Alumni 150Since Baylor’s first graduate in 1854, more than 140,000 men and women have earned degrees from Texas’s oldest
university. “Alumni 150” celebrates the collective mark these alumni
have made upon the world through their exceptional achievements. As
part of the Baylor Alumni Association’s celebration of its
Sesquicentennial anniversary in 2009, the Line
has profiled 150 of Baylor’s most remarkable alumni, with ten featured
per issue. The selected alumni represent a range of professions and
callings as well as eras in the school’s history. With this issue, and
the final ten alumni selected, we conclude this special project. If
you’d like to comment on “Alumni 150,” e-mail us at BaylorLine@BaylorAlumniAssociation.com.
William H. Bruce
Dr. William H. Bruce is remembered as one of Texas’s most important
educational leaders, but his life and career in teaching started a few
states to the east in the Deep South. Born in 1856 in Georgia, Bruce
was raised in Alabama and began teaching in a rural school following
his high school graduation. For eight years, he balanced work with his
studies at Alabama A&M College (now Auburn University), earning a
bachelor’s in mathematics in 1883. He moved back to Georgia to teach
and work on a doctoral degree at Mercer University, but left the
following year to become the head of the faculty of Blanco High School
Over the next nine years in Blanco, Bruce stayed plenty busy, earning a
master’s degree from Baylor University in 1886 and completing his PhD
from Mercer in 1890. In 1893, he left Blanco to become the school
superintendent in Marble Falls, and a few years later he served in the
same capacity in Athens. His next stop was Stephenville, where he
served for a year, from 1899 to 1900, as president of John Tarleton
College (now Tarleton State University). He went on to serve as head of
the mathematics department at North Texas State Normal College (now the
University of North Texas) for four years, and then in 1905 he was
named president of the young institution.
During Bruce’s seventeen-year tenure as president of North Texas State,
which ended in 1923, he transformed it from a three-year preparatory
school to a four-year college, thereby establishing the college as the
top teacher-training institution in the state. He once described his
job as “president, dean, stenographer, head janitor, and night
watchman.” Bruce raised admission standards and oversaw the student
enrollment’s expansion from 1,028 to 4,700. He increased the number of
faculty from fourteen to 118 and added eight new buildings, including
the school’s first dormitory, to the campus.
Bruce’s leadership role in education included a term as president of
the Texas State Teachers Association in 1905, five years (1905-10) as
chair of the Texas State Board of Examiners, and eleven years (1912-23)
as president of the Council of Texas Normal College Presidents. In
addition, during his career he made an international name for himself
as a mathematician and writer, authoring Some Noteworthy Properties of a Triangle and its Circles in 1904; co-authoring two mathematics textbooks, Elements of Plane Geometry and Elements of Solid Geometry, in 1910; and authoring The Nine Circles of the Triangle in 1932.
Bruce died in Opelika, Alabama, in 1943.—Todd Copeland
While many of the world’s superpowers continue to haggle over the
causes of and solutions for climate change, Norway has quietly become
the biggest international funder of rainforest conservation. And the
man leading that charge is Hans Brattskar, the special advisor of the
government of Norway’s International Climate and Forestry Initiative.
Since 2008, Brattskar has guided the Scandinavian country’s efforts to
reduce carbon dioxide emissions by reducing deforestation and forest
degradation. Under his leadership, Norway—whose population is just 1.5
percent of the U.S. population—has committed $440 million a year with
the hope that other countries and agencies, such as the United Nations
and the World Bank, will follow suit.
“Norway . . . could be catalytic in the sense that we could start
building the international framework needed to make it easier for other
countries to follow suit,” Brattskar has said. In his efforts to bring
other countries to the table, Brattskar has met with numerous world
leaders, including Britain’s Prince Charles, and played an integral
part in December’s UN-led climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
No stranger to the world stage, Brattskar, who earned a master’s in
international management from Baylor University in 1980, served as the
Norwegian ambassador to Sri Lanka from 2003 to 2007. During his tenure,
Brattskar was called upon to hold together an Oslo-brokered cease fire
in the wake of fighting between Sri Lankan government troops and
rebels, who were waging a guerilla-style war.
Prior to his ambassadorship, Brattskar lived in the U.S. several
different times. In addition to his Baylor degree, he earned a PhD from
Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. From 1998 to
2003, he lived and worked in New York City, where he was the UN
delegation’s Council of Ministers.
