Baylor Honors Three Retirees of the Year

Nov. 4, 1997

Baylor University recently honored Dr. Rufus Spain, Dr. James W. Swain and Dr. W J Wimpee as 1997 Retirees of the Year.

Spain, a former history professor, has written several historical books, among them At Ease In Zion, a social history of Southern Baptists. In addition, Spain continues to teach one history course at Baylor each semester and is presently serving as interim teacher of history at Vanguard High School. He spends his spare time on hobbies such as gardening, woodworking and raising bees, all of which he has used to benefit his church and Caritas.

Swain retired from Baylor in 1991 as a professor of costume design in the Department of Theater Arts. During his tenure at Baylor, he directed 25 plays and costumed 75 plays. Since his retirement, he has become an active volunteer for Meals on Wheels and the Family Abuse Center, and he has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Waco-McLennan County Library since 1991. In addition, he was honored in 1996 at the Library Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon for donating more than 700 hours of his time, the most of any library volunteer.

Wimpee has devoted more than half of his life to Baylor. As a student at Baylor from 1936-1940, Wimpee exhibited the Baylor personality that made him a class officer all four years and president of the Baylor Chamber of Commerce his senior year. Upon graduation, he went on to earn a master of theology degree in 1943. In 1945, at the persuasion of Baylor President Pat M. Neff, Wimpee returned to Baylor as director of religious activities. In 1948, he became the first chaplain in Baylor history and became an executive assistant to the president in 1955. During his 44 years at Baylor, he has served four presidents while additionally being a fundraiser, professor of religion and student counselor. Upon his retirement from Baylor, Wimpee became the director of the Retired Professors Center. In addition, he remains an active participant and supporter of the First Baptist Church of Waco and has been successful in influencing donations to Baylor benefiting more than 2,500 students.

For more information, call 710-3516.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?