Alum returns to campus for the first time in 75 years for Baylor Homecoming
The Baylor of 1941 would be completely unrecognizable to most Bears today. Pat Neff Hall was just two years old. Its namesake, former Texas Governor Pat Neff, was still president of Baylor University (and would serve for six more years). Campus was almost entirely contained between Fifth and Seventh streets, with Brooks Hall the only building west of the Student Union Building (which was still under construction at the northwest corner of campus).
This was the state of campus the day Morris Porter, BBA ’41, graduated and received his accounting degree from Baylor University. This was the Baylor Porter remembered for the next 75 years, as life took him around the globe — but never back to Waco. Never, that is, until Baylor Homecoming 2016.
To celebrate his 97th birthday, Porter finally made it back to Baylor. As a young student, Porter had played tennis, performed in the band, and worked in both Pat Neff Hall and a local carpentry shop, where he helped build new tables for Baylor Law School. But he hadn’t seen his beloved alma mater since graduation day in 1941; after that, he moved to Dallas for his first post-grad job, enlisted to fight in World War II, and eventually returned to Texas to finish his career in the oil and gas industry.
Hosted by representatives of the Hankamer School of Business, from which Porter earned his degree, Porter celebrated his birthday in style. Business school staff members gave him a tour of campus so he could see first-hand how much had changed in the last 75 years. After seeing Pat Neff Hall (now over 70 years old), Brooks College (an updated version of his old Brooks Hall dorm), and the new Foster Campus (where today’s business students spend their Baylor days), his reaction was literally, “Holy mackerel!”
To top it off, Baylor students, faculty and staff surprised him with a mini birthday party in the Foster Campus atrium, complete with a lesson on how to do a sic ’em (a Baylor tradition not introduced until the 1960s).
This is what Baylor Homecoming is all about: coming home. Whether it’s been six months or 60 years since you last visited Baylor, there’s no better time to return than Homecoming, scheduled this fall for October 19-21. Hope to see you there!
Sic ’em, Bears!