A noted economist and sociologist, Brattskar has also held managerial
positions to support Norway’s minister of international development. He
continues to be involved with the Oslo Forum, an annual global event
that strives to improve the mediation of armed conflict. —Lisa Asher
Marc Burckhardt was an art history major at Baylor University, and the
historical forces of art still influence his work today, he has said. A
leading commercial illustrator, Burckhardt has produced paintings for
publications such as Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, National Geographic, and the New York Times Magazine
and for entities including Major League Baseball, Volkswagon, Barnes
& Noble, and several record companies. In recognition of this
success, he has been named 2010 State Artist by the Texas Commission on
the Arts and the Texas Legislature.
Burckhardt has said that his early artistic influences included Dürer,
van Eyck, and Rivera, along with comics, but that he finds inspiration
in the outgrowth of artistic eras, such as medieval religious icons and
American and English sporting paintings. Burckhardt’s distinctive
illustrations are produced on wood panels and often exhibit a folk-art
flair. He creates his paintings by building up layers of acrylic and
oil paints and then finishing each work with a Raku pottery firing
process that creates a unique crackle effect.
Burckhardt grew up at Baylor, and in Europe in the summers, as the son
of German professors Jochem and Chris Christenson Burckhardt ’55, MA
’71. After graduating from Baylor in 1986, he earned another degree in
1989 from the Art Center College of Design.
As an illustrator, Burckhardt is particularly known for his portraits. He has painted commissions of Barack Obama (for Newsweek), Oprah Winfrey (Time), George W. Bush (Texas Monthly), Nelson Mandela (Time), Carlos Santana (Rolling Stone), Willie Nelson (Texas Monthly), and Ho Chi Minh and Walt Disney (both for the History Channel).
Burckhardt was commissioned to produce the cover of June Carter Cash’s album Wild Wood Flower.
During the project, June died, and Johnny Cash asked Burckhardt to come
to his home and paint a portrait of June. Burckhardt got to spend
several days with one of his musical heroes and even sit in on one of
his final recording sessions. In 2005, Sony Records commissioned
Burckhardt to paint the cover illustration for the posthumous Johnny
Cash collection The Legend. The packaging won a Grammy for boxed sets in 2006.
Burckhardt is also building a reputation as a fine artist, but told 3x3 Magazine
that illustration will continue to be his focus. “I still really love
illustration,” he said. “I enjoy the assignments—not knowing what I’ll
be painting next. I like the collaboration and the variety. And I’m not
sure that I’d get the same satisfaction from being a fine artist.”
Burckhardt’s paintings have been exhibited in numerous galleries, and
his works have won a number of industry awards. Works by Burckhardt are
in the private collections of celebrities including Oprah Winfrey and
Ralph Lauren.—Meg Cullar
Dr. Richard Sellars first worked for the National Park Service in the
mid-1960s as a seasonal naturalist in Grand Teton National Park. He was
working his way through graduate school, and his duties were relatively
modest—doing campfire talks and nature walks. But during his time in
Wyoming, he had already begun preaching the “big picture” understanding
of the natural world and its preservation in the national parks that
would underlie his thirty-five-year career as one of the Park Service’s
most significant historians, researchers, and administrators.
“In the Grand Tetons . . . I always encouraged people to appreciate
what they saw there but also to appreciate what they had back home,” he
has said. “Appreciation can lead to curiosity and understanding and
greater care of the land—not just in the parks, but everywhere.”
Sellars’s career with the National Park Service began in 1973, a year
after earning a PhD from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He had
previously graduated from Baylor University in 1957 with a bachelor of
science in geology, and he had also earned a master’s degree from the
University of North Texas. His first position was in the Southwest
Regional Office in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which would go on to serve as
home for the entirety of his Park Service career, although his
research, writing, teaching, and administrative activities involved
virtually the entire National Park System. In total, he visited nearly
370 of the more than 390 units of the National Park System. From 1979
to 1988, Sellars headed the Southwest Cultural Resources Center in
Santa Fe, overseeing programs in history, archeology, and historic
architecture for the Southwest Region, as well as Park Service-wide
programs in underwater archeology.
In 1997, Yale University Press published Sellars’s book Preserving Nature in the National Parks: A History,
hailed as the most thorough history of the national parks to have been
written. Sellars delved into the details of how Park Service policies
were formed over the decades and the varying roles played by landscape
architects, foresters, wildlife biologists, and other Park Service
professionals. “The incredible beauty of the national parks has always
given the impression that scenery alone is what makes them worthwhile
and deserving of protection,” he wrote in the introduction.
