Champions of HBU: Sharon Saunders

When I count my blessings, I am thankful for Houston Baptist University … for the students, the faculty, staff, alumni, The Guild, American Museum Society and so many other friends I have met during my journey on this very special campus.  Through our time together, we all share in the enterprise of “a higher education.”  At HBU, we have the privilege of changing lives – and in the process of impacting the lives of others – special relationships are formed.  My prayer is that we will be salt and light in the world and that we will impact our HBU community in an exceptional way.

First impressions are lasting impressions!  There have been phenomenal colleagues on this campus who have invested in me; and through our shared relationships we have experienced the fun, the privilege, and truly the joy of working together.  One colleague, in particular, who made a significant impact on my life was Dr. Ray Mayfield, Jr.  As a friend and mentor he will always have a special place in my heart!

Dr. Mayfield was a university athlete, a scholar and a World War II veteran who served as a pastor to Baptist churches across our state and community.  He responded to a calling when he served as a Founding Trustee for the new Baptist college founded in the early 1960s.  Houston Baptist College soon became home to Dr. Mayfield and his wife Nita when he joined the staff in 1963.   Dr. Mayfield was a Christian leader who recognized what it meant to give back to others … a hero for our faith and the shepherd for our highly acclaimed Endowed Scholarship Program.

In 1994, following a 31-year University career where he served in a number of roles, Dr. Mayfield retired as Vice President for Planned Giving.  Today the walls of the Brown Administrative Complex bear numerous plaques recognizing generous donors who have invested in the lives of so many students, past and current, thanks to the diligence of Dr. Mayfield.

In 2016, the Endowed Scholarship program, a legacy of Dr. Mayfield’s leadership, can proudly claim:

  • 275 Endowed Scholarship Recipients
  • 153 Endowed Scholarship families
  • Approximately $1,524,568 awarded to students from Endowed Scholarships.

In recognition of Dr. Mayfield’s contributions to the University, in 1997 HBU named its most prestigious staff award in his honor.  The Mayfield Staff Award is presented annually to staff who demonstrate excellence and Christian service in their work.  To date, 44 staff members from various campus-wide areas proudly wear the title of Mayfield Award Recipient.  But for those of us who knew Dr. Mayfield, it means so much more.  It is hard to describe the intangibles that make someone special, but I have felt the desire to go above and beyond in my work because of his quiet inspiration.

There are many special relationships that have made an indelible impression on my HBU memories … George Hine, Linda Shook ’83, Vivian Camacho Winslow ’91 … and so many others that a list would do an injustice to many colleagues who are lifetime friends.  And, I have had the honor of serving during the leadership of all three presidents of this amazing University.  Today, through The Ten Pillars and the visionary leadership of President Robert Sloan, HBU has far exceeded our dreams.

The future of our University offers amazing opportunities, and every day is a new day!  As we respond to our calling at HBU, we stand taller because of the mentors who have invested in our lives. May we always treasure our history!

© 2017 Houston Baptist University