Wayne Cavender started his career with Dallas Institute on Valentine's Day in 1994 and has maintained his love for the job and the organization ever since. He is originally from Plattsburg, Missouri just outside of Kansas City and makes regular trips back there to visit his long-time friends and family.
He attended Missouri Western State College in St. Joseph, Mo, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Immediately upon finishing his degree, Wayne moved to Dallas, Texas to attend Dallas Institute of Funeral Service where he received his Associate of Applied Science Degree in Funeral Service in August of 1987. He went back home to Kansas City, obtained both his funeral director and embalmer licenses, and worked for several years at a well-respected firm there, serving as manager for the last part of his tenure.
In 1993, Wayne moved back to Dallas and served as an embalmer for the SCI Dallas metro embalming service for a little over a year when he was informed of an open teaching position open at Dallas Institute. Although Wayne believed himself to not be a public speaker in any way, he soon found that he had found his niche teaching future funeral directors and embalmers about the business that he feels so passionate about. As a requirement to continue teaching, he went on to complete his master’s degree at Amber University in November of 1998.
Mr. Cavender served for many years as the Dean of the college and was promoted and assumed the presidency and program director position on May 11, 2018 upon the retirement of the prior president. With the growth of Dallas Institute of Funeral Service over the last few years, new needs arose for the college requiring alterations in the administrative structure. Due to those changes and his areas of expertise, Wayne currently serves as the Senior Director of Accreditation Compliance and Alumni Relations at Dallas Institute. This position requires that he participate in much of the day-to-day administration of the school to assist in maintaining accreditation. As well as accreditation maintenance, he also continues to serve as an educator by working with other academic team members in developing curriculum and working with the many support systems in place for student success. Over his many years of service, he has also taught a variety of classes including Chemistry, Pathology, Microbiology, Funeral Service Ethics, General Psychology, Embalming Lab, Written Communications, Funeral Directing, and Psychology of Grief. He maintains his expertise in teaching by continuing to serve as a substitute instructor and remains on the roster to teach the science courses and provide support to other instructors to assist with proficiency in the science-based subjects when needed. Wayne also served as the Director of the Clinical Program for over fifteen years as well as serving as a co-sponsor of the Epsilon Chapter of Pi Sigma Eta Fraternity at Dallas Institute. Due to his long tenure with the college, he also provides support to the Alumni and the Alumni Association having developed a profound number of relationships with graduates.
In addition to his administrative duties with the college, Wayne finds it very rewarding to serve on committees with the accrediting agency for schools of mortuary science, the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE). He has participated in multiple curriculum outline reviews for them and served on several visiting teams that are a part of the reaccreditation process for all mortuary schools. He has previously served on the National Board Liaison Committee and the Curriculum Committee. The Curriculum Committee position was particularly rewarding for Wayne as he served there for seven years with six of those in the position of committee chair. Wayne has also served on multiple Item Writing Workshops over the years for the International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards, the provider of the National Board Exam (NBE).
Wayne received his CFSP (Certified Funeral Service Practitioner) designation in 2005. The CFSP is a national funeral service individual recognition organization. The Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice awards this special recognition to members upon completion of specified academic and professional programs. Annually one must receive at least twenty hours of continuing education to continue the designation.
Wayne is a member of the Dallas County Funeral Directors Association, the North Texas Funeral Directors Association, Texas Funeral Directors Association, the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association, the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, and the National Funeral Directors Association and maintains his licenses in Texas and Missouri. He currently serves on two committees for the Texas Funeral Directors Association Leadership Team, the Programs and Education Committee and the Texas State Board Exam Committee. As a part of these memberships, Wayne represents Dallas Institute at nearby state conventions and other regional/local meetings. He also represents the college at the quarterly Texas Funeral Service Commission meetings.
In his spare time, Wayne enjoys traveling with his spouse, attending musical theater, playing Pickleball, and singing with a local community chorus.