• Incoming freshman explains why she turned down Harvard, Duke and Rice for Baylor

    Lizzie LyonsLizzie Lyons could have gone to college almost anywhere. As valedictorian of her class in Berkley, Michigan, and with a perfect ACT score, Lyons was accepted to Yale, Duke, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, Boston College and Virginia and offered full rides to Harvard and Rice. But she chose Baylor and will join the rest of the Class of 2015 here next month. Why? Here are her words:

    “My father is a fourth-generation Texan; my mother, a fourth-generation Michigander. Although I have been living in Yankee territory these past 17 years, my heart belongs to Texas.Β On the day of my birth, my grandmother sent a box of Texas soil so that her granddaughter could be born a Texan. … One very muggy August day, my mother, father, six-year-old sister, Molly, and I loaded into the family van and drove 1,400 miles across the country to Texas, where we visited nine universities.

    “I will never forget the day I first saw Baylor. The temperature had soared to triple digits, and I was as usual suffering from carsickness. The minute we drove onto Baylor’s campus, I was intrigued by the beauty of the buildings and the grounds. My tour guides were wonderful, friendly people, and the admissions officer helped me realize I had finally found the place for which I was searching. I love the fact that Baylor is a Christian university; as a Christian, that is extremely important to me. I love Baylor’s size, culture and warmth.

    “As an honors student with diverse academic interests, the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core is the answer to my prayers. At Baylor, I can study with professors who share my moral compass. Baylor 2012 is an exciting plan. I want to be one of the alumni that helps Baylor reach its status as a top-ranked university.

    “I have been blessed by God with a fine intellect. I am one of the fortunate ones who have many choices when selecting a university, but I have been raised to believe that to whom much is given, much is expected. I believe Baylor is a place where I can contribute to the academic community, be involved in Christian service, and celebrate Baylor traditions with new friends. I would be thrilled to be a collaborative member of the Baylor incoming class of 2011. My late grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Lyons, would be so proud that little box of soil finally led me home.”

    Sic ’em, Lizzie!

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