Baylor alumna to walk stage 38 years after her graduation

By Tyler Bui | Staff Writer, Video by Igor Stepczynski | Broadcast Reporter

Lacy Schneider O’Connor, class of 1981, will walk at commencement alongside her nephew in December, 38 years after her graduation from Baylor.

Scneider O’Connor has known Spring senior John Crichton since he was born, and they consider each other to be Aunt and nephew. She attended Baylor from 1977 to 1980 but was unable to walk at her graduation.

“I consider her just part of the family. I love my aunt so much,” Crichton said. “I’ve known her my entire life, and ever since my cousins were little, I’ve helped raise them—babysitting, hanging out with them or just going to family events together. We’re a really close family.”

With Crichton preparing to graduate in December, Schneider O’Connor took the opportunity to reach out to Baylor and see if she could finally walk the stage 39 years later.

“I’ve been waiting a long time to be able to do it; I’m very excited. I very much regret that I didn’t do it when I should have. I still can’t believe that it’s going to happen. I bought my cap and gown when I was in Waco the other day,” Schneider O’Connor said. “I should have graduated in May 1981, but at the time they didn’t have commencement in December, and I would have had to come back in May. At the time, it wasn’t economically possible for me.”

Schneider O’Connor said she was overwhelmed with the support and excitement that Baylor responded with when she asked if she could walk the stage with her nephew.

“I sent an email one morning around 10 a.m., then I went to go run errands,” Schneider O’Connor said. “By 11:30 a.m., the first email had come back saying, ‘Absolutely,’ and it was forwarded on. The second email was less than an hour later saying, ‘Absolutely, we would be honored for you to come back and walk across the stage.’ This whole thing happened within two hours while I was out running errands. I started crying when I read these emails to [my family,] because it’s an emotional thing to have waited this long.”

Schneider O’Connor was a double major in accounting and marketing and was a member of the first pledge class of Zeta Tau Alpha. After graduating from Baylor, she spent 25 years working at J.P. Morgan before taking an early retirement.

Today, she owns a pest control company with her husband, volunteers and spends her free time with her family.

Crichton said that he and his aunt are very close and have a special connection in their families because they are the only two that attended Baylor.

“She’s a very outgoing person—very easy to talk to, very charismatic,” Crichton said. “She’s a very smart lady with a big personality. I love talking to her; she’s one of those people who you meet and you’re instantly friends with.”

He said one of his favorite memories with his aunt is their shared love for Baylor’s All-University Sing.

“Since coming to Baylor and joining a fraternity, I’ve been the Sing chair for my fraternity for the past couple of years,” Crichton said. “Every year, my aunt has come to Sing. She loves to see all the hard work I’ve put into the act finally coming together on stage and seeing her own sorority on stage too.”

Both Schneider O’Connor and Crichton said this opportunity that Baylor has given them is surreal.

“It’s unbelievable. I’m so happy that she’s able to walk with me at graduation,” Crichton said. “After all these years that she wasn’t able to have this experience, and with how much Baylor has grown since, then it will be an even bigger experience for her. We’re the only two Baylor people in the family, so it makes it even more exciting for me to graduate.”

Looking forward to their shared moment at commencement, Crichton said he is thankful for all the support his aunt has given him throughout his life. When asked if he had anything to say to Schneider O’Connor, Crichton had nothing to express but gratitude.

“I love you Aunt Lacey. I’m so happy that you’re going to be graduating with me, and I’m so thankful for everything you’ve done in my life, especially since I’ve been at Baylor,” Crichton said. “You’ve been a huge support in everything I’ve done and I just want to say thank you so much, and I love you.”