By Savannah Cooper | Staff Writer
Being a Baylor Bear doesn’t end after receiving your diploma — it’s a life-long family that you’re a part of, and the class of 1967 is an example of that. On Friday, at the Bill Daniel Student Center, the class of 1967 had a 50-year homecoming reunion dinner.
The bears from the class of 1967 are coming together, nearly 200 members strong, to celebrate, unite and remember their time at Baylor. These Bears are coming from all over to gather Friday afternoon at their old stomping grounds. Since graduation, this class now lives in 38 states and eight countries.
Master of Ceremonies for the night and fellow ‘67 class member Jack Bookout is one of the main coordinators of the event and is looking forward to the dinner.
“It’ll be a good time because I think some who will be there have not been together for a long time,” Bookout said. “The last group that we had was about 35 to 40 people and this time, it will be close to 200, so I think it will be a good get together.”
Outside of remarkably hitting a 50-year milestone, this class has a unique quality that others don’t. This class included both Robert Gilbert and Barbara Walker who are Baylor’s first African-American male and female students.
The three-hour event kicked off with a class picture of all those present, followed by a brief introduction, announcements and a list of the activities to come throughout the evening.
Such activities were a greeting from Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone, singing the Baylor Line and a powerpoint presentation filled with pictures of class members of then and now. After the dinner, the best part of the night took place, the socialization of members who could come together and remember campus back in the Lyndon B. Johnson era.
Jan Dodd, the director of special events and programs, is responsible for planning all homecoming class reunion dinners, which are always hosted in Barfield. After reaching out to the class officers and sending out RSVPs in July, her involvement varies based on what the class members prefer.
“We are here to help them with whatever they need to do, but we don’t try to take over for them as far as planning the program goes,” Dodd said. “We let them do as much or as little as they would like. We’re more of just a support for them by supplying whatever they need.”
Working with such events for several years, Dodd has been able to see alumni come back to Baylor and be so excited to see campus after years, sometimes decades.
“Usually the reaction is that the folks are very excited and many of them have not returned to campus in 40 or 50 years, so they’re very excited to return and very excited to see their classmates,” Dodd said. “Many, like I said, haven’t been back to campus in a while and campus is so different from when they were here, they’re just amazed at everything and all the changes.”
Even though campus has grown and been updated, Dodd sees how Baylor really hasn’t changed at all.
“Baylor hasn’t changed, the campus may have, but the spirit is still here,” Dodd said.