Five, Ten, Fifteen, TwentyLooking back on a personal journey of service to Baylor
By Judy Henderson Prather '73, DMin '02, Communications Coordinator
enrolled at Baylor as a greener-than-average seventeen-year-old. Very
few people from Childress came this far south to college, so I felt
like something of a pioneer.
And having grown up under the influence of a fundamentalist preacher, I
believe it was God's grace that brought me here, where I fell under the
"questionable influence" of master teachers like Bob Baird and Ann
Miller. They, and many others, affirmed my mind and helped to open and
strengthen it. By the time I left here, I was changed—like many of you
who are reading this.
Twenty years ago last August, I came to Baylor in a very different
role. With my younger son starting kindergarten, it was time for me to
contribute to the family's coffer, so I set out looking for a job I
could do while the boys were in school.
Sherry Castello, then-editor of the Baylor Line,
hired me as a permanent replacement for two student-worker positions on
the magazine. Desktop publishing was a new development, so Sherry would
take the class notes I entered, place them in a template for "Down the
Years" (the perennial favorite of all alumni readers!), and send the
pages off to be printed.
The job grew, as jobs tend to do, and I served as class notes editor
for sixteen years before moving into my current role as communications
coordinator. During those years, I've watched my own two sons grow into
manhood while I've celebrated countless babies and new jobs, grieved
losses in the Baylor family, and had the privilege of writing about and
meeting some really amazing people.
I loved helping alums stay connected to each other and our university,
and I loved knowing I was contributing to Baylor in my unique way,
helping my alma mater stay strong.
Just the other day, I sat on the fifth floor of Cashion Academic
Building at the annual service awards ceremony for Baylor staff and
faculty. Baylor employees were receiving service pins—starting with the
five-year-employees and going all the way up to one professor who was
recognized for fifty years of teaching.
Looking around the room, I saw longtime colleagues, friends, and even
one graying economics professor I had taken for an ill-chosen elective
"back in the day." The 325 employees listed on the program represented
4,400 years of service to Baylor, and I was proud to be among them. For
decades, the BAA had run its personnel-related programs (payroll,
retirement, health care) through Baylor's system, but the BAA's
decision last year to separate our operations from the university meant
that I would be the last alumni association employee to be recognized
I had been to the ceremony three times before—at five, ten, and fifteen
years—and had now made it to twenty. Some of those years have been
difficult ones for our organization, but that has only increased our
commitment to work that much harder on Baylor's behalf.
The last employee to be honored was Dr. Roger Kirk, who started
teaching psychology and statistics back when stamps cost three cents
and the flag only had forty-eight stars. It was 1958—the year Elvis
went into the army. Before receiving a standing ovation, Dr. Kirk spoke
for us all, when he said, "The secret is to do what you love doing, and
do it to your utmost."
Serving Baylor University—I love doing that. It's been a good twenty years, even without the pin.