We’ve often used this space to shine a spotlight on Baylor alumni excelling in various fields, from sports to business, but Baylor has heroes in a variety of areas. Wednesday, the Board of Regents celebrated a group of state lawmakers who have carried on the long tradition of Bears serving Texas through careers in the state and national legislature.
As part of the Board’s July meeting and annual retreat, the majority of the 17 current state lawmakers who are Baylor grads gathered at a dinner in Waco honoring the “Pro Texana” part of Baylor’s mission. (See photos from the event here.) Regents Chair Dary Stone, JD ’77, publicly thanked the Baylor contingent for their active and dedicated service to the people of Texas and for so effectively and responsibly wielding the power invested in them by the citizens of the state — power that not only played an important role in preserving the Big 12 Conference in recent weeks, but that daily impacts the lives of Texans across the state in every decision they make.
Among those representing Baylor in Austin who were honored last night: State Senators Brian Birdwell; Chris Harris, JD ’71; Kirk Watson, BA ’80, JD ’81; and Royce West; and State Representatives Charles “Doc” Anderson; Valinda Bolton, BA ’81; Linda Harper Brown; John Davis, BBA ’82; Jim Dunnam, BBA ’86, JD ’87; Craig Eiland, BBA ’84, JD ’87; Kelly Hancock, BBA ’86; Bryan Hughes, JD ’95; Carol Kent, BA ’75, MA ’76; Tim Kleinschmidt, JD ’81; Tryon Lewis, JD ’73; Diane Patrick, BA ’66; Ken Paxton, BA ’85, MBA ’86; Larry Phillips, BBA ’88; Mark Shelton, BS ’79; Larry Taylor, BBA ’82; and Allen Vaught, BBA ’95. Former Governor Mark White, BBA ’62, JD ’65, U.S. Congressman Chet Edwards, and State Representative Dan Branch (Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee) were also honored for their work on behalf of Baylor and Central Texas.
The alumni in this group are the latest in a long line of Bears who have held important roles in Texas government, dating all the way back to Texas’ days as an independent nation. Albert Horton, one of Baylor’s first Trustees, served in the Republic of Texas Congress, while one of the school’s co-founders, William Tryon, served as chaplain for the Republic of Texas Senate. The university’s namesake, Judge R.E.B. Baylor, helped draw up the State of Texas’ original constitution in 1845, and Horton then was elected the state’s first lieutenant governor.
Baylor has produced four Texas governors (White, Pat Neff, Price Daniel and Ann Richards) and three lieutenant governors (Horton, George Neal and Bob Bullock). Seven Texas House Speakers have had Baylor ties (Neff, Daniel, Lafayette Foster, Charles Thomas, Jim Lindsey, Byron Tunnell and Price Daniel Jr.) to go with three Texas Supreme Court Chief Justices (Thomas Brown, James Alexander and Thomas Phillips). We can only wonder which of today’s students will join this litany of Baylor greats in one day serving Texas and her citizens.
Sic ’em, Baylor lawmakers!