Viewpoint: McLane name suitable for new stadium

Nico Zulli | 2014 Spring Reporter
Nico Zulli | 2014 Spring Reporter
By Nico Zulli

Baylor Stadium or McLane Stadium, the name attached to our new football field should not be the center of a debate on whether to ‘thank’ the McLane family.

As an observer sitting in the Student Senate meeting last Thursday, I was confounded as senior student senator Trenton Garza explained students’ view on this move to be somewhat “controversial” on the part of our university regents. Garza essentially argued that the bill, “thanking” the McLane family for their generous donation by using the McLane moniker on the stadium, should not be passed because the use of his namesake was not a condition of the McLane family’s philanthropic deed.

He also said many students were upset about the name change, and Garza believed that “thanking” or acknowledging McLane and his family in a manner which they did not designate or request could be somewhat inappropriate.

His con was followed by a pro from the bill’s author, internal vice president cabinet member and public relations chair Lawren Kinghorn:

“I respect and understand the opinions of the senators on this matter, but I choose to stand by my bill. I think the McLane family deserves to be ‘thanked’ [acknowledged by naming the stadium after them] on behalf of Student Senate for their generous gift to the Baylor community,” she said.

After hearing this debate, I felt compelled to share some thought on the subject in this column.

Drayton McLane Jr. and his family are visionaries. The McLane family has been humbly donating to our university for decades.

The amount of money that they so generously donated toward our new stadium, more than $20 million, was not only the largest single gift in Baylor history, but an act of giving that will forever represent what it truly means to be a Baylor Bear — a servant-leader who champions shared aims with humility and generosity of spirit.

Though Drayton McLane initially requested the stadium be named a traditional Baylor Stadium and join the likes of other college stadiums around the nation that boasts conventional names like Aggie Memorial Stadium, Arizona Stadium, California Stadium, Georgia Dome, and Michigan Stadium, I believe the regents’ request to name the stadium McLane Stadium was as thoughtful as it was strategic.

I believe the board of regents got it right when it identified the potential positive impact the McLane name would have far beyond the monetary value of the gift. Unlike most collegiate stadium names, Baylor’s McLane Stadium runs deep with significance.

Drayton McLane’s name embodies, on a national stage, the mission of our institution — “to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.”

Lead by example: That’s Drayton McLane. Why would we miss an opportunity to showcase a magnanimous individual who is part of the very fabric of not only our state, but of our community and our university heritage?

Who you surround yourself with, where you elect to spend your time and what you choose to spend your money on defines who you are and what you value. The McLane family values Baylor.

They continue to make investments in our future. And for that, we should be proud to cheer for our team inside of a stadium that represents who we are as a community, and with an esteemed mentor like Drayton McLane, who we could be as individuals.

So, as the Student Senate brings forward issues voiced by students of the Baylor community, let us take a step back and reassess our perspectives as a whole on this stadium name change.

There is no question that the McLane family deserves all of the “thanks” we could possibly bestow on them. And may we all hope to one day be fortunate enough to be able to demonstrate, in our own way, our deep love for Baylor Nation and all those who follow.

Nico Zulli is a senior journalism major from Houston. She is a reporter for The Lariat