Former Deputy Secretary for the Department of Education encourages Wayland grads

May 10, 2014

 

PLAINVIEW – As part of graduation weekend, the Wayland Baptist University School of Mathematics and Sciences held a special banquet, recognizing those students graduating with degrees in math and science.

Dr. Elise Adamson and son BrianAs part of the ceremony, Dr. Ted Sanders, a member of the Wayland Baptist University Board of Trustees, spoke to graduates about his career in education that included time as the President of Southern Illinois University as well as serving as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education under President George H.W. Bush.

Dr. Sanders outlined his career journey that began teaching public school in Mountain Home, Idaho, prior to completing his degree at Wayland. He taught there for two years and came back to Plainview each summer to complete his degree requirements, graduating in 1964. He and his wife, Beverly, then moved to Utah where he taught second-grade – not something he was prepared to do, but he said he basically accepted a position without knowing exactly what that position was.

Although his career had humble beginnings, Sanders said these jobs had a great influence on his life, and on answering the call of God. In both instances, Sanders pointed out how God used him to touch others’ lives in ways he never could have foreseen.

“Be prepared to take the risk when you have no idea what it is,” he said.

Sanders also challenged graduates to be self-learners in a time when things change at a rapid pace.

“You’re going to be living your entire lives in this time of phenomenal change,” he said. “You must be constantly learning if you are going to thrive in today’s world.”

Sanders then challenged graduates to “live the Golden Rule,” treating others as they would like to be treated. He told a story about giving a ride to an elderly Navajo couple years ago, when he was teaching second grade. As it turned out, the man was a witch doctor for the local tribe. Sanders befriended the gentlemen and that friendship gave a local missionary, who was also a friend of Sanders, the opportunity to become involved with the tribe.

“A simple gesture of human kindness opened that door,” Sanders said.

Finally, Sanders encouraged the graduates to take care of God’s creation, saying the planet is in trouble as humans have abused its natural resources. He said it will be important for scientists to focus on creation care issues.

“I hope you will use your God-given skills to find a way to help us repair some of the damage,” he said.