By Lizzie Thomas | Staff Writer
Alumni make the trek back home to Baylor from all over the country — or just across town — for a variety of traditions and nostalgic experiences.
Members of the Baylor family enjoy different parts of the Baylor Homecoming weekend experience. However, many students and faculty have struggled with having Baylor pride as sexual assault lawsuits and Big 12 fines due to administrative negligence loom in the background, and the university attempts to move past it.
Emily Times, ’18, described coming into Baylor as an idealistic freshman before all the news about Baylor’s mishandling of accusations hit in 2016, but leaving Baylor with a more realistic worldview. She said she appreciates the honest conversations and solidarity alumni have.
“Half the battle is the conversation and acknowledging what we’ve done wrong. It’s frustrating sometimes that Baylor seems to own up to some of it, but not all of it,” Times said.
Edmund, Okla., senior Ada Ughanze has found that she can be proud of the Baylor community even with the shadow of the scandals over the past few years.
“As soon as Linda [Livingstone] got hired, I feel like we returned to being a college, not just about football,” Ughanze said. “There’s a lack of focus about how great of a place Baylor is and more on finding community. I feel like now people are coming to Baylor because they believe the values and want the community Baylor has. Here you get a balance of academics and community.”
Even with realistic perspectives, alumni come to Baylor Homecoming to celebrate Baylor and support the Baylor family. Times said her favorite thing to do over homecoming weekend is going to the bonfire, even with all the people and, many times, less than wonderful weather.
“The bonfire in itself is always super exciting for me,” Times said.
Sydney Nichols, ’18, said she looks forward to the homecoming parade family traditions.
“One of my favorite parts of homecoming traditions is watching the parade with my family from the roof of Dichotomy,” Nichols said. “My mom makes breakfast burritos every year.”
Cara Key, class of ’96, comes from a long line of Baylor grads. Her family has been coming to Baylor Homecoming for generations. Her parents, Deana Mattingly Blackburn, ’70, and Bill Blackburn, ’68, and grandfather, Burt Mattingly, ’39, started the tradition of watching the parade in front of Martin Hall.
“For me, it’s mostly about seeing people. Our tradition is standing in front of the same place every year, with our parents and then our friends,” Key said.
Key knows several other families who come and say hello at the Key’s spot and have traditional spots of their own to watch from. The common feeling of support and celebration for Baylor and the special wonder for traditions that unify and go back generations draw them together.