But as the book revealed, an amazing ecological wealth existed behind
that scenery whose preservation had always hinged on the dedicated work
of scientists, even if the Park Service had for many years given more
funding and positions to landscape architects than experts in wildlife
management or biologists. Sellars’s book became the catalyst for the
Natural Resource Challenge, a multi-year program funded by Congress to
revitalize natural resource management and science in the national
In 1999 and 2000, Sellars served as president of The George Wright
Society—an organization dedicated to the preservation of natural and
cultural parks and preserves. Following his retirement from the
National Park Service in 2008, Sellars was awarded the George B.
Hartzog Jr. Award in May 2008 by the Coalition of National Park Service
Retirees. In presenting the award to Sellars, the organization cited
“his unparalleled past contributions to understanding and advancing the
cause of natural resource management in the National Park Service, for
his continued professionalism and positive contributions to cultural
Sellars is writing a companion study to Preserving Nature—a history of how historic and prehistoric sites have been managed in the National Park System. He lives in Santa Fe.—Todd Copeland
Sam Houston Clinton
Sam Houston Clinton was a criminal defense attorney and an
eighteen-year member of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the
highest criminal court in the state. A 1949 Baylor University law grad
who also attended Baylor as an undergraduate, Clinton was born in 1923
in Waco, where he was raised.
Clinton worked in labor law for the Dallas firm Mullinax and Wells
before moving to Austin and opening his own practice in 1956. He made a
legal name for himself representing high-profile defendants, including
famous atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair when she moved to Austin. He also
had the guilty verdict of Jack Ruby, the Dallas bar owner who shot Lee
Harvey Oswald on national television, overturned based on procedural
errors. Ruby, meanwhile, had died of cancer while in prison.
Clinton was the general counsel for the Texas AFL/CIO and for the Texas
Civil Liberties Union. In the late 1960s, he won a lawsuit that
resulted in the desegregation of women’s dormitories at the University
of Texas. In Austin, Clinton served on the Historic Landmark Commission
and, with his law partner Dave Richards, occupied the first
historically zoned building in Austin.
Before going into private practice, Clinton had served as a naval
aviator in World War II, worked as an aide to Waco-based Congressman W.
R. (Bob) Poage, and was a field attorney for the National Labor
Relations Board and a fingerprint examiner for the FBI.
In 1978 he was elected to the Court of Criminal Appeals, and he won
re-election twice to subsequent six-year terms. During his time on the
court, he wrote 1,094 opinions, the second most of any justice on the
Clinton was no relation to his namesake, Sam Houston, but in his obituary in the Austin American-Statesman,
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Austin, a former Texas Supreme Court
justice, said Clinton lived up to the name. Doggett said, “On more than
one occasion, [Clinton] demonstrated the courage of his namesake. He
was a fine jurist, an outstanding lawyer, and a powerful voice for
progressive causes.” Clinton died in 2004 and is buried in the Texas
State Cemetery.—Meg Cullar
The words “evolve,” “powerful,” and “dream” are printed on the clothing
labels of a Jodi Arnold original design. They are words that Arnold has
lived by and that have helped her reach the pinnacle of the New York
As a young girl in Birmingham, Alabama, Arnold turned her hand to
sewing. “I just loved to make and wear clothes that were different from
other kids,” she said. After graduating from Baylor University in 1988
with a degree in home economics and fashion design, she moved to New
York City, where she worked as a pattern illustrator and assistant
designer for Danskin active wear.
But because she hadn’t attended one of the top design schools, such as
Parsons School of Design, she found it difficult to land design jobs.
So she went out on her own to create her own line. Taking inspiration
from, of all things, a cup of mint tea she had once drunk in Paris,
Arnold named her line “MINT,” which debuted in 1999. Arnold’s interest
in art and global culture led her to create pieces that featured unique
beadwork, embroidery, and inventive patterns.
In 2000, Arnold was given the Young Designer Award by the American
Cotton Council, which called her line “flirty and feminine, yet
grounded in classic styling but with a twist.” Her designs have been
worn by everyone from Cameron Diaz to Diane Sawyer and have appeared in
the pages of every major fashion magazine, as well as in People and In Style.
True to her clothing label, Arnold has continued to develop her own
style. In 2007, she launched a second, eponymous line for a more
sophisticated customer. “As a designer, I’ve evolved away from that
girly thing and still keep it feminine and whimsical, without being
cutesy,” she said. She has also broadened her range from
special-occasion pieces to clothing for every occasion—or for no
occasion at all.
While Arnold has a store in New York City, she lives in Brooklyn, she
said, because the warmth and lack of pretense there remind her of home.
“At the end of the day,” she said, “I just want to create clothes that
have a soul . . . an authenticity.”—Lisa Asher
Gil Stricklin is the founder and CEO of Marketplace Ministries, a
groundbreaking company that provides faith-based contract chaplains to
secular businesses nationwide. When the company was launched in 1984,
Stricklin was the only employee and chaplain. Marketplace Ministries
now has more than twenty-four hundred chaplains, and Stricklin still
serves as senior chaplain.
