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Summer 2002
 
 
Baylor Alumni

Alumni 150


Joann Horton Goatcher
She speaks Thai and Spanish, has flown her own plane, and practiced medicine in a field hospital right out of M*A*S*H. Not bad for a girl from Carlsbad, Texas, who didn’t seek out a medical "career" so much as medical knowledge that would serve people.

When Dr. Joann Horton Goatcher entered Baylor in 1948, she already knew which road she was going to take—the one less traveled. "I was called by the Lord as a child, and that call required preparation," she told the Line in 2002, the year she was named a Baylor Distinguished Alumna.

After graduating from Baylor in 1952 and Southwestern Medical School in 1955, she sought further training in infectious diseases prevalent in the Third World. Earl—her husband and a hospital administrator—shared his wife's passion for helping others. In 1962, the couple and their young children moved to Thailand.

For the next nine years, Goatcher worked as a staff physician at a new rural hospital between Bangkok and the border of Cambodia, which served a population of 300,000. There, she battled against diseases like diphtheria and polio, but perhaps her greatest battle was against ignorance. "Many patients died because other remedies would be attempted until hope was gone," she said, listing animal sacrifices, snake oil massages, and incantations as the other "remedies."

But by the early 1970s, Goatcher had helped educate her patients, who slowly acquiesced to immunizations, cleaner sanitation, and regular checkups. "Our continued upgrading of the standard of medical care led the surrounding government hospitals to begin to upgrade theirs also," she said.

With the Thai hospital thriving, the family returned to the United States in 1971, where Goatcher established a private practice in Van Horn. While the West Texas population was very different from her rural Thai patients, Goatcher found that both were underserved. So she maintained rural public health clinics for the Texas Department of Health, covering such a large area that she eventually flew her own plane from Presidio to the New Mexico border.

In the wake of the 1979 refugee crisis, the Goatchers returned to Thailand, where they faced artillery fire and crude conditions in a field hospital that Goatcher herself ran. After the crisis eased in 1983, she traveled from village to village to treat patients and train local "barefoot medics."

After returning to the U.S. in 1987, she worked with the Center of Juvenile Offenders in Richmond, Virginia, followed by "retirement" in Clinton, Arkansas, where Goatcher continues to treat patients at public health facilities and nursing homes.Lisa Asher

Jack Hightower
"It’s just great for anyone in any position of responsibility to know someone is looking over his shoulder and that people are watching and concerned about what happens," Jack Hightower once said of individuals elected or appointed to public office. "If everyone in the decision-making business knows they’re responsible to the public at large, then we all do well."

Most observers of Judge Hightower—whose lengthy political career included service on the state and federal level—would say that his own conscience was enough to keep him on the straight and narrow path as a public officeholder. A great admirer of President Abraham Lincoln, he championed transparency and accountability because, in practicing them himself, he knew how essential such characteristics are to government and justice.

A native of Memphis, Texas, Hightower spent a summer at Baylor before enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1944. After his discharge, he returned to Waco and resumed his studies, earning an undergraduate degree in 1949 and a law degree in 1951. Having married Colleen Ward Hightower '49, he moved to Vernon and practiced law for two years before embarking upon a journey into the world of politics that would last for more than four decades.

Hightower was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1953, but after one term he resigned to become district attorney for the Forty-sixth Texas Judicial District in Vernon—a position he retained until 1961. After serving as a member of the Texas Senate from 1965 to 1974, he won election to the U.S. House of Representatives for the Thirteenth Congressional District of Texas—a vast area of thirty-three counties stretching from Wichita Falls to Amarillo.

He went on to serve in Washington from 1975 to 1985, holding positions on the Agriculture and Government Operations committees. Working tirelessly for his constituents, Hightower remained a realist as a congressman. "You know, all the decisions are made in committee, where the real battles take place," he told the Line in 1978. "The things said on the floor are just for the Congressional Record. You sometimes wonder if you’ll ever have too much influence."

Hightower concluded his career in public office as a justice on the Supreme Court of Texas, where he served from 1988 to 1996. A book collector of some renown, he was later appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve on the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science.

