From Challenge to Celebration: First-gen #BaylorGrad celebrates a family milestone
Growing up in the Metroplex, Dalton Capps’ circumstances didn’t exactly suggest college was in his future. No one in his family had gone to college, his family faced significant financial hardships, and not many friends and classmates were considering a four-year university, if they were considering college at all.
But Capps had one advantage: His parents.
“My parents did not come from wealthy backgrounds, and it made sense for them to go straight from high school to the job world,” he says. “But they were adamant about encouraging me toward the college path. They didn’t force it on me, but they expressed to me that college would be a great learning experience for me.”
The challenges Capps faced in high school are common to many families across the nation. His parents both experienced layoffs, and his family sometimes found itself in-between homes. But through it all, Dalton stayed focused on going to college.
State universities seemed like the most sensible choice financially. Baylor was never on Capps’ radar — until it was, thanks to a chance visit. Passing through Waco, his mother suggested he visit Baylor. Capps knew the cost could be a challenge, but followed his mom’s urging.
“The moment I stepped on campus, I really felt at home. It was unlike any other tour,” Capps says. “I felt a calling. Literally, after I left campus, I told my mom, ‘That’s where I’m going. I have to find a way to go there.’ I really wanted to have the opportunity to make a difference, and seeing the community at Baylor made me realize that this was the place — that I wouldn’t be just a number.”
Feeling a calling to serve, Capps considered a career in medicine or law. At Baylor, he discovered a path that could combine both: health law. As a medical humanities major with a pre-law track, his classes merged his interests in ethics and advocacy.
Beyond the classroom, he became involved in Student Government, serving at different times as class vice-president, class president, senator, and Director of Policy. He also joined Student Foundation (that’s him taking the StuFu group selfie above), took a job in Undergraduate Admissions, and joined societies that spurred his interest in the legal field and health.
This summer, Capps will join that field as a legal assistant with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Texas. In downtown Dallas, just a few miles from where his family’s persistence stirred his desire in college, he’ll begin a career that will allow him to help others in a similar path.
But before all that comes this weekend’s Commencement. His mom and dad will both be in the Ferrell Center to celebrate their son — the first member of the family to earn a college degree.
“It’s not just me walking the stage this weekend,” he says. “It’s a full-circle moment, thinking of all the difficulties they faced and now seeing me graduate. My parents have been through this journey with me, and I’m forever grateful to them.”
Sic ’em, Dalton Capps!