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Baylor Alumni

The BAA’s Sesquicentennial

The Baylor family celebrates a remarkable anniversary
By Todd Copeland, Editor of the Baylor Line magazine

This 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.

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