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The Rambler |

October 20, 2010



Interim President shares decades-long connection with school Smith also began working for the city of Dallas and preaching at two small churches. “I really was doing a little too much,” he said. Not a year after graduating, Smith went back to Wesleyan after President Sone gave him a job recruiting students. In 1951, Smith and his wife moved into a building on campus that been converted into apartments during World War II. “I would work full time recruiting students in the spring and summer, then I’d go to school full time in the fall and winter,” Smith said. After graduating from SMU, Smith went to First United Methodist Church in Fort Worth because he heard they were seeking a minister. “The pastor down there was a great preacher, but he had a difficulty getting along with people,” Smith said. “I walked into his office and he said, ‘Can you get along with people?’ I said, ‘Dr. Foote, I just got out of the seminary, and I don’t know the first thing about running a church. But I can get along with people.’” The pastor hired him, called the bishop and Smith began preaching as associate minister at the UMC in September 1955. The Present Fast-forward four decades. After traveling the globe more than 12 times to places such as Israel, Greece, Turkey, Hong Kong and Japan, and heading churches in Texas and Louisiana, Smith returned to Fort Worth in 1997. He once again assumed the position of associate minister at UMC. One more decade finds Smith back at Wesleyan serving as interim president, while the university searches for a permanent replacement to Dr. Harold Jeffcoat, who retired in early 2010. “That usually doesn’t happen for a person his age, but he’s the perfect person,” said long-time UMC member Gerry Grieser. “He’s a person who can bring two parties together to communicate. I can’t think of anybody who can do the job he’s been asked to do better than Lamar could.” Other members of the community echo praises for Smith. “I’d do anything for that man,” said Marilyn Cantu, sec-

Jonathan Resendez

It’s Fort Worth, Texas, 1949. The dining hall hums with chatter as the smell of food drifts through the air. A 6-foot, 22-year-old man with dark hair and lightbrown eyes walks through the hall and sits with the upperclassmen. The young man showered after his afternoon studying and now sports his nicest trousers, shirt and vest. At 175 pounds, he looks small sitting next to 300-pound math professor Fontaine Mathis. However, Lamar Smith weighs 25 pounds more than when he left the Navy in 1946—the year Texas Wesleyan University’s current interim president enrolled at Texas Wesleyan College. For more than half a century, Smith and Wesleyan have shared a connection unbroken by distance, time or obligation. The Past The father of Smith’s first college girlfriend, Beverly Sone, is credited with saving Wesleyan from financial ruin during the great depression. In part, Law Sone did this by recruiting a football team. “There were no boys, of course, on campus,” Smith said, referring to Wesleyan’s early years when it was known as Texas Woman’s College. “So he [Sone] went over to Weatherford Junior College and he recruited the whole football team to come over to Texas Wesleyan. And for a year or two or three, we had a football team.” Smith and his roommate were two of only three cheerleaders in 1950, the year he received his Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan. Although he briefly dated Wesleyan President Sone’s daughter, Smith said they parted ways after she moved to Dallas to attend college. “She fell in love with somebody else over there, and I fell in love with somebody at Texas Wesleyan,” he said. Smith married Doris Hudgens in 1951. After graduating from Wesleyan, Smith enrolled at Southern Methodist University to receive his master’s degree in theology. While his wife was pregnant with the first of their three children,

Top photo Meisa Keivani Najafabadi, bottom photos courtesy of Lamar Smith (Above) Interim Wesleyan President Dr. Lamar Smith took the university’s helm after Dr. Harold Jeffcoat retired June 2010. (Bottom left) Smith served in the U.S. Navy for two years from 1944 to 1946 before enrolling at the university, known then as Texas Wesleyan College. (Bottom right) Smith and Beverly Sone smile for the camera at the Sweetheart Banquet on Valentine’s Day in 1947 at the Polytechnic United Methodist Church.

retary and treasurer for First Street Methodist Mission. After the death of his wife in 2007, Smith eventually rekindled a love which originally began at Wesleyan more than 50 years ago with college sweetheart Beverly Sone Elbert, whose husband had died 10 to 12 years earlier. “I heard that she [SoneElbert] was living in Fort

Worth,” Smith said. “So after a period of time, I called and invited her to dinner, and we started courting.” Smith and Sone Elbert married in 2008. The Now It’s Fort Worth, 2010. The cool air in front of the Wesleyan library hangs quietly as students mill about after class. In the president’s confer-

ence room, a 6-foot, 83-yearold man with white wispy hair and light-brown eyes sits by himself at the end of a massive wooden table. Dark veins crowd around the knuckles in his hands. One hand holds a pen, the other rests on a Bible. His light brown Oscar de la Renta coat contrasts stylishly with his dark brown slacks. From behind tortoiseshell

reading glasses, Lamar Smith’s eyes scan papers as he prepares an introduction for an important dinner he’s attending the following night. Smith still has an office reserved for him downtown in the United Methodist Church. At Texas Wesleyan University, five miles away, Smith forever has a place reserved in the annals of its history.

