In ResponseThen and Now
The BAA has come a long way in the last fifty years. I began working for Frances Provence, editor of the Baylor Line, in September 1959. My job was writing and editing the "Down the Years" class notes section of the magazine.
Our office was in an old, drafty building on South Eighth Street at
Waco Creek. We addressed and mailed the magazine using an old
addressograph machine. We hand-collated our mailings of twenty
thousand-plus copies. It would take us a week with all employees
working to get each mailing out.
We were happy and proud when we moved up in the world to the third
floor of the Student Union Building. No matter the setting, our goals
were the same ones—and they are same ones that you have today.
Mary Harrell Wetterman '63
Concerns for Future
I enjoyed reading the fall issue of the Baylor Line
concerning the great history of the BAA. However, I was surprised by
Baylor's disrespectful and demanding attitude toward the BAA during the
alumni association's attempt to fully celebrate its 150th anniversary.
Baylor's proposal that the BAA be integrated into the administration is
alarming. I am very concerned for the BAA's future, whether it is
dissolved into the administration in the immediate future or continues
to function independently.
Even if Baylor does not absorb the BAA immediately, I fear the
administration's negative attitude toward the BAA will cause the number
of the alumni association's members to dwindle in the future. I think
Baylor will hinder the BAA from advertising itself on campus and
capturing students' attention. When they become alumni, they will not
know the "whats and whys" of the BAA and its many resources and
Ken Durham '60
In his commentary on the current differences between the BAA and the Baylor administration and board ("Baylor Is Unique," Baylor Line News,
October 12, 2009), BAA executive vice president Jeff Kilgore wrote,
"There is one true fact that we can all agree on: Baylor University is
Then in the very next sentence, he kisses that uniqueness goodbye with
these words: "It is one of only a few institutions of higher education
that have maintained a strong Christian identity while becoming one of
the top 100 national doctoral-granting universities in the United
If Baylor is "one of only a few" in this regard, then it is not unique.
However, there is something more important than Baylor's "uniqueness"
in the BAA's defense of its independent status. Simply put, it is this:
Because Baylor prides itself on having a Christian identity, the
independence of the alumni association is even more utterly essential.
Religion being a completely subjective experience, alumni and friends
of the school who have a religious perspective, or no religious
perspective at all, will by definition want the university to tilt one
way or another. And the university's current leaders—administrators and
regents—look at the university through their religious perspective and
may want it to tilt one way or another.
If there were ever a school that needed, required, and was best served
by a completely independent alumni association capable of weaving its
way through a multitude of religious interpretations in determining how
best to support a university, that school would be Baylor. And that may
be the only truly unique way in which Baylor is "unlike anything else."
Hal C. Wingo '57, former Baylor regent
Santa Fe, New Mexico