“Texas Wesleyan University is a greater space for learning and growing than it has ever been in its 125-year history.”
— Dr. Lamar Smith
United Methodist Women (UMW) will open doors to many sacred spaces in this exciting year of programming. Starting in September we explored our own sacred space here at FUMCFW. Next up is the October UMW Dinner: Sacred Space for Learning & Growing with Texas Wesleyan University President Frederick G. Slabach as our speaker.
Texas Wesleyan University has a new vision for its future, and President Fred Slabach is the man who set it into motion with the $6.5 million Rosedale Renaissance project to revitalize campus, the Polytechnic neighborhood, and our community at large. “President Slabach has completely changed the community,” exclaims JonAnna Reidinger, Vice President of UMW Programs. “He believes in energy and planning, and has really gone forward with this program.” During this special evening dinner, President Slabach will be here to tell us more about the transformation of this outstanding university.
Texas Wesleyan is a space that our own Dr. Lamar Smith holds very sacred. From student to interim president, his ties to the university go back 70 years. The Rev. Dr. Lamar Edward Smith Center for Evangelism & Church Growth, just one part of the Rosedale Renaissance project, was even named after him for his lifelong commitment to the United Methodist Church and Texas Wesleyan. Dr. Smith said that to receive this kind of honor — and at his age — was a double blessing. Now he adds that it will be his honor to introduce Fred Slabach, whom he calls “our dynamic president,” for his presentation at the UMW dinner.
Looking back, Dr. Lamar Smith says that he can see more clearly now all that began for him at Texas Wesleyan. Dr. Smith decided to pursue ministry in the Methodist Church while serving in the U.S. Navy. When he was discharged in July 1946, he started his educational preparation for ministry at what was then called Texas Wesleyan College. He says that this college environment became a sacred space for him as his preparation opened up new worlds of learning he had never before imagined. “I was introduced to Holy Scripture and a caring, supportive faculty that guided my preparation for seminary and the tasks of ministry beyond,” he recalls. “That school, that faculty, those friends, and the other students headed for ministry came to be the foundations of my ministry and my work.”
While the location has not changed, Dr. Smith’s college of old has become the university of new. “Texas Wesleyan University is far better equipped now to serve as a sacred space for young men and women — not only for those headed into ministry, but also for those preparing to enter the business world,” he explains. “Recent cooperation with the Central Texas Conference has been an inspiration for the university to work together on the Rosedale Renaissance project.” One key piece is the United Methodist Church Central Texas Conference Service Center, which will also be home to the bishop’s offices. “The new conference center is the heart of the Central Texas Conference where our bishop and his staff of clergypersons and laypersons will give guidance and inspiration to our conference as it increases in membership,” Dr. Smith adds. “The two institutions will be working together to increase the effectiveness of both.”
Proudly proclaiming that his alma mater is becoming more sacred with time, Dr. Lamar Smith points to its motto — Smaller. Smarter. — as a real truth. Case in point: U.S. News & World Report has ranked Texas Wesleyan in the top tier of regional universities for seven consecutive years. When Dr. Smith recently served as Texas Wesleyan’s interim president, he says that his favorite task was welcoming new college students who — just as he did all those years ago — will soon discover this very special university to be a sacred space in their own lives.
Join us on Tuesday, October 4, at 6:00 pm in Wesley Hall to hear more from the dynamic and personable Texas Wesleyan President Fred Slabach. All women, men, and guests are invited to this evening dinner and program sponsored by United Methodist Women. RSVP online or leave a message on our RSVP Line at 469-844-8690. Child care is provided; please contact Paula Wagstaff (email@example.com) for child care reservations and RSVP by noon on Friday, September 30. We look forward to seeing you at our October UMW Dinner!