The last time you saw a friend from another Texas university, or any other university for that matter, did you strike the Heisman pose? Maybe you asked that friend to toss you something just so you could swat it back into his or her face and yell, “Griner!”
It hasn’t been hard to live in the moment at Baylor this year. Just look at the two billboards that greet drivers headed north on I-35 past campus — it’s nice to have the nation’s best football and women’s basketball players in the country.
For the record, a Heisman finalist and basketball national player of the year at Baylor have only happened two other times since 1961.
Athletics not your thing? No worries — Baylor’s never had a more academically accomplished . . .
In the 10 years since the university adopted an ambitious new vision outlined in the “Baylor 2012” initiative, the university’s new capital investments in research and residential facilities have coincided with consistent annual increases in the cost of a Baylor education.
The university, upon adopting the strategic plan in 2002, sought to decrease overall class sizes, increase on-campus residential capacity, hire more Christian faculty with expertise in research, build new academic and research facilities, and raise more money for endowed student scholarships . . .
Being Baylor’s first lady can be a serious job, but at times it can also mean dealing with unexpected, and in retrospect, comical, events.
Last month, a group of women in the Baylor community brought together four wives of Baylor presidents, past and present, to give a candid take on their husbands’ administrations and the role of a first lady in university life.
The Baylor Round Table, which is composed of female faculty and administrators and wives of faculty and administrators, invited Alice Starr, Diana Garland, Sue Sloan and Mary McCall to speak March 21 at its spring luncheon titled “Through the Years with Baylor’s First Ladies.”
The speakers were the current first lady (wife of President Ken Starr) and the first ladies during the presidencies of interim president Dr. David Garland (2008 to 2010), Dr. Robert Sloan (1995 to 2005) and Abner McCall (1961 to 1981), respectively . . .
Her booming voice can be heard all the way across Collins’ dining hall. She always wears her hair in a ponytail and greets students she knows with a friendly hug and a kiss on the cheek. Unafraid to speak her mind, students count on this woman for her honest opinion. She influences students’ choices inside the cafeteria and out.
Dining at Collins Café becomes a different experience with Supervisor Pamela Davis-Silmon. Students who know her well call her “Mama Pam.”
Davis-Silmon has been working for Aramark at Collins for nine years. She started out in the dish room and worked her way up to her current position as supervisor of the front of the house.
“There really hasn’t been much change at Baylor, but I think that’s what’s good for them,” Davis-Silmon said. “Decor changes, but the friendly service stays the same.” . . .
One Baylor professor and bowling instructor will celebrate his 90th birthday on May 1.
Dr. Ted Powers, professor emeritus of health, human performance and recreation (HHPR), has been teaching at Baylor for more than half a century.
“I think my first paycheck was for February of 1954,” he said.
Today, Powers teaches a class about principles and philosophy of HHPR and instructs bowling classes.
He said his secret to staying healthy and physically fit is “just keep on living.”
“I’ve always been a disciple of exercise and fitness,” he said. “I ride a stationary bike and walk my treadmill every day now, but I used to do a lot more than that.”
Vision problems keep him from bowling now, but he said he still enjoys teaching it . . .
Many school traditions start freshman year at Baylor, such as Line Camp, Welcome Week, learning the stories of the Immortal Ten and running the Baylor Line with a line jersey and slime cap. Some traditions, however, start long before students even think about applying to college. Some Baylor students are born into Baylor families.
Two Baylor students, Houston siblings Clark and Arden McCormack, are examples of just that. Their older brothers, Wes and Brandal, their parents, Gretchen Ryals McCormack and Sandy McCormack, and their maternal grandmother, Terry Terracino Ryals Newkirk, all attended Baylor.
The McCormack siblings’ aunt, Jennifer Ryals Ramsey, graduated from Baylor as well, and Jennifer’s daughters (their cousins), Mallory and Meredith are both juniors at Baylor.
To top it off, Clark and Arden’s paternal grandmother also attended Baylor. Clark is a junior and Arden is a freshman.
Their mother, Gretchen, remembers being raised in a Baylor household, even though it was only the alma mater of one parent . . .
Names marked with * have been changed for security purposes
The day after her graduation from Baylor in May 1971, Annie Singer* walked out of Miller Chapel hand-in-hand with her new groom to the tune of “Now Thank We All Our God.”
Annie and her husband, George*, first met in the Baylor University Golden Wave Band before fall classes commenced in the late summer of 1967. George was a sophomore music theory major from Kentucky who played the trombone, and Annie was an incoming freshman music education major from Louisiana who played the flute.
