By Paula Ann Solis
Baylor has dominated Texas Christian University in more than just football.
After the first Baylor vs. TCU Young Alumni Challenge, Baylor graduates from the class 2003 to 2013 donated $131,575 more than young horned frog graduates in what was dubbed the I-35 Battle Royale.
“We’re happy with the final results,” said Derek Stephens, a 2004 Baylor graduate and director of future alumni, young grads and social/global outreach. “It’s been great to see our alumni rise up and give back to the university in a neat and innovative way.”
The new annual competition started four weeks before the Baylor vs. TCU football game, according to the Young Alumni Challenge’s website. It began Oct. 25 and ended Nov. 30 after the Baylor bears defeated the horned frogs 41 to 38 in Fort Worth. The goal for each university was to be as close as possible to 10 percent donor participation by young alumni.
Young alumni, Stephens said, includes anyone who has graduated within the last ten years. As a young alumni himself, Stephens said he too donated to the competition making total Baylor alumni participation 1,315.
Baylor fulfilled 49 percent of its goal while TCU, with 687 alumni participants, reached 40 percent.
Funds were collected using the usual telephone donations but a novel method this year incorporated football watch parties, Stephens said. Alumni all over the country gathered at their respective cities to watch the game with fellow alumni and donated using their smartphones, tablets and laptops at halftime.
Stephens said the biggest watch party was during the Oklahoma University vs. Baylor matchup in which 30 different cities from New York to San Diego participated.
To assure Baylor’s success in future alumni donor competitions, Allan Marshall, a 2007 Baylor graduate and director of foundation development, said the young alumni community must remain engaged by keeping up with the alumni network website www.baylor.edu/alumni/network/.
“The great thing about this particular effort was the significant amount of first time donors in terms of young alumni,” Marshall said. “It is unprecedented the kind of energy that our young alums contain.”
According to the Baylor media release, 576 young alumni made their first financial gifts to Baylor during this competition.
Marshall said he thinks the young alumni can do much better during next year’s competition.
What may surprise many people, Marshall said, is most of the monetary gifts by the young Baylor alumni were not given to the athletic department but were put toward scholarships and excellence funds for different academic units. Marshall said this phenomenon was due in large part to the attention garnered by the successful athletic department.
Plans for the second annual Baylor vs. TCU Young Alumni Challenge are underway right now, Stephens said. After winning by almost 10 percent, Stephens said the goal for next year is unclear right now but he said he is certain they will be successful again.
“We know we can do it and that our young alumni want to give,” Stephens said. “We’ll have some more discussions about what next year will look like but we are excited to get things going again.”
Information about this year’s final results and plans for next years head-to-head matchup can be found at www.baylor.edu/battleroyale.