Why do alums come home?
One of the most gratifying aspects of my work is connecting with alums, young and old, who make their way back to Baylor either by their presence on campus or metaphorically. This phenomenon happens every day of the year. Indeed, few days pass when an alum does not stick his or her head in my door or shoot me a letter or email to express gratitude for Baylor. When I describe the breadth and depth of this loyalty to fellow heads at other fine schools, they marvel. So, what inspires this level of devotion and allegiance to Baylor? The answers to that question are as personal and varied as are our alums, but there are themes that weave throughout all.
Recently, I received an email from an alum of my era. I have not seen this man since he graduated in the early ’70s (he’s now a college professor), but his email wove a story of gratitude and insight that was compelling to read. This gentleman was a highly accomplished athlete both at Baylor and in college; yet, his reflections were of the enriched academic experience he had here. “The real value of a Baylor education is not limited to elite students. When I was at Baylor, it struck me that, while the clubs and organizations at the nearby schools were oriented around social themes, ours were academic…I was not at the top of my class, and I cannot say that I was a serious student of anything until I went to grad school; however, thanks to people like Bill Cushman and even Roy Ashley, I was made to think well beyond sports and teenage stuff and to look at much deeper aspects of life.”
When I describe the breadth and depth of this loyalty to fellow heads at other fine schools, they marvel.
As both an alumnus (1975) and the parent of two young alums (2014 and 2017), I appreciate the values of the school that transcend generations. From respect of the Honor Code to devotion to former teachers and coaches, Baylor alums give enduring credit to a transformational experience here. Thankfully, our current upperclassmen begin to understand the impact of this experience even before they receive their diplomas. A senior recently shared at an admission gathering just how powerful this “Baylor bond” is already for her and her classmates: “We were returning to campus from a long trip and bus-ride, and when we pulled through the gates, we broke out singing the alma mater…it was surreal and beautiful and heartfelt.”
The pages herein celebrate Baylor in many ways. In the end, the breadth and depth of Baylor and its faculty provide our students and future alums with more than a great education; Baylor provides them with life-changing experiences.