That good old Baylor dollar: Family passes down special dollar for generations

Photo courtesy of Jada Stockemer

By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer

One fall day in 1952, Gwen Beard picked up a dollar bill in front of Kokernot Hall. Little did she know that dollar bill would be passed down for generations in her family.

The bill contained a note — “This dollar bill contains no germs. After all, what can live on a dollar these days?”

The interesting note, along with the fact that a dollar bill was worth much more at that time, made the incident one to remember for Beard. She decided to save the dollar bill as a keepsake.

Beard never spent the dollar, but passed it on to her cousin Marcia, a Golden Girl at Baylor in the ’60s. Marcia then framed the bill and passed it on to Beard’s son Ralph Stockemer, who played football for Baylor in the ’80s.

Ralph Stockemer’s daughter and Dallas freshman Jada Stockemer is now in possession of the framed dollar bill, which contains notes from those who owned it before her. As Jada begins her freshman year at Baylor, she expresses appreciation for the significance this tradition holds for her family.

“It’s really important to me because my whole life, it’s always been about Baylor,” Jada said. “I grew up here in a way. I always knew about the dollar bill and how I would get it when I get into the school, so it’s a big accomplishment to finally have this dollar bill that they’ve told me about my whole life.”

The dollar bill now resides in Jada’s dorm room, where it is hung up and framed. Notes have been left on the frame by everyone who previously owned the dollar, all containing the original story of how the bill was found and passed down, and the same ending- “May your days be blessed with God’s guidance and the Good Old Baylor Line!”

Jada plans to keep the dollar within the family, and hopefully pass it down to one of her own children if they attend Baylor.

Ralph Stockemer owned the dollar bill before handing it off to Jada, he said he is thrilled to see her begin her journey at a school that has been so significant for his family.

“It’s exciting and gratifying — I get to live vicariously through her,” Ralph Stockemer said. “She’ll get to participate in more activities than I ever could have imagined.”

Jada is equally as excited about jumping into activities and traditions at Baylor, especially after hearing about her family’s favorite stories and on-campus spots.

“My family always talks about Dr. Pepper Hour and going to the SUB,” Jada said. “It’s so cool to finally get here and do all the things they’ve told me about.”

Ralph Stockemer said he loved his time playing football for the Bears, and reflected on advice he wished he had received as a Baylor freshman.

“Plug in to everything you can do from an activities standpoint,” Ralph Stockemer said. “Find what your niche is on campus, because these could be the best years of your life.”