Baylor’s bright stars: Female alumnae who have shaped the arts

Dorothy Scarborough (top left), Bess Whitehead Scott (top right), Angela Kinsey (bottom left) Candice Millard (middle) and Joanna Gaines (bottom right) have done iconic work in various fields. Photos courtesy of BaylorProud

By Bella Whitmore | Intern

It’s no secret that Baylor has produced a number of famous and talented alumni across all different fields, from prominent politicians to successful business owners. While those in the arts are often overlooked, numerous incredible women got their start here before entering the spotlight in acting, literature and the visual arts.

1. Angela Kinsey

First and arguably most notable on the list, Angela Kinsey got her bachelor’s degree in English from Baylor in 1993. She went on to join the entertainment industry, famously portraying the character of Angela Martin on “The Office.” During her time at Baylor, she was a member of Chi Omega, took countless theater classes and studied abroad with the Baylor in London program. Kinsey was known as kind and charming — quite different from her character.

2. Bess Whitehead Scott

Diving deeper into Baylor’s history, Bess Whitehead Scott graduated with her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1912. She went on to become one of the first female news anchors in Houston and was a prominent member of The Houston Post. Scott is known for her accomplishments in reporting, public relations, advertising and teaching. She influenced journalism for women and helped demonstrate how women are capable in the workplace.

3. Dorothy Scarborough

Continuing in the early 19th and late 20th centuries, Dr. Dorothy Scarborough studied writing at Baylor and graduated in 1896 — only 10 years after women were allowed to attend the university. Scarborough was a noteworthy teacher, writer and folklorist who founded Baylor’s journalism department, which was the first in the southwest. She went on to get her Ph.D. from Columbia University, publish several novels that were adapted into movies and teach creative writing at the college level.

4. Candice Millard

More recently, Candice Millard graduated with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in literature from Baylor in 1992. Millard became an incredibly successful writer and novelist, writing three New York Times bestsellers. In 2012, Millard won the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime Book for “Destiny of the Republic” — an account of President James Garfield. The book also received a PEN Center USA Award and the 34th Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence from the American Association of University Women.

5. Joanna Gaines

It’s no secret that Joanna Gaines and her hit TV show “Fixer Upper” have become household names all across the world and put Waco on the map. Gaines graduated with her bachelor’s in communications in 2001, which is very fitting for the trajectory her career took post-grad. Her background in playing roles in local television commercials for her father’s local business, Jerry Stevens Firestone, helped make her comfortable on camera and propel her career to where it is today.