The BAA’s SesquicentennialThe Baylor family celebrates a remarkable anniversary
By Todd Copeland, Editor of the Baylor Line magazine
year, the Baylor Alumni Association (BAA) is celebrating its
Sesquicentennial. Translated into plain English, that means we’re
celebrating the150th anniversary of our organization’s creation. Back
in 1859, Baylor University was located in Independence, and the BAA had
forty-two initial members. Now, of course, we are in Waco, and our
membership is nineteen thousand.
I’ve served as editor of the Baylor Line
for eleven years, and as such I feel like I’ve been kicking around here
for a long time. To be sure, many things of significance have occurred
at the alumni association during that stretch of time—satisfying
achievements shared with a great staff balanced by difficult
challenges. But even so, I realize that my time at the BAA has only
been a brief chapter in the full story of the alumni association and
that I’ve merely played a small part in a much larger enterprise that
previous generations began and pursued.
The BAA is truly an organization with an amazing history of service to
Baylor. Scanning the long list of men and women who have served as
president of the Baylor Alumni Association since its formation 150
years ago, you’ll find people who have buildings on campus named after
them—such as G. H. Penland and D. K. Martin, namesakes of two residence
halls, and Curtis Hankamer, namesake of the business school.
This issue of the Line
features the last in a four-part series of stories celebrating the
BAA’s Sesquicentennial and its unflagging service to our alma mater
throughout its existence. (See “150 Years of Celebrating Tradition.”)
Previous stories have focused on the BAA’s role in connecting the
Baylor family, supporting Baylor’s mission, and communicating with
alumni. This issue’s story explores the alumni association’s work in
fostering Baylor traditions. In a nice coincidence, the Baylor family
is celebrating another big anniversary this month—the one-hundredth
anniversary of Baylor’s first Homecoming.
This fall thus offers an opportunity for the Baylor family to reflect
on the significance of the long, shared history of Baylor and the BAA.
I don’t know about you, but 150 years is a pretty impressive number to
me. A century and a half. Fifteen decades. That makes the BAA older
than a great number of things—older than all of the buildings on the
Baylor campus, for example, as well as the entire existence of both the
University of Texas and Texas A&M.
The BAA’s creation predates the statehoods of Nebraska, Oklahoma,
Arizona, and fourteen other states. The BAA existed before the
invention of the car and the discovery of penicillin.
Obviously, I could go on for some time. The point is a simple one—the
BAA’s 150 years of service to Baylor have been a tremendous boon to
Baylor for a long time, helping the school fulfill its mission and
achieve its aspirations. BAA leaders and members have helped to
construct buildings and to establish lifelong connections between
alumni and Baylor. The BAA has always been there for Baylor—through
times of plenty and times of tribulation, from generation to
generation. And that good old Baylor line promises to continue marching
forward for another 150 years.
A final word. Some of you may notice that one of our regular content
offerings is missing from this issue. The Office of the President
declined the opportunity to participate in the regular “Conversation
with the President” department. We hope interim president David
Garland—or, perhaps, Baylor’s new permanent president by that time—will
be back in our pages in the next issue.