• Online MBA student surprises parents by revealing Baylor degree

    Erik Luis and family

    Imagine for a minute just how much work it would take to keep a secret from your parents that — surprise! — you’ve been taking online MBA classes and your shared dream of a Baylor degree is about to become a reality. Oh, and you reveal the surprise a few weeks before graduation through an elaborate scavenger hunt on campus.

    It sounds improbable — but it’s exactly what Erik Luis did. Here’s the backstory:

    When Erik was in high school, preparing to make his college decision, he and his brother visited Baylor and fell in love. His parents, Luis and Diana, did too. They even visited residence halls to pick out their campus home. But when they returned home, they found a change in plans, as St. Mary’s University had offered them full-ride scholarships. For the Luises, it was a financial blessing they could not pass up. Despite feeling some disappointment at missing out on the Baylor experience, the brothers went to St. Mary’s and graduated, and Erik embarked on a career in business.

    All of that took place more than a decade ago. Fast-forward to 2015; Erik was looking to advance his career and discovered Baylor’s Online MBA program. Living and working in San Antonio, the online classes fit well into his schedule, allowed him to keep his job — and made it easier to keep a secret.

    That’s where the surprise kicks in. Erik decided not to tell his parents, saving that information for the moment when he could reveal that their shared dream of a Baylor degree was a reality. For two full years, he didn’t mention his academic pursuits. But, with graduation looming this fall, he knew the time had come to share his news.

    Rather than merely telling his parents, Erik set up a scavenger hunt on campus. He invited Luis and Diana to Homecoming in November and told them it was a Baylor tradition for people attending their first Homecoming at Baylor to go on a scavenger hunt. Their clues led them to the Bear Habitat, Baylor Science Building fountains, and the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation. It was there that he gave the big reveal.

    As for their reaction? The video tells the story. (Watch his dad’s surprise shortly before his mom’s emotional embrace.)

    Erik will walk at Commencement this Saturday, a Baylor grad at last — 15 years after his first visit to campus. It’s a moment that will be worth the wait for Erik, just like his parents’ reaction.

    “It was hard to keep the news from my parents, but the thought of their faces when they found out made it possible,” Erik says. “As you can tell by the video, they were ecstatic, and it was worth the wait.”

    Sic ’em, Erik and the Luis family!

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