By Kate McGuire
Making a difference in the world is a small accomplishment for those honored at Baylor Alumni Association Hall of Fame.
Last week the Baylor Alumni Association held their third annual Hall of Fame ceremony, where they honored countless alumni for their impact on Baylor and the world around them.
Instead of giving out the awards separately, like the BAA has done in the past, they have held a Hall of Fame these last three years.
“We wanted one huge banquet and everyone was very receptive of that,” said Judge Elizabeth Coker, BAA president.
Robert Griffin III was absent because he was recovering from his torn ACL injury but was given the Distinguished Baylor Black Alumni Award. The award is only three years old, and Griffin is the youngest recipient. The president of the Baylor Black Alumni Club, Marie Brown, presented the award, which was then received by his mother’s friends.
“Robert always said, ‘No pressure, no diamonds.’ He always kept focused, he was a very positive person. He knew that God was in control,” said Alice Brown, friend of Griffin’s mother.
“He exemplified hard work. He made an impact in every facet here. I’ve seen how his impact has grown so fast,” Joannie Shedrick, friend of Griffin’s mother, said.
The Distinguished Alumni Award, the most prestigious of all the awards, was given to James R. Daniel, ’62, Jennifer Hilton Sampson, ’92, and Nick Strimple, ’69.
According to the BAA Hall of Fame program, this award recognizes those whose service in their careers merit honor and acclaim through their peers and colleagues.
Daniel, Vice Chairman of BancFirst Co., has worked on numerous projects for Baylor as well as in his own career with medical health care providers.
“Baylor will teach you more than how to make a living, it will teach you how to make a life,” he said in his acceptance speech.
The second honoree was Sampson, the first female and youngest person to become the president and CFO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.
The last recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award was Strimple. Strimple is the associate professor of choral and sacred music at the University of Southern California. While in Prague as a guest conductor, he fell in love with Holocaust music and has since found a love for its melody. He was presented this award by the former Ambassador to Sweden, Lyndon L. Olson.
The Nelson-Dudley-Boulet Family received the First Families of Baylor Award. They have sent six generations of 28 family members to Baylor, with the most recent family graduating in 2005. “We stand on the shoulders of those who have come before. Tonight I thank those,” Jim Nelson, ‘68, J.D. ‘75 said.
Lori Thompson Coulter, ‘97, and Kellie Key Fischer, ‘95, received the Herbert H. Reynolds award. This award is given to alumni under 40 years old who have distinguished themselves in their fields.
“Baylor has always been welcoming to me. I bow my head to the mention of its name,” Dr. Brian McCall, ’81, chancellor for the Texas State University System, said. He received the Price Daniel Distinguished Public Service Award.
Other awards include the George W. Truett Distinguished Church Service Award presented to Joel T. Allison, ’70, president and CFO of the Baylor Health Care System, the Abner V. McCall Humanitarian Award and the Abner V. McCall Religious Liberty Award were presented to Dr. John Wood, ’53, and J. Brent Walker.
While the night was filled with celebration, a common theme seemed to resonate with all the awardees as Hilton Sampson said, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. There will be bumps in the road. Look at those bumps and growl at them like a bear.”