Among other activities over the years, Hightower served on Baylor's Board of Trustees from 1972 to 1981 and also had a prominent career as a Mason. He recently served as chair of the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas and of the Scottish Rite Education Association of Texas. A resident of Austin, he has deposited his political and personal papers in the Baylor Collections of Political Materials.Todd Copeland

Frank S. Groner

When he became president of the South's largest hospital in 1946 at the age of thirty-four, Frank Groner knew what he was getting himself into. "It was rather evident that it was going to be a tremendous growth industry and it was going to be exciting," he told the Line when he was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 1983, predicting that the industry would remain an exhilarating milieu in which to work.

Groner came to Memphis's Baptist Memorial Hospital (BMH) after ten years at the Southern Baptist Hospital of New Orleans. Under his leadership as president until 1980, BMH grew from five hundred beds to more than two thousand and was ranked as the world's largest private hospital.

A 1934 Baylor graduate, Groner pioneered many hospital trends. When the hospital built a 450-bed addition in 1953, 88 percent of the new building's rooms were private—unusual for the time. Also that year, BMH was the first hospital in the nation to put televisions in patient rooms. Groner was credited with introducing piped oxygen into surgery, installing the first automatic elevators in a hospital, pioneering the nurse-patient audio call system, and starting a one-day surgery program.

He also was a leader on a national level through his support for the concept of prepaid health-care plans and his involvement in the national development of Blue Cross. Groner was also an early pioneer in diversification; BMH already had a for-profit arm when Groner arrived, but he grew the investments into a wide array of assets to earn for the hospital.

Groner was the only person to receive the top three national awards in the field of health care: The Justin Kimball Award in 1964 for his work with Blue Cross, the Distinguished Service Award from the American Hospital Association in 1966, and the Gold Medal Award from the American College of Hospital Administrators in 1968. When Modern Healthcare magazine launched its Health Care Hall of Fame in 1988, Groner joined the likes of Benjamin Franklin as one of ten leaders (only two of whom were living) who were charter inductees.

Born in Stanford, Texas, Groner was one of seven children, but his family soon moved to Waco, where his father became pastor of Columbus Avenue Baptist Church and led efforts to build what is now Hillcrest Baptist Hospital. Later the family moved to Dallas, where his father was general secretary of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and Groner was a high school football standout. At Baylor he also played football, but became known better on the baseball diamond, where he earned all-conference honors.

When the U.S. entered World War II, Groner had already made a name for himself in New Orleans and was asked to inspect military hospitals in the Pacific theater. But a subsequent back injury prevented him from going overseas. Staying stateside, he became a pioneer in a field which, as Groner predicted, has stayed exciting to this day. He served as president emeritus of BMH after his retirement and died in 1994.Meg Cullar

W. R. (Bob) Poage
Born in Waco in 1899, W. R. (Bob) Poage spent his childhood on the Lazy 'Leven Ranch in Throckmorton County under the watchful eye of his father, a rancher who once drove cattle up the Chisholm Trail. He served as an apprentice seaman in the U.S. Navy during World War I following his graduation from Waco High School in 1918. After attending the University of Texas and the University of Colorado, he studied geology and history at Baylor and became a leading debater for the Philomathesian Literary Society. After earning his undergraduate degree in 1921, he added a law degree from Baylor in 1924 while teaching geology to undergraduates. Poage got his start in public service at the state level, winning his first election to the Texas House of Representatives during his final quarter of law school. It was the beginning of a remarkable career in politics.

Poage served four years as a state representative (1925-29), while practicing law in Waco and teaching at Baylor School of Law. He then spent six years in the Texas Senate (1931-37). Next up was the national stage, and his time on it would prove to be long and illustrious. From January 3, 1937, to December 31, 1978—a span of forty-two years—Poage represented the Eleventh Congressional District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. As a congressman, he served under eight U.S. presidents and was chair of the House Agriculture Committee for eight years, earning the nickname "Mr. Agriculture."

At the outset of his congressional service, Poage established himself as a supporter of the New Deal programs that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had initiated to provide employment opportunities, business reform, and economic recovery during the Great Depression. Informed by his childhood experiences among farmers and ranchers in rural Texas, Poage strove to apply the engine of government to the improvement of rural living and working conditions. He particularly worked to extend rural electrification and telephone service during the 1930s and 1940s. He was responsible for several important pieces of farm-related legislation over the years, including the Poage-Aiken Act of 1965, which funded the construction of piped-water and sewer systems in rural areas nationwide, and he was the first member of Congress to introduce a bill providing for student educational loans.

