Event raises approximately $95,000 for student scholarships

Wayland Baptist University President Dr. Paul Armes presents former First Lady Laura Bush with an honorary Doctor of Letters degree for her lifelong advocacy of literacy, education and women’s health.

PLAINIVEW – With the help of former First Lady Laura Bush, Wayland Baptist University raised approximately $95,000 for student scholarships on Wednesday.

Mrs. Bush was the featured speaker for the Willson Lecture Series at Wayland’s regularly scheduled chapel service on Wednesday morning. She then took part in a special scholarship luncheon. Mrs. Bush entertained the capacity crowd in Harral Auditorium with updates on her family and anecdotes of her time as a politician’s wife.

“I’ve really been looking forward to visiting Plainview. I feel like you’re my people,” Mrs. Bush said.

Her first experience with the people of Plainview came in 1978, shortly after she and George were married. He was running for Congress against Kent Hance. Mrs. Bush joked about their experience in Plainview during the election.

“There were about a dozen republicans in Plainview at that time,” she said. “But everyone was very nice. George lost that election to Kent Hance, but the people in Plainview are nice. They were nice to us and friendly to us … even though very few of you voted for him.”

As part of the morning activities, Mrs. Bush was presented with an honorary doctorate degree by Wayland President Dr. Paul Armes for her lifelong work to promote literacy, education and women’s health issues.

“During her time as a Texas Governor’s wife, the First Lady of the United States of America, and as a visible private citizen in our nation, Mrs. Bush has consistently exhibited grace, serenity and strength of character,” Dr. Armes said. “It is Wayland’s great privilege to bestow this Honorary Doctorate of Letters degree upon former First Lady, Mrs. Laura Bush.”

Dr. Armes and Mrs. Bush continued their conversation during the luncheon as Dr. Armes asked questions and Mrs. Bush responded on topics including life in the White House, advice as a grandmother and the importance of education.

More than 450 people attended the luncheon that was held in the Pete and Nelda Laney Student Activities Center, named after the former Texas Speaker of the House and good friends of President and Mrs. Bush. The money raised will benefit Wayland’s general scholarship fund.