Happy 100th birthday, Dr. Belew!
Generations of Bears will remember Dr. John Belew (BS ’41), whether as a Baylor classmate, professor or administrator. This week, the longtime Bear celebrated his 100th birthday!
Belew first came to Baylor in the late 1930s, and graduated with a degree in chemistry in 1941. (That Belew would attend Baylor was no surprise; his grandmother was a student at Baylor in Independence, his father was a Baylor trustee and business manager, and both parents were Baylor grads.)
After serving in the military during World War II, earning his master’s from Wichita State and his doctorate from Wisconsin, Belew returned to Baylor to teach chemistry in 1956. In 1974, he was named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; five years later, he was promoted again, this time to provost — the university’s chief academic officer — a role he would hold until his retirement in 1991.
Belew’s Baylor legacy has continued long after his retirement. Professionally, he continued to serve as provost emeritus and professor emeritus for years. His family also continued the BU tradition, including his wife, Ruth, a 1942 Baylor graduate who taught in the BU theatre department for more than 20 years. John and Ruth had two children, Janet and James, who both attended Baylor; Janet graduated in 1976, while James attended Baylor and later helped excavate Baylor’s home in Independence as an archaeologist for the state of Texas. Multiple other extended family members have also donned the green and gold.
The Belew family’s decades of generosity and service to Baylor have been recognized in multiple ways, including the Belew Collection in Baylor’s Martin Museum of Art, the Belew Scholars’ Room in Armstrong Browning Library, and Student Activities’ John S. Belew Award, given annually to a male Baylor student for his contribution of time, talent and effort in the Waco community.
Baylor Arts & Sciences Magazine caught up with Belew in 2017, when — at age 96 — he was “busy maintaining his farm west of Waco in McGregor,” keeping up with friends and former BU colleagues, and reading.
Sic ’em — and happy birthday! — Dr. Belew!