• Texas State Parks system owes its existence to a Baylor Bear

    President Pat NeffThe thousands upon thousands of Texans and out-of-state visitors who enjoy the more than 90 Texas State Parks this year have a Baylor Bear to thank for the opportunity.

    And it’s not just any Bear, but one of the most well-known names in Baylor history: BU graduate (class of 1894), former Texas Governor and Baylor President Pat Neff. Twenty-nine years after graduating from Baylor and three years into his term as governor, Neff (pictured) led the Texas legislature in creating the State Parks Board — a move he later counted among his most important achievements. In fact, Neff and his mother donated the land for the first official state park of Texas, Mother Neff State Park, located just 25 miles southeast of Waco.

    After leaving the governorship, Neff later served on the State Parks Board, helping to find funding for developing the system from Washington, D.C., during the Great Depression. Upon his death, a memorial resolution was passed honoring Neff as “the Father of the Texas Parks System.”

    Sic ’em, President Neff!

    [Interested in learning more about one of Baylor’s great alumni and leaders? Check out The Land, the Law and the Lord: The Life of Pat Neff, by Baylor graduates Dorothy Blodgett, BA ’45, Terrell Blodgett, BA ’43, and David L. Scott, BA ’87.]