• Restored portrait of Judge Baylor highlights Founders Day activities

    Judge Baylor portraitI love that Baylor has of late become particularly interested in preserving its history. Those efforts are most notable on the site of the University’s original campus in Independence, Texas, but extend to events like Wednesday’s Founders Day ceremony.

    After 50 years in storage, Baylor unveiled a newly restored portrait of the school’s founder and namesake Judge R. E. B. Baylor during the ceremony as part of a two-month exhibit honoring Baylor’s founders on display in the Allbritton Foyer of Moody Memorial Library. The portrait was painted by Henry McArdle, a former art teacher at Baylor Female College in Independence who is best known for his murals Dawn at the Alamo and Battle of San Jacinto, which hang in the Texas State Capitol. After years of hanging in a Brenham courthouse, the very worn painting was given to Baylor some 70 years ago. Badly in need of repairs, the work was eventually put into storage until very recently, when it was restored by a company in Dallas.

    The portrait will now move to the Texas Collection, while the rest of the exhibit remains on display through Feb. 27. Visitors will find some of the founders’ personal belongings on display, ranging from Rufus Burleson’s watch fob to a candle mold from Judge Baylor’s home. My favorite artifact is the bell from the Independence campus that originally signaled the beginning of class. (Click here for a photo gallery from the exhibit and ceremony.)

    In attendance for the ceremony were Fred and Princess Cameron, this year’s recipients of the Founders Medallion. The Camerons met at Dr Pepper Hour more than 50 years ago and have continued to serve the University in a variety of ways, from serving on various boards to endowing scholarships in law, music and athletics.

    For those interested in more of Baylor’s history, I highly, highly recommend finding a copy of To Light the Ways of Time: An Illustrated History of Baylor University, 1945-1986, by Eugene W. Baker. I picked up my copy at the Baylor Bookstore years ago as a student, and it’s an excellent chronicle of the University’s first 140 years.

    Sic ’em, Baylor founders and those who continue to lead and serve the University today!