Story by Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer, Video by Emma Whitaker | Broadcast Reporter
Homecoming weekend is an important moment for many in the Baylor community, but proved to be particularly special this year for the Baylor class of 1958, who celebrated their 60th class anniversary.
The alumni celebrated this reunion with a dinner at the Baylor Club at McLane Stadium on Friday evening, as well as with some members who walked and rode in Saturday’s homecoming parade. A few members held a banner with the class motto “We’re the greatest of the great, we’re the class of ’58, and others rode in a 1969 Ford convertible and a golf cart.
Ann March Stricklin has been involved in organizing class reunions for the past 60 years and serves as secretary for the class of 1958 permanent officer position. Stricklin sees the class of 1958 as a particularly close group and one that has stayed connected through the years.
“This has been a thrill,” Stricklin said. “I love seeing and visiting with everybody, as well as renewing old friendships. When we were here, we all lived in dorms, and we didn’t have cars or cellphones. We all stayed on campus and knew each other, which gave us a real feeling of family.”
Baylor has played an important role in Stricklin’s life since she was a child, and she appreciates how Baylor is part of her family history.
“Our grandchildren who were students here are fifth-generation Baylor Bears,” Stricklin said. “My grandfather came, my parents went here, my husband and I met here, our sons went here and now our two grandchildren have graduated and one is a senior. It’s a huge part of our family legacy.”
Stricklin said Baylor introduced her to her husband and many close friendships in her life, and that homecoming weekend holds special meaning for her.
“I wouldn’t have known my husband if it hadn’t been for Baylor,” Stricklin said. “We met here, and the day I graduated from Baylor on May 23, 1958, we got married at First Baptist Church in Waco. I promised my parents I wouldn’t get married until I graduated. There’s so many great traditions at the school — I’ve been coming to homecoming since I was a little girl, as my father taught at the law school here.”
Stricklin serves as a permanent class officer with Calvin McKaig, who serves as president. The two maintain a friendship to this day.
“Our class has always been really good about coming back to reunions,” McKaig said. “It’s good to see everyone and our class is full of wonderful people.”
McKaig appreciates Baylor for its traditions and has been able to reflect on his time at Baylor since returning for the reunion.
“I absolutely love the bonfire,” McKaig said. “I also liked Pigskin and All-University Sing. We used to go up there and just sing, and now it’s progressed to a huge show. There also used to be a lot of rivalry with Texas A&M, which was fun as well.”
Bill Crocker served as student body president at Baylor in 1958 and enjoyed the opportunity to see and reunite with old classmates. He also rode in Saturday’s parade.
“Being elected president was a big surprise to me, but a wonderful experience. I practiced law, and it was a great foundation for that,” Crocker said. “I love seeing old friends here — we had a lot of closeness as a class and Baylor was small enough where most people knew each other.”
Crocker’s oldest grandchild is a freshman at Baylor and is a third-generation Bear within the family.
“I was here when my granddaughter checked in to the dorms, and it brought back lots of old memories,” Crocker said. “My daughter went here as well, so it’s third generation now for us.”
Jerry Marcontell is a member of the Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame, and was co-captain of the 1957 football team that won the Sugar Bowl. He switched his major to pre-med senior year, ultimately working in the medical field for over 30 years.
“I’ve actually been in the parade before twice — once as a distinguished alumnus and the other time as a member of the Hall of Fame,” Marcontell said. “I think the era of our time in college led to the class becoming close. The ’50s was a time when cohesiveness was big, and we all depended on each other.”
Marcontell appreciates how much Baylor has grown and progressed and enjoys seeing new additions made to the campus.
“Over the years, I’ve never ceased to be amazed at Baylor — it continues to get bigger and better,” Marcontell said. “It’s a wonderful school and has so many new buildings and amenities. Two of my granddaughters are here at Baylor as well.”
Sherry Boyd Castello served as editor-in-chief of The Baylor Lariat in 1958, and her husband was a photographer for the Lariat during that time as well.
“I loved being editor of the Lariat for spring quarter,” Castello said. “We were printed at the Baylor press, and our first jobs were as night editors to make sure it got on the press. We stayed until that was finished and copies came out and would be in the dorms by midnight.”
Castello continued her involvement in journalism after graduation, writing for several Baylor-related publications.
“The Lariat was a good paper — it wasn’t big but was very functional, and we did a big homecoming edition,” Castello said. “I taught some journalism, and in 1968, 10 years after graduation, I was editor of the Baylor Line. I did that from 1968 to 1995.”
Castello appreciated the reunion as a chance to reunite with old friends, particularly her college roommate for over a year. She said that events at Baylor united and continue to unite the school community.
“I was surprised at how many people I recognized — it’s been 60 years, which is amazing,” Castello said. “The way Baylor was in our day kept our class connected. We had only around 1,000 in our class, and we had lots of shared events. Baylor was and still is an amazing place.”