            McCormick has this to say to someone pondering about registering with Be The Match. “Think about it, and pray about it. Sometimes there is only one possible match, and that could be you. It is a great opportunity to help someone by giving of yourself just like Jesus did on the cross. “

            He also stressed, “If the thought of pain is keeping you from doing it; then think about what the pain the recipient is going through. It is not nearly as painful as the imagination allows you to believe.  Donating does not hinder or weaken you. The marrow replenishes itself.”

            The lasting impression that Suppan  left on McCormick, “He looked sharp. Coincidently, we wore similar outfits to the banquet. So I guess he got my sense of fashion along with the DNA. He was funny, affectionate, and appeared to be like any normal eight year-old boy.”

            Since 1990, Because I Care has added more than 20,000 potential donors to the Be The Match registry. Dozens of those recruits have become donors, offering the “Gift of Life” to patients in need of life saving transplants.  For more information, visit the website www.BICTEXAS.org.

Oct
21
2013

Swaner Top Nine Finish


Posted by Tiger Pride in Alumni, Athletics, Honors


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.

Oct
21
2013

Congratulations to Billy & Winky Foote


Posted by Tiger Pride in Alumni


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.

Oct
17
2013

Trauma, Tragedy, and Heartfelt Thanks


Posted by Tiger Pride in Alumni, Honors


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.

Oct
15
2013

Leadership Principles From the Coaching Box


Posted by Tiger Pride in Alumni, Athletics, Student Life


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.

Oct
8
2013

Leadership & Servanthood


Posted by Tiger Pride in Alumni


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.

Sep
17
2013

Interesting Hunting Partner


Posted by Tiger Pride in Alumni


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.

Sep
16
2013

One of the Best In the NCAA


Posted by Tiger Pride in Academics, Alumni, Athletics, Honors, Memories on the Hill


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.