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ETBU presents 2013 Alumni Awards

Oct. 23, 2013 at 10 p.m.

<p>East Texas Baptist University President Dr. Dub Oliver (right) presents Golden Lightkeepers Awards to Amon and Joynelle Gammon Baker. Golden Lightkeepers Awards are given to distinguished alumni of 50 years or more.</p>

The Office of Alumni Relations at East Texas Baptist University presented Alumni Awards at this year's Homecoming Chapel held on Oct. 18 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.

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.

East Texas Baptist University offers graduate programs in business, counseling, religion and education, as well as 40 undergraduate degree programs. ETBU provides a Christ centered education that emphasizes the integration of faith and learning. The ETBU experience is known for "Embracing Faith, Engaging Minds, and Empowering Leaders." For more information, visit



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