By Tyler Bui | Staff Writer
The Alumni Golden Grad event celebrated the 50-year reunion of the class of 1969, and gave the Baylor alumni a chance to reunite at the start of homecoming.
Heather Beck, director of alumni traditions at Baylor, said the purpose of the Golden Grad Reunion was to reconnect and celebrate the class of 1969.
“So many of our alumni have such an incredible Baylor experience, and it’s nice to see how excited they get to come back and relive some memories, and reconnect with old friends,” Beck said. “[It’s] really just to provide an opportunity for the class of 1969 to come back for their 50th reunion to celebrate them— their legacy that they created at Baylor, their achievements that they’ve made since, and provide a wonderful kickoff to the homecoming weekend.”
Beck said that it’s important to celebrate and remember one’s college experience, and that Homecoming and other class reunions provide an opportunity to do so.
“It’s important to relive these magical experiences—college is such a pivotal part of a person’s growth, and a lot of times is one of the best parts of someone’s life. To come back here really makes you feel more connected to who you became when you were at college,” Beck said.
The class of 1969 reflected on its favorite moments and memories made during its time as Baylor students.
Sue Steakley, class of 1969, said she has returned to Baylor every year for homecoming and class reunions.
“I’ve come every year. My daughter went here and met her husband here, and now my granddaughter is a freshman here,” Steakley said. “It’s so exciting to carry on the family traditions. We all bleed green and gold for sure.”
Steakley said her daughter and granddaughter lived in the same room that she did during her freshman year at Baylor in 1965.
“My daughter, my granddaughter and I all lived in 115 Collins in the same exact room,” Steakley said. “It’s so fun because I don’t know anyone else who can say they had three generations in the same dorm room.”
Steakley said she loves every aspect of homecoming and the traditions that are special to Baylor.
“Everything . . . it’s just awesome. The excitement, the electricity in the air— it’s just unlike anyplace else,” Steakley said.
Nancy Matus, class of 1969, said she has never left Baylor since graduation, and that she enjoys bonding with classmates through shared memories.
“My favorite part about homecoming is reconnecting and seeing my friends,” Matus said. “Even seeing people that were here that I didn’t know—we still have that common bond even if we didn’t know each other back then. We can come together tonight as friends and compare what it was like [at Baylor.]”
Tom McCann, a graduate of the class of 1969, said he has sent his three daughters to Baylor.
“My family is made of generations of Baptists; we wouldn’t have it any other way,” McCann said. “We have three daughters and sent all three of them to Baylor.”
McCann said he enjoyed being a part of the Taurus Society, and still stays in touch with many of his brothers.
“My most memorable moments were the times I spent as a member of the Taurus Society, which is now [Beta Theta Pi,]” McCann said. “I made some dear, lifelong friends and stay in touch with a lot of them to this day. I wouldn’t trade anything for my years at Baylor.”
Roland and Patricia Nail, class of 1969, said they met by chance on Austin Avenue after an evening basketball game.
“My girlfriend and I had just put our sewing up for the night and decided to get some hot chocolate,” Patricia Nail said. “We’re driving down Austin Avenue, and there was no one else except for his car and mine. So we’re driving down Austin Avenue right next to each other—I’m talking to him, and he’s talking to me through the window, and the rest is history. We’ve been married nearly 50 years.”
They both said they enjoyed every moment of their four years at Baylor and have been returning for Homecoming and basketball games ever since they graduated.
“I just loved being here. I loved the surroundings and atmosphere, and I am so glad I got to go to Baylor,” Patricia Nail said.