After his retirement, Poage lived in Waco and donated his papers to Baylor, forming the initial core of the present-day Baylor Collections of Political Materials. In 1985, he published an autobiography titled My First Eighty-five Years, which followed his four books on local history and politics. He died in 1987 and was buried in Waco’s Oakwood Cemetery. The W. R. Poage Legislative Library at Baylor, in which he maintained an office after his retirement, is named in his honor.Todd Copeland

Melissa Rogers
When the issues of church and state get clouded, 1988 Baylor graduate Melissa Rogers is one of very few people in the country who can help to clear the air. The National Journal in 2004 recognized Rogers as one of a dozen experts that politicians should call on whenever they get serious about addressing this important public policy issue. Currently a visiting professor of religion and public policy at Wake Forest University Divinity School, Rogers is the founder and director of Wake Forest's Center for Religion and Public Affairs, which provides resources to divinity students and religious leaders on these issues.

Previously, Rogers served from 2000 to 2003 as founding executive director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, directing numerous programs, including the production of a comprehensive guide to the IRS restrictions on political activity of charitable organizations and a survey report on the faith-based initiative.

Prior to her work at the Pew Forum, Rogers was general counsel for the Baptist Joint Committee, an organization devoted to defending religious liberty, in Washington, D.C. She served as the group’s chief spokesperson on legal issues pertaining to religion and the separation of church and state. During her six years with the organization, Rogers led a coalition that was instrumental in bringing about the enactment of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000.

Rogers has testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee and authored numerous scholarly articles for law and academic journals. She has appeared on numerous national radio and television broadcasts, and her editorials have been published by ABC News, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, Religious News Service, and others.

Rogers is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Baylor, where she majored in history. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 1991, where she was a member of the National Moot Court Team, and then served at Dow, Lohnes, and Albertson, a Washington, D.C., law firm specializing in communications law before joining the Baptist Joint Committee.Meg Cullar

John A. Norris
Human society has always depended upon water. When rivers are brought under control by effective engineering, it prevents disastrous floods, and commerce benefits from unvarying water levels. When lakes are created, cities acquire reliable sources of water as well as recreation. As a pioneering civil engineer and administrator, Baylor graduate John Alexander Norris helped make such security and water resources possible for the people of Texas.

Born in 1877 in Alleyton, Texas, Norris initially attended Baylor from 1894 to 1897 and returned in 1920 to complete work on his degree. In the interim, he served as county engineer for Wharton County and studied engineering at the University of Texas in Austin. In 1918, Norris was appointed to the Texas State Board of Water Engineers—whose responsibilities are now carried out by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality—and remained with that agency until 1936. During his last sixteen years on the board, he served as chair. His leadership was of long-lasting importance to the growth of Texas as he helped establish programs that protected municipal water supplies and provided for flood control and conservation.

In 1929, the Texas Legislature—guided by the counsel of Norris and others—created the Brazos River Conservation and Reclamation District (now named the Brazos River Authority). The establishment of other water conservation and development agencies soon followed, including the Lower Colorado River Authority in 1934. The creation of the Brazos River agency was a landmark in water-resource management, marking the first time in the United States that the development and management of an entire major river basin had been entrusted to a single public agency established for that express purpose.

When Norris became chief engineer and general manager of the Brazos River Conservation and Reclamation District in 1936, he began implementing the agency’s master plan for reservoir development, which called for the construction of thirteen major dams on the Brazos and its tributaries. From 1938 until 1941, Norris oversaw the construction of Morris Sheppard Dam and the resulting creation of Possum Kingdom Lake—an $8.5-million conservation and power-generation project that marked the first dam and reservoir on the Brazos River.

