Late Saturday, we got the sad word that two treasured Baylor alumni — former University Chaplain and Board Chair Milton Cunningham, BA ’50, and former U.S. Congressman and Texas Supreme Court Justice Jack Hightower, BA ’49, LLB ’51 — had passed away.
After graduating from Baylor in 1950, Cunningham and his wife, Barbara, were missionaries in Africa for 15 years. Dr. Cunningham then led Houston’s Westbury Baptist Church for 17 years before returning to Baylor in 1996 as University Chaplain. He retired from that role in 1999 but continued to serve as chaplain for various Baylor athletic teams and also as interim pastor at several Baptist churches across the state. Cunningham was also president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas from 1977-79 and chair of Baylor’s Board of Trustees from 1985-86.
Hightower was first elected to public office in 1952, just a year after earning his law degree from Baylor. After six years as a district attorney, he returned to the Texas Legislature when he was elected to the state Senate in 1965. He held that office until 1974, when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he would serve for the next decade. He then spent three years as the Assistant Attorney General of Texas before being elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1988, a role he held until his retirement in 1996. A former Baylor Trustee, Hightower’s personal and official papers are housed in Baylor’s W.R. Poage Legislative Library.
Sic ’em, Dr. Cunningham and Judge Hightower, for your lives of service!