Happy 70th birthday, Dr Pepper Hour!
Ask any Baylor alum about their favorite campus traditions, and you’re likely to hear Dr Pepper Hour mentioned pretty quickly. The combination of the soft drink invented in Waco and ice cream that makes a Dr Pepper float — plus a little fellowship with friends and coworkers… What’s not to love?
For 70 years now, Baylor students, faculty and staff have gathered in Barfield Drawing Room every Tuesday from 3-4 p.m. to enjoy a tradition that, far from settling in its advanced years, is expanding its scope.
Dr Pepper Hour has been around so long that it might as well be “forever” to most Bears. The tradition actually dates back to 1953, making it the same age as All University Sing (and older than “sic ’em” and the Baylor Line). But how did it begin?
The hero behind the tradition was Marie Mathis, an assistant dean and future director of the SUB, who began to serve a frosted soft drink (or hot chocolate in the winter months) in Barfield Drawing Room. The tradition continued as an informal meeting each week where the Baylor community could come to socialize and escape the stress of a typical school day.
Back in 1953, however, it wasn’t known as Dr Pepper Hour. The event actually began as “Coke Hour,” with “frosted Coke” as the beverage served. “Coke Hour” became “Dr Pepper Hour” in 1997, when the Waco-born soda became the university’s official soft drink, and the tradition has continued ever since.
Generations have enjoyed Dr Pepper Hour so much that it only makes sense to take it on the road. The Dr Pepper Hour Tour began in 2021, with a bright gold Baylor-branded Dr Pepper Hour truck-and-trailer combo that greets prospective students at high schools across Texas and beyond when classes dismiss for the day. Students who stop by receive a Dr Pepper Float kit, with everything they need to mix up their own float — including Blue Bell vanilla ice cream and a can of Dr Pepper. The tour debuted at high schools in Dallas, Austin, Houston, San Antonio and Waco, and has quickly grown to even more cities in Texas, with plans this spring to go as far as Colorado and California.
From campus to cities across the country, it’s a tradition worth celebrating, and a taste of home that instantly transports Baylor alums back to their days as a student — and a gathering that only Baylor can boast.
Sic ’em (and happy birthday), Dr Pepper Hour!