• On Reagan’s 100th birthday, a look back at his visits to Baylor

    A Baylor student, Baylor President Abner McCall and then Governor Ronald ReaganHad he lived longer, yesterday would have been Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday. The former California governor and United States president visited Baylor twice — once in 1976, when he spoke in Waco Hall while campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination, and again in 1988 when he was the featured guest at the first event ever held in the Ferrell Center (video of that is available here and here).

    During Reagan’s first visit some 35 years ago, Gary Flores, BS ’78, was photo coordinator for the Baylor Lariat. He recently came across negatives of the photos he shot that day, and he was gracious enough to share them with us (that’s his pic at right, showing Baylor President Abner McCall with Reagan; see more in this gallery). Now chief of anesthesia at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital outside Houston, Flores recalls how much trickier photography was in the days of film compared to today’s digital world. “Most importantly,” he remembers, “you never knew what you had until you got back to the lab and processed the film. It was then that I learned the value of prayer!”

    Reagan isn’t the only U.S. president to have visited Baylor — Harry S Truman (1947), Dwight Eisenhower (1956), Lyndon B. Johnson (1965), Gerald Ford (1976) and George W. Bush (2002) all visited BU while in office — but his appearances might be the most fondly remembered.

    Sic ’em, President Reagan!