Longtime former employee combines physical training with service
Wanda C. Raley believes in going that extra mile -- or 13 -- to help those in need.
From 1985 to 2000, this alumna-by-choice served students as director of Academic Development Services. She has supported Baylor through her involvement with the Women's Athletic Cabinet, the tennis subcommittee, the Earl Harrison House board and is still involved in Round Table. She also pursues another passion -- walking half marathons.
Raley, who walks about 20 miles a week and does weight training, says her motivation for completing half marathons is to stay physically fit. But her aim goes beyond reaching the finish line. "I'm hoping to live a lot longer, and I want to live a productive life, making a contribution to other people's lives," she says. "I think the only way I can do that is to take care of myself physically as well as spiritually and emotionally."
In February 2005, Raley, then 71, came in second place in her division at the Freescale Austin Half Marathon -- a 13.1-mile trek. Two months prior, she had completed the Dallas White Rock Half Marathon, which benefits the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Raley tackled her largest race, a 50-mile, three-day MS Challenge Walk -- a fundraiser for multiple sclerosis research -- in 2003. She and a team of four other women raised more than $20,000.
Although she has no plans to walk a full marathon again, she says she may complete other local half marathons in the future.
"It was amazing to think you had accomplished this," she says. "But I think the biggest thing was you feel like you have made a contribution to a worthy endeavor. You weren't just working for your own benefit, but you were working for a purpose much beyond your personal self."
Raley, who holds a doctorate in education from the University of Alabama, exhibited that same concern for others while working at Baylor. "I am a firm believer in the value of the higher education process as it relates to human growth and development," she says. One of her best memories is working with students. "It was such a joy to work with them and encourage them and say, 'You can do it!'" -Jackie Inouye