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Relationships at the heart of what makes Baylor special

By Lauren Noble ‘19

lauren noble picThe students in Professor Macarena Hernandez’s Reporting and Writing for Media class were given the assignment to pitch a story to a publication.  Lauren Noble, a freshman from Garland, TX, chose us.  We liked her piece…and the fact that she thought of us.

From the live bears to Pat Neff Hall, people are constantly commenting on the things that make Baylor University’s campus special. What keeps people coming back for more? Surely it isn’t just the breath-taking scenery; there has to be more to it.

Baylor is home to more than 16,000 students who are dedicated to service, academics, faith and tradition – characteristics that haven’t changed over Baylor’s 171-year history.  These are the kind of things that make people want to be a part of the Baylor “family,” and want to send their children and grandchildren here as evidenced by the fact that 31% of this year’s freshmen are legacies.

Many Baylor alumni that I spoke to had similar responses to the question: “What did you value most about your Baylor experience?”

Lou Beth Birdwell ‘71 said the relationships that she made and the pride that she grew for Baylor are what she loved the most.

“The life-long friends that I still have are special but also I am always glad to say that I went to Baylor,” Birdwell said. “I love to talk about Baylor to other people just because of the friendships and excellent education that I received.”
Many Baylor alumni feel the same way.

“I think the thing that was most significant for me was the fact that I came from South Alabama and came to Baylor where I met the most phenomenal, young, sharp, Christian people in my life,” said Douglas Hill ‘63.  “One of those people (was my future wife) Mary Ann Shotwell. I met her the first week and our friendship, love, and devotion has continued for 54 years, all thanks to Baylor.”

That Baylor pride is something that many alums want to continue to pass down and carry on among both family and friends. It is something they are proud to have as a part of who they are as Baylor implements the Christian principles that Christ has taught us to live by.

Birdwell is a testimony to this as she said her love for Baylor was passed down to her.

“I saw, too, how much my parents enjoyed their time as Baylor students and they graduated in 1939,” said Birdwell. “They exposed us to their love and support for Baylor. Just seeing that love from my parents made it happen to us too; or at least to me.”

The look of the campus may have changed over the years but the “heart” of the university hasn’t, thanks to the people who come through with a similar purpose.

“I guess I should say academics but really the friendships are what I valued,” said Joe Bailey ‘81. “The lifelong friendships I made and the professors I had really made an impact on me. I also really enjoyed the family atmosphere.”

As cliché as it sounds, Baylor truly is a special place. Most alumni feel that you can get academics anywhere but it’s the intangibles that you receive at Baylor that you can’t get anywhere else. The Baylor ties that are made even after graduation are special. Baylor is a place where people want to be and a place where people are proud to come from; it brings people together. Baylor is and always will be home and so many people are thankful for the bonds and relationships that their Baylor experience brought them.

Do you have thoughts on what makes Baylor special?  Send them to us at


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