Stricklin took a leap of faith to start the company, offering a service
that nobody had ever considered before. In a 2004 publication
celebrating Marketplace Ministries, Stricklin said, “My vision was
simply to love people in the name of Christ and to show the attributes
of God through kindness and care in the workplace . . . so that people
could see something of God’s love in human flesh.”
A 1957 Baylor University business graduate, Stricklin went through
Baylor in the Air Force ROTC and was commissioned a second lieutenant
upon graduation. He spent thirty-seven years in active and reserve duty
as a chaplain in the Air Force and Army, retiring as a colonel. He
graduated from the National Defense University in national security and
the U.S. Army War College. Upon his retirement from the Army Chaplains
Corps in 1994, he was presented the Army Legion of Merit, one of the
highest peacetime medals given.
Stricklin said that the military prepared him for his current company.
“I learned how to be an evangelical Christian in a very secular
environment,” he said. “There is no more secular business in the world
than the military, no more mixture of ethnicity, religions, and
After active duty, Stricklin earned a BA in journalism from TCU and was religion editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
He earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southwestern
Baptist Theological Seminary, and for six years he was special
assistant for media relations for the evangelist Billy Graham. He then
spent fourteen years at the Baptist General Convention of Texas,
leaving in 1984 to begin Marketplace Ministries.
Stricklin is married to Ann March Stricklin, also a Baylor graduate, and their two sons both are Baylor graduates.—Meg Cullar
Hattie Brantley’s life took a dramatic turn when the Japanese attacked
and invaded the Philippine Islands in 1942, at the start of U.S.
involvement in World War II. A lieutenant and nurse in the U.S. Army,
Brantley was taken captive in the offensive. As a result, she became
one of a group of captured nurses whose actions during almost three
years of captivity would earn them the nickname “Angels of Bataan.”
The East Texas native, born in Jefferson in 1916, earned a nursing
degree from Baylor University in 1937. Stationed in the Philippines,
she was among the nurses who retreated from Manila to the Bataan
Peninsula in the face of the Japanese attack. They served in open-air
wards on Bataan before being ordered to retreat to the island fortress
of Corregidor, where they were stationed in the hospital wards located
in the underground tunnels during the Battle of Corregidor.
The Japanese eventually overwhelmed Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s forces,
taking Corregidor on May 6, 1942. Two months later, Brantley and
seventy-seven other nurses—the largest group of American women to be
taken captive by an enemy—were moved to prisons in and around Manila.
Imprisoned in the Santo Tomas prison camp until February 3, 1945, she
and her fellow nurses cared for the medical needs of more than four
thousand fellow prisoners despite dengue fever and a daily diet that
was reduced to seven hundred calories per prisoner by 1945. The average
nurse lost 30 percent of her body weight during the long imprisonment.
On the day the Santo Tomas camp was liberated during the Battle of
Manila, the prisoners hid in the hospital. Brantley once recalled that
when she heard a soldier call out, “Is there anybody here? We’re
Americans,” she responded, “What took you so long?” Upon their return
to the U.S., Brantley and the other Army nurses were awarded the Bronze
Star for valor and a Presidential Unit Citation for extraordinary
heroism in action.
“Like their male counterparts, these nurses faced the reality of
combat, anguish of surrender, and the brutality of captivity,” retired
Rear Admiral Frances Shea-Buckley of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps has
said. “Their story is one chapter in the annals of World War II that
must be told, if American men and women are to appreciate the depth of
sacrifices made by their countrymen and women in the cause of freedom.”
The Santo Tomas internment camp was featured in Ken Burns’s documentary
After twenty-eight years of service, Brantley retired from the military
in 1969 with the rank of lieutenant colonel and as the last of the
captured Army nurses to leave the service. In 2003, she was honored as
“Outstanding East Texas Nurse” in commemoration of National Nurses
Week. Brantley died in 2006 in her hometown of Jefferson.—Todd Copeland
Kevin Reynolds wants to make a rock-and-roll Western. You read that
right, a cowboy movie with a killer soundtrack, or as Reynolds has
described it, “Unforgiven with Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin music. I know that sounds really odd, but I know it can work.”
People in the movie business have learned that you don’t underestimate
Reynolds when he says something can work. The movie director and
screenwriter has helmed a few high-profile films, including Robin Hood: Princes of Thieves and Waterworld. But it’s with his smaller, more personal films—including the cult favorite Fandango—that Reynolds has carved out a niche on the silver screen.
