By Linda Wilkins
Baylor honored Dallas residents John and Marie Chiles with the 2011 Baylor Founders Medal for their generosity Monday. President Ken Starr spoke at the celebrations, which were held during Chapel sessions.
Starr called the Chileses “visionaries” for Baylor.
“The Chileses are a powerful example of the Baylor faithful who fling the green and gold afar,” Starr said.
He described the life of Baylor graduate John Chiles, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business in 1950 and his law degree in 1952.
While at Baylor, Chiles was president of the Baylor Chamber of Commerce, and he was also a resident at Brooks College. After graduating from Baylor, Chiles joined the U.S. Air Force, where he met his wife, Marie.
After leaving the Air Force, he was an attorney with Humble Oil and Refining, Co., which later became ExxonMobile, Starr said.
Marie Chiles was an officer in the U.S. Air Force, and she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Chatham University. Starr said after Marie left the U.S. Air Force, she became a “full-time volunteer.” Starr said Chiles is “happily” a Baylor alumna-by-choice, since she married a Baylor graduate.
Starr said the couple has donated to the Mayborn Museum Complex and the Louise Herrington School of Nursing in recent years.
Their donations to the school have included high-fidelity simulators, which are representations of human bodies and help educate nurses with hands-on experiences.
“The Chileses embody the spirit of giving,” Starr said.
Dr. Ellie Caston, the director of the Frank and Sue Mayborn Natural Science and Cultural History Museum Complex, said the couple is always willing and open to help with whatever Baylor needs.
Although unable to attend the celebration, she shared her appreciation for the Chileses in a video that was played at the celebration. Caston said she is thankful for what the couple has done over the years for the museum.
The Chileses founded the Strecker Associates, which was the original support organization for the museum.
The Chileses “are very generous supporters of many aspects of the museum, law school and the nursing school,” Trey Crumpton, the village manager of the Mayborn Museum, said. “The Mayborn Museum Complex would not be a reality without the Chileses and other supporters.”
The Chileses are also involved with various other groups, such as Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas and Crime Stoppers of Waco, Starr said.
“The people who are happiest are the ones who give most generously,” Starr said.
He said it is important for students to establish a spirit of giving for later in life, and encouraged the students present at the celebration to ask themselves, “What am I going to do?”
Current and former Baylor regents were in attendance, as well as Mary McCall and Joy Reynolds, both former first ladies of Baylor.