Baylor will begin its kickoff of a year-long celebration of the 175th anniversary on Founder’s Day

(Left) In this Feb. 1, 1940 page of the Baylor Lariat, which celebrated the 95th anniversary of the university, the new Pat Neff Hall is shown at night, with photos of President Pat Neff and Cullen Thomas. The hall was dedicated on Baylor’s 95th anniversary. (Right) Pat Neff Hall shines brightly 80 years after it’s dedication. The 175th anniversary of the founding of the university brings a variety of events to campus, and currently features a banner celebrating the Founder's Day of Baylor.

By Sarah Pinkerton | Staff Writer

To celebrate Baylor’s official 2020 Founder’s Day alongside the 175th anniversary of the university, a celebration will occur at the Baylor Men’s Basketball game at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1 in the Ferrell Center followed by a year-long array of events.

Karen Kemp, associate vice president for university marketing and brand strategy, stated that the basketball game on Saturday will be a birthday-like celebration and attendees will receive party hats and popcorn boxes in addition to a break in the game to sing “Happy Birthday” to the university.

Buildings such as Pat Neff Hall, Waco Hall and Clifton-Robinson Tower will also feature banners announcing the 175th anniversary, as well as reminders throughout social media platforms.

“Our social channels are going to be using trivia throughout the month of February,” Kemp said. “We’ve captured some stories from a lot of alums that are talking about their experiences at Baylor, so a lot of focus on 175 and sort of celebration of that marker in our history.”

In addition, a new exhibit titled “Founding to Future: Bright Lights of Baylor University” at the Mayborn Museum is set to open on Founders Day. It will highlight the timeline of Baylor’s founding and will tell visitors the story of the university’s history through artifacts and visuals.

Mayborn Museum director Charlie Walter said the museum worked alongside Roto Studios to make the exhibit happen.

The exhibit will feature artifacts including Judge Baylor’s piano and the football from the first homecoming game along with an electronic timeline of Baylor’s history and a re-creation of the columns in Independence.

“We also will highlight Baylor innovations, the Christian mission and vision of Baylor, Baylor athletics, and Baylor art,” Walter said. “Some of those things that underpin Baylor’s current strategic plan, what makes Baylor ‘Baylor.’”

The exhibit will be the first permanently available exhibit to the public in the Baylor Gallery section of the museum.

“Through the way the exhibit was designed, it’s made that we can continue to tell that story as the years go by,” Walter said.

The university celebrates Founders Day annually and also awards the Founder’s Medal each year. This award is typically granted to alumni and will be announced Friday.

“The Founders Medal is the highest honor that we can give to an alum,” Kemp said. “it doesn’t always go to an alum. It goes to an alum, or someone who has been significant in the life of the university through philanthropy or other kinds of service.”

Following the Founders Day events on Saturday, Baylor announced it will be holding celebrations throughout the 2020 to recognize the 175 anniversary of the university.

The scheduled events include a birthday-party themed Dr Pepper Hour, an alumni celebration entitled “Honoring the Gold and Bold” and an international day of service during “Steppin’ Out” that encourages alumni to serve in their community. These events will be held throughout February and April.

Kemp also said there will be an event involved with Dia del Oso in April, and more events with freshman orientation and homecoming next fall.

“We’re going to try to integrate content into orientation and line camp this summer so that the new students coming in can feel the impact of joining an organization with the kind of history that we do,” Kemp said.

More events will continue to be announced throughout the year and will continue until the end of December.

“It’s a great time to remind people where we are today and where we’re going,” Kemp said. “Baylor was established before Texas was even a state, so it has a lot of history in Texas that we’re going to showcase.”