The entire Baylor campus community gathered in the Field House Wednesday, Jan. 9, for the first annual John Roy Baylor Day. (Watch a video of the event below)
An outcome of the strategic plan, the event was designed to celebrate the life and legacy of the school’s founding headmaster and to re-affirm and celebrate the guiding tenets of Dr. Baylor’s vision for his school, including honor, faith, academics, and magnanimitas.
“There are many fine schools in the country, but Baylor stands out as more than a school. This is a place that can change your life in profoundly positive ways,” said Headmaster Scott Wilson ’75. “Today, we revisit again, with the deepest gratitude and respect, our founding headmaster and his dreams for our school family.”
After recognizing trustees in attendance, including board chair Chris Crimmins ’80 and Zan Guerry ’67, who serves as one of only two legacy trustees, Wilson reflected on the place of faith in the life of the school. His remarks were followed by an invocation led by senior Brinley Garrison.
In addition to speeches by both Crimmins and Guerry on honor and magnanimitas respectively, a reading of the school’s honor code was delivered by seniors Alex Robinson, Honor Council chair; Kristopher Kennedy, vice chair; and Olivia Bettis, secretary.
The academic program was highlighted with remarks by Upper School Head David Padilla, who noted that in 1914, as John Roy Baylor and Tom Lupton were deciding on the current location as the permanent home of the school, Amherst College English professor John Erskine had just published an influential essay titled, “The Moral Obligation to be Intelligent.”
“The essay took up questions that had to have been at the forefront of John Roy Baylor’s mind as this school was facing a pivotal moment in its history,” said Padilla. “More importantly, perhaps Erskine hones in on the quality of intellect and its place in shaping one’s character—something with which Dr. Baylor as an intellect, a student, a thinker, a scholar, and a teacher—was also concerned.”
Padilla noted that he believes Baylor would have a deep appreciation of Erskine’s words. “Dr. Baylor spent his entire professional life as a teacher and school leader, most notably as this school’s founder. Over the course of his 30-plus years of direct connection to this place, his words and actions indicated an unwavering focus on the life of the mind, the intellect, and academic achievement.”
Sharon Wang, Dean of Students, conducted the “pinning” of Cum Laude honorees from the class of 2019, including Ryker von Klar, Jeremy Brien, Olivia Bettis, and Sydney Anne Sutherland (Isabella Kong was unable to attend).
“These students have consistently distinguished themselves in all areas of academic excellence - in the classroom, on national benchmarks, and even in their extracurricular pursuits. And, as they move beyond our gates, they will undoubtedly continue to distinguish themselves,” said Padilla. “This pin serves as an outward sign for these students whose scholarship has been marked by unquestioned excellence. The example that they have set as dedicated students and as representatives of Dr. Baylor’s academic ideals entitles them to move among us with outward and visible signs of our praise – Cum Laude.”
Senior Dillan Desai led the benediction, which was followed by a singing of the alma mater led by senior Jonyca Jiao.