Norris was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, serving as president of its Texas section in 1925, and also belonged to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Water Works Association. Following his work with the state, Norris was in private engineering practice for several years until his retirement. He died in 1963 in Austin.Todd Copeland

Price Daniel Jr.
It was probably a sure bet that Price Daniel Jr. would not have a quiet, uneventful life. As the son of Texas Governor Price Daniel Sr. and the great-great-great grandson of Sam Houston, the younger Daniel was raised on Texas politics—and the larger-than-life personalities that often go along with that sometimes cutthroat world. In his short thirty-nine years, Daniel would rise to the top of the state legislature, only to fall precipitously in a violent, controversial death.

By the time he was twelve, Daniel was already making political speeches for his father, a Baylor graduate who served as Texas House Speaker, U.S. senator, and state governor in quick succession. They were tough shoes for any son to fill, but the younger Daniel tried his best. He ran a successful mail-order book business and a Waco bookshop specializing in Texas history, all while earning a Baylor undergraduate degree in 1964, followed by a law degree in 1966.

Daniel briefly maintained a private law practice in his hometown of Liberty before being elected justice of the peace for Liberty County. In 1968, he successfully ran for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives—the same seat that his father had occupied thirty years before. While he tried to stay above the fray of the early 1970s political scandals, Daniel’s fellow Democrats in the Texas House pulled him into the middle of the "Dirty Thirty," a group that exposed corruption among lawmakers. In 1973, Daniel was elected Speaker of the House.

Named by Time magazine as one of the nation’s top one hundred leaders, Daniel was on the rise. But after declaring he would only be speaker for one term, Daniel’s influence diminished, and he championed a new state Constitution that ultimately failed to get passage. A politically weakened Daniel lost the 1978 Democratic primary for attorney general to fellow Baylor graduate Mark White.

Following his defeat, Daniel returned to Liberty, where he resumed his law practice. He also taught law and government classes at the University of Houston, South Texas School of Law, and Texas Southern University.

In January 1981, Daniel was allegedly shot to death in his home by his second wife, Vickie, resulting in a dramatic trial that revealed numerous salacious details about Daniel. Vickie’s eventual acquittal created national publicity, along with a best-selling book and a television movie.Lisa Asher

Jim Turner
Jim Turner has always been the kind of guy to jump right into things—sometimes literally—and make the most of his opportunities for success. In high school, the Houston native graduated at mid-term of his senior year and went straight to Baylor University on a basketball scholarship, arriving in January 1964. "Graduating in January meant I was leaving my high school team at mid-season and joining Baylor’s freshman team in the middle of the season. It was kind of difficult," he told the Line in 2000.

When Turner scored sixty-three points in a win over Temple Junior College that first year at Baylor, it was obvious he had the makings of an over-achiever. After receiving all-SWC honors during his playing days and earning a business degree in 1969, he and his wife, Julie Hermansen Turner '67, MS '68, moved to Houston, where Turner began moving up the ranks of a local soft drink bottler’s management team. In the early 1980s, his connection to the Dr Pepper company began when he was hired to run its corporate-owned bottling operations in Texas.

Turner felt right at home at Dr Pepper—so much so that when the company put its bottling operations up for sale, Turner decided he should be the buyer. Borrowing to the hilt, he personally bought the Dr Pepper Bottling Company of Texas franchises in Dallas-Fort Worth and Waco in 1985. “It was a big risk,” he said, but once again Turner proved that he was more than ready to accept the challenge.

After adding more franchises and acquiring the Seven Up/RC Bottling Company of Southern California in 1998, the Turner Beverage Group, which he served as chair and CEO, became the largest privately owned bottling company in the United States. Recognizing Turner’s self-made success story, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans presented him with the Horatio Alger Award.

In 1999, Turner sold the company for a reported total consideration of $691 million to Cadbury Schweppes and The Carlyle Group, which merged it with The American Bottling Company to form Dr Pepper/Seven Up Bottling Group, headquartered in Dallas. While retaining a significant equity interest in the combined entity, Turner served the company as CEO until 2005. Since then, he has been principal of JLT Beverages, a firm specializing in beverage investments.