“One evening after band practice, Annie wanted a tour of the campus,” George said. “After that, we met a lot of evenings just to talk.”
George said he was short on cash in college and did not own a car, so he and Annie took advantage of free concerts and sporting events during their time together at Baylor.
“The long band trips were really good for us,” George said, speaking of how his relationship with Annie developed.
Four years later, the couple found themselves committing their lives to one another before God in a green and gold Baylor-themed wedding.
In 1976, many groups made move to national affiliation
Baylor Greek Life has changed substantially since its early days, with national affiliations providing opportunities for networking and growth.
Becoming part of a national Greek organization was a big decision for many local organizations on campus in the 1976-1977 school year, when national Greek organizations came to Baylor and made presentations about their groups.
The local organizations voted on whether to join . . .
Finding a Greek council to sponsor their organization was an obstacle for the five original women of the Nu Iota chapter of Zeta Phi Beta.
“After being turned down membership into [the Panhellenic Council], they decided to turn this negative experience into something positive and become the leaders they knew they were,” Connie Green, Zeta Phi Beta president, said.
On Nov. 2, 1979, the women received the charter for their group, which became the first of seven National Pan-Hellenic Council groups chartered at Baylor. The council represents nine historically African American fraternities and sororities.
“A major goal for the Zeta women was to build relationships not only with NPHC members, but with members in all councils,” she said.
Green said she takes pride in striving for that unity . . .
The rattle of a ball bearing in a steel spray paint can, a sharp hiss and laughter — then you see them, NoZe brothers fresh from some new act of “campus beautification.”
Their faces obscured by fake glasses and beards, or maybe just a mustache and long hair — but always wearing their iconic noses — the Noble NoZe Brotherhood has been a fixture on Baylor campus for nearly a century.
Lately, however, the NoZe Brothers haven’t been in the media spotlight as much. When honorarily inducting head women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey and the Lady Bears into the NoZe Brotherhood at the official celebration of their national championship win, someone had to explain to the confused athletes who the NoZe Brothers were.
Recently, the Lariat had an opportunity to find out more about the secretive group. Three of the NoZe Brothers — Bro. Burlington NoZe Factory, Bro. Edgar Allen NoZe and Bro. Bear NoZecessities — agreed to answer questions about the brotherhood, its history and the recent absence of large-scale mischief.
The brother’s answers, laced with half-serious threats of bodily harm and interrupted by inane conversations with passersby, were initially a retelling of what’s written on their Wikipedia page — which the brothers endorsed as mostly accurate.
The organization is led by the Lorde Mayor, who is elected and impeached every year. This year, the title fell to Bro. Burlington NoZe Factory, who admitted . . .
The past two years have been full of success for Baylor’s athletic programs, but there has also been uncertainty regarding Baylor’s conference affiliation.
Ian McCaw, Baylor director of athletics, said conference affiliation is important not only for athletics but for many aspects of the university, including donor relations and future student applications.
“In my view, Baylor being in the Big 12 is one of the university’s greatest assets,” McCaw said. “It brings significant national exposure and a platform for competition in national sports.”
Despite its national profile, the Big 12 has faced some uncertainty the last two years.
It began in June 2010 when the University of Colorado left the Big 12 to join the Pacific 10 (now Pacific 12) Conference and the University of Nebraska left to join the Big Ten.
There were reports that the University Texas and other Big 12 schools, possibly including Baylor, received offers to join the Pacific 10, but the University of Texas decided to stay in the Big 12, with the other schools following suit.
Then, in August 2011, the University of Missouri . . .
It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times.
But that was then.
Students and fans can celebrated the best of times with junior quarterback Robert Griffin III’s Heisman victory and the overall success of Baylor football. Alumni, moreover, can look back at how Baylor football performed during their years and be even more thankful.
“This is just unbelievable,” said Russell Trippet, class of 1977. “This is the proudest I’ve ever been of Baylor. Can’t imagine it getting better than this. It’s worth all the down times.”
Trippet said he grew up in Waco and started going to Baylor games when he was 5 years old, more than 50 years ago. His father was a team doctor, and Trippet would sit on the sidelines. He was in New York when the Heisman winner was announced.
“I just went crazy,” he said. “We were at the Baylor network dinner. Everybody went nuts. There were 100 alumni in the room.”
Trippet was not the only Bear outside Texas with a celebration story . . .