Some people seem destined for Hollywood fame from almost their first
steps. Kevin Reynolds was not one of those people. The son of former
Baylor University president Dr. Herbert H. Reynolds, Kevin grew up
believing that writing and directing movies was too impractical. So
after earning a degree in history from Baylor in 1974, he entered
Baylor Law School, graduating in 1976.
Reynolds left Waco for Austin, where he practiced law in the Secretary
of State’s office and, for a creative outlet, took some film classes at
the University of Texas. “I started spending as much time making little
movies as I did practicing law,” he told the Baylor Line,
“so it was time to make a decision.” His decision was to quit his job,
move to Los Angeles, and attend film school at the University of
USC proved to be the right place for Reynolds; out of his classes there, he wrote a script that became the 1980s hit Red Dawn, and a short film was optioned by Steven Spielberg’s production company. That film, Fandango,
told the story of four college friends as they prepared to go their
separate ways. Based on Reynolds’s own Baylor friendships, the film
became a word-of-mouth classic.
That film would also cement the friendship between Reynolds and one of
its stars, Kevin Costner. Together, the two would collaborate on
several more movies, including the infamous Waterworld,
a film that cost upwards of $200 million to make and caused a rift
between the men that led to Reynolds walking away from the film before
post-production was finished.
Reynolds took a couple of years to regroup and, as he described it,
“restore my soul as a filmmaker.” His later projects, including 2001’s The Count of Monte Cristo and the 2006 version of Tristan & Isolde, were more modest productions, and they enjoyed success.
During a return trip to Austin in 2009 for the Austin Film Festival,
Reynolds spoke about his future plans, which include a project with
Richard Gere and even something with Costner, who he once again counts
as a friend. And what about that rock Western? Reynolds insists that
there’s an audience out there for it. “Because I think audiences want
to be surprised,” he says. “You want to see something you haven’t seen
Joseph E. Hawkins
Dr. Joseph E. Hawkins’s career as one of auditory science’s most
prominent figures was launched during his student days at Baylor
University. Five decades later, he returned full circle when he decided
to serve as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Biology at Baylor in
Born in 1914 in Waco, Hawkins was part of the Baylor family from the
start. His father was chair of Baylor’s Department of German, and his
mother also worked on campus. He learned German at a young age and
studied for a year in Munich, Germany, before enrolling in Baylor at
the age of sixteen. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1933
and spent the next year engaged in graduate study in chemistry and
biochemistry at Brown University before learning that he had been named
a Rhodes Scholar, becoming only the fourth Baylor graduate to have
achieved that honor at the time.
The three years Hawkins spent at Oxford University, where he completed
another bachelor’s degree in 1937, were followed by a position as a
teaching fellow at Harvard University Medical School, where he earned a
PhD in medical sciences in 1941. He later earned a master’s degree from
Oxford in 1966, and in 1979 he was awarded a Doctor of Science degree
from Oxford on the basis of his pioneering work on ototoxic vertigo and
Hawkins began to focus his research on the ear during his years at
Harvard. During World War II, he served as an instructor in physiology
at Harvard and conducted war-related research on the effects of intense
sound on the ear and the effect of noise on communication—studies that
refined the understanding of the anatomy and pathology of the inner
ear. He also developed tests of hearing for speech that are still
routinely used in audiological evaluation.
Hawkins once characterized his work over the years as having dealt
primarily with “bad things that happen to the ear,” and he pursued his
research at a variety of institutions—including the Merck Institute for
Therapeutic Research, New York University Medical School, and the
Sahlgrenska Hospital in Goteborg, Sweden—before joining the University
of Michigan and the school’s Kresge Hearing Research Institute in 1963.
To his earlier research in ototoxicity—the negative effect of certain
drugs on the ear—he added investigations of the deafening action of
noise, drugs, disease, and aging on animal and human ears.
Although he formally retired from Michigan’s medical school in 1984, he
still taught and conducted research there as a professor emeritus of
otorhinolaryngology (physiological acoustics) as well as teaching
undergraduate classes in anatomy at Baylor each spring from 1985 to
Hawkins’s honors included the Award of Merit from the Association for
Research in Otolaryngology, the Gold Medal for Basic Science of the
Prosper Meniere Society, and the medals of the cities of Pleven
(Bulgaria) and Bordeaux (France). He authored more than 115
publications on a variety of issues, including drug ototoxicity;
effects of noise on hearing; inner ear anatomy, physiology and
pathology; and psychoacoustics and audiology. He died at the age of
ninety-four in 2008 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.—Todd Copeland