$20 flu shots offered to Wesleyan students, faculty and staff Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, outbreaks of the flu can occur as early as October. However, the illness activity often peaks in January or later. A $20 flu shot will be available to students, faculty and staff from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct. 21 in the Fellowship Hall of the PUMC. “Getting a flu shot is an excellent way to reduce your chances of getting the flu,” said Paige Cook, Texas

Jessica Pounds

Texas Wesleyan University Health Center officials are encouraging Wesleyan community members to prevent the spread of influenza by offering flu shots Oct. 20. Immunizations can protect against the three most common bugs of the upcoming season, research indicates. According to the




emotions. From fear to sorrow, depression, happiness, joy—every emotion he wanted me to feel I felt it.” Although no one else in his family was a writer, Walker said he began taking writing seriously from the fifth grade on. Walker said he uses his memories from childhood

and adolescence to create backdrops for the stories he currently writes, which consist of the struggles urban people face in their normal and love lives. After a 10-year hiatus from writing and a brief stint teaching at William James Middle School, Walker said he eventually landed a cleri-

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people with chronic medical conditions. The alternative is a nasal spray. This type is made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu. The mist is approved for healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49 who aren’t pregnant. Whittley Price, freshman business major, said he is not a fan of needles so he will get the spray. “I am going to get vaccinated so I don’t get sick

and have to miss school.” The CDC Guidance for Responses to Influenza for Institutions of Higher Education pamphlet compares symptoms of the flu with those of the common cold. “I hope everyone who is able to get the vaccine goes and gets it,” said Robert Walker, freshman liberal studies major. “I don’t want anyone to spread their germs around where I live and study.”

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tured his imagination. “I remember in the fifth grade reading his stuff, and I probably shouldn’t have read it because I think Pet Sematary gave me nightmares,” he said. “But it was amazing to me that somebody could sit down and write something, and I could read it, and I could feel so many different


Wesleyan nurse practitioner. “This shot provides protection against this year’s most common strains of flu, including H1N1. It is never too early to get your shot.” There are two different ways people can get vaccinations. The standard shot is an inactivated vaccine that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy

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cal job with Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital. He worked his way through the ranks to an administrative position on the overnight shift that left him with long hours of free time. This led him to start writing again, he said. After about 20 failed attempts at having his work published, Walker said he finally inked a deal with Genesis Press for Fixin’ Tyrone. “The letters started getting better,” he said, referring to his continued attempts at getting published.

Chemistry How shampoo works and the types of chemicals our bodies produce to attract a certain mate are examples of the displays exhibited, Gerrard said. Tuan Nguyen, junior biology major, said, “Last year we had a chem show in the

Walker picked up five contracts which include two books already printed, a third coming in November, and two more coming next year. Walker’s mother, Jackie Hafford, also graduated from Wesleyan in 2001 with a degree in psychology. She said the entire family is excited to see his writing career take flight. “Just keep writing,” she said to aspiring writers. “If you enjoy it, and it’s your passion—keep writing.” English professor Dr. Jeffery DeLotto said he remem-

bers Walker’s writing prowess in Colored Rags, a short story about Crips and Blood gang members. “It had excellent description and dialogue,” DeLotto said. “He took his writing seriously.” DeLotto said he wasn’t surprised when he learned that Walker’s work had been published. “Some people who take writing have fun, but you can sense it’s not an important part of what they do,” he said. “I did not get that from Keith.”

continued from page 1 auditorium at McFadden, sold t-shirts and gave out free pizza, but nothing too big.” Nguyen said the ACS is escalating its efforts because members want to show people what the ACS is about. The event offered free

food. Gift cards to Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, Whataburger and others were raffled off. “People should come out and watch,” Hillard said. “You’ll see some things happen you don’t normally get to see anywhere but on TV.”

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