The Turners have been intimately involved in the life of Baylor. As a regent of the university, Turner recently served a year as chair of Baylor's governing board. And the couple’s generous support of Baylor athletics is reflected in the name of the sports complex along University Parks Drive—the Jim and Julie Turner Riverfront Athletic Park. The complex includes baseball, softball, soccer, and tennis facilities. Named a Distinguished Alumnus of Baylor in 1999, Turner was inducted into the Baylor Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996 and its Wall of Honor in 2008.Todd Copeland

Baker James Cauthen
When Dr. Baker James Cauthen was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Baylor in 1971, the Line described him as a "brilliant student, eloquent preacher, [and] compassionate missionary with room in his heart for the entire world." Evangelist Billy Graham called Cauthen “one of the greatest missionary statesmen in all American church life.”

Cauthen is largely credited with building the missions program of the Southern Baptist Convention from a struggling, under-funded position following World War II into the robust program that it is today. He served as executive director of the Foreign Mission Board from 1953 until 1979. During that time, the number of Southern Baptist foreign missionaries increased from 908 to nearly three thousand, the number of countries served grew from thirty-two to ninety-five, and missions funding grew from $6.7 million to $76.7 million.

A native of East Texas, Cauthen made a commitment to the Christian faith at the age of five and never wavered. He was licensed to preach at age sixteen and ordained to the gospel ministry at eighteen. A graduate of Stephen F. Austin College, he earned a master's degree from Baylor in 1930 and then master’s and doctorate degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1933 and 1936, respectively. He pastored Polytechnic Baptist Church of Fort Worth from 1935 to 1939 while concurrently serving as a professor of missions at Southwestern.

In 1934, Cauthen married Eloise Glass, whose parents were lifelong missionaries in China. The Cauthens also became missionaries there, taking their two children with them in 1939. During those difficult years, Eloise and one of their children experienced health problems and the family lost all of their possessions during World War II. Eloise’s parents were imprisoned by the Japanese when America joined the war in 1941. In 1945, the Foreign Mission Board elected Cauthen as Secretary to the Orient, and in 1953 he became executive secretary (later executive director) of the Foreign Mission Board.

In recognition of Cauthen's record of ministry in world mission, Baylor honored him with the Doctor of Divinity degree in 1945. In 1964, he was named the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year for Southwestern Seminary. Cauthen died in 1985.Meg Cullar

Robert Johnson
When the Jewish Community Relations Council of Metropolitan Washington honored Robert Johnson as the 2007 Man of the Year, he said he was greatly honored but stunned. "You never realize that this kind of honor will come to you," Johnson said upon receiving the award. "You just do what you believe in and what you feel in your heart needs to be done and must be done."

Johnson has built his career, his company, and his life on that principle. He is the president of The Johnson Group, an event production and communications company based in McLean, Virginia, whose company motto—"Films that challenge, inspire, and change lives'—is more than just a slogan. In his forty years as a producer and director, he has been at the helm of projects that cover some decidedly serious issues—from AIDS and the Holocaust to domestic violence. "Our aim," Johnson said, "is tell stories that make a positive difference in the lives of those who see them."

A native of Cameron, Johnson transferred from Austin College to Baylor so that he could study under acclaimed theater professor Paul Baker. "He encouraged us to have faith in the creative process, to believe in what you're doing and in your product, and to jump out there and do it," Johnson says of Baker.

After graduating from Baylor in 1956, Johnson worked at several Texas television stations before moving to Washington, D.C., where he produced and hosted two news-oriented discussion programs. But it was when he started working on a documentary about the Cuban Missile Crisis that he found his calling. "That’s what began my documentary period," he recalls. "I fell in love with telling stories that way."

He formed his own production company and eventually produced films for the Discovery Channel, HBO, and ABC. Along the way, he garnered numerous awards and recognition. Living With Hope, about teens with HIV/AIDS, won a Golden Eagle Award for excellence, and The Johnson Group earned a Silver Catalyst Award for video excellence and innovation.

In 2004, Johnson produced a film that was named one of the top five documentaries of the year by the Board of National Review. Paper Clips tells the story of the citizens of a small Tennessee town who decide to collect six million paper clips, one for every Jewish person killed during the Holocaust. The town eventually received more than eleven million clips, along with international recognition and visits from numerous Holocaust survivors.

Paper Clips is just one example of the work that Johnson has strived to do his entire life. "There are forces that work with us in what we do," he has said, "and help us make an impact on people."Lisa Asher


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