2016-17 Baylor Meritorious Achievement Award winners to be honored at Homecoming
The university’s Meritorious Achievement Award winners annually demonstrate the wide reach of the Baylor family. This year’s honorees include alumni who have found success in business, law, medical research and public service, with a particular emphasis on those who have dedicated their careers to helping others.
From a Houston-area doctor, to the founders of orphanages in Kenya and Uganda, to alumni whose gifts have served countless Baylor students, this year’s honorees demonstrate the heart behind Baylor’s mission. You might not know their names — but you should know them for their fruits. Here are this year’s award winners:
Alumnus of the Year: Tom Rosenbalm, BA ’50, MA ’51, who was inspired by a childhood spent in doctors’ offices to become a doctor himself. Rosenbalm served in the U.S. Air Force before settling in Houston. The new Rosenbalm Fountain on 5th Street was so named to honor his parents’ sacrifices that put him through Baylor University and Baylor College of Medicine.
Young Alumnus of the Year: Jeremy Courtney, MDiv ’04, co-founder of Preemptive Love Coalition (PLC), a global coalition of peacemakers that addresses both emergency crises and the long-term needs of people in Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria. There, PLC provides emergency relief for families victimized by ISIS, lifesaving heart surgeries for children, counsel to policymakers, and more.
Pro Ecclesia: Bob (BA ’88) and Julie (BS ’89) Mendonsa, founders of Naomi’s Village, a children’s home providing life-changing care for nearly 70 orphans in Maai Mahiu, Kenya. Inspired by a mission trip in 2003, the Mendonsas moved to Kenya five years later to launch what today is an exuberant village designed to meet children’s physical, spiritual and emotional needs.
Pro Texana: Melissa Rogers, BA ’88, executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships since 2013. Her duties include forming partnerships between federal agencies and community groups to tackle some of society’s biggest issues, including poverty and disaster response.
Distinguished Achievement Award: Takashi Kitaoka, LLB ’40, a war hero and trailblazing judge in his home state of Hawaii. For his bravery during World War II, he received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star; later, he became the first Maui-born circuit court judge with jurisdiction over Maui.
Contributions to the Professions: Research: Lisa Giocomo, BA ’02, an assistant professor of neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Her focus is on the relationship between “compass” brain cells and those that tell a person when he or she has reached a boundary or specific place in the world — the brain’s GPS.
Contributions to the Professions: Christian Ministry: Tim (BA ’71) and Janice (BA ’71, BMEd ’72) McCall, founders of Restoration Gateway. The beacon of hope in war-torn Uganda today includes homes, schools, a church, a dental center, and a mobile medical clinics, and a 180-bed hospital is near completion.
Business Leadership Medal of Service: Kim Lubel, MA ’87, president and CEO of CST Brands Inc. After graduating from Baylor, Lubel eventually moved to San Antonio to work for Valero, where she was the lead lawyer for nearly $20 billion in acquisitions that grew Valero into an international energy company. In 2013, Valero created CST Brands with Lubel in the top leadership position.
W.R. White Meritorious Service Award: Dr. Roger E. Kirk, a Baylor psychology and neuroscience professor since 1958. Kirk received Baylor’s highest teaching honor in 1993, when he was named a Master Teacher, and is one of just two individuals to have served at Baylor for 55+ years.
Baylor Legacy: Steve (BBA ’73, JD ’75) and Penny (BA ’73) Carlile, longtime supporters of the university. The Carliles’ passion for job creation led to success in several fields, and they have given generously to the places that shaped them, including providing scholarships for Baylor business and entrepreneurship students and support for the business school’s new Foster Campus.
Baylor Legacy: Claude and Becky Lindsey, serious contenders for the title of supporting Baylor in the largest variety of ways. From babysitting Baylor’s live bears on their ranch during the bear habitat’s remodeling to helping lead the Baylor Spirit Program for local businesses, the Lindseys’ work has often been behind-the-scenes — but their love for Baylor is visible across campus.
Baylor Legacy: Don (BA ’60) and Jenny Riddle, who built on Don’s success as one of Texas’ top trial lawyers to create a foundation that has provided major gifts to fund and support numerous scholarships and facilities. After Jenny supported the couple while her husband studied law, Don spent five decades in the legal profession and was named one of the top 20 trial lawyers in America by Forbes.
Baylor Legacy: Carroll (BBA ’47) and Aline (BA ’54) Webb, who moved from Dallas to Waco in 1992 so they could better support their alma mater. Since then, the Webbs have served on the Hankamer School of Business advisory board and led fundraising drives to support scholarships.
Founders Medal: Jane Meyer, Alumna Honoris Causa, president of The Paul and Jane Meyer Family Foundation. Her efforts have established scholarship and endowed funds that have helped more than 125 students become Baylor Bears. The Meyer family also has celebrated more than a dozen Baylor graduations among their children and grandchildren; this past summer, granddaughter Brooke received her diploma on the floor that bears her grandfather’s name, the Paul J. Meyer Arena in the Ferrell Center.
Sic ’em, Bears!