By Meg Cullar
A grassroots, Facebook-based reunion of Baylor alumni—held Saturday, June 19—was deemed a big success by its organizers and guests. The founders of the Facebook page “Baylor in the 80s” organized the party, which was at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, next door to the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center.
“I was a little nervous in the build-up to the soiree,” said Jeff Verver ’87, one of the leaders of a steering committee of twenty grads. But once the party got started, he was able to relax and enjoy the festivities along with more than sixty other guests.
“I can’t tell you how many people came up to me and said, ‘Thanks for doing this,’” Verver said. “We also got high marks for the fajita dinner from George’s.”
Attendees at the event enjoyed the music of Waco band The Elephants, which includes several ’80s graduates, and a slide show of ’80s-era photographs running during the dinner. And everyone went home with a throwback party favor.
Committee member Suzy Vinson Nettles ’87, who was in charge of the party favors, said they had fun brainstorming about ’80s gadgets. “We remembered those floatable koozies and key chains that everybody had, so we decided to do the puffy foam koozies,” she said. “But I really think we could have raised some money if we had sold ‘Herb Says Party’ T-shirts.”
Verver, who lives in Chicago, was one of the most distant alumni in attendance, but Sarah Humphrey Douglas ’87 and her sister, Mary Jane Humphrey Pessaud ’90, came from Charlotte, North Carolina, and Alexandria, Virginia, respectively. “We just decided to make a girls weekend out of it,” Douglas said. “We flew in together and stayed in Dallas at the Hotel ZaZa last night.”
The idea of the reunion was hatched more than two years ago when Verver’s old roommate, Brent Pierce ’87, spent Thanksgiving 2007 with his friend in Chicago.
“We sat up all night talking about our Baylor days, and we decided we really needed to get people back together,” Pierce said. “We thought about doing it in the fall, but there are so many conflicts with football and school, so we went with the summer.”
The Facebook group was launched shortly after Verver and Pierce’s Thanksgiving visit and took on a life of its own. “Initially, it was just our friends, but then other Baylor graduates from the ’80s found out about it,” Pierce said.
The reunion event also expanded to include Baylor grads outside their immediate circle of friends, although most attendees were from the late ’80s. “We figured that initially it would be the friends of the organizers, but it’s really gone beyond that,” Pierce said.
“I only knew a little over half of the attendees,” Verver said. “I thought I’d known a lot of Baylor graduates but was humbled to see that there were many I didn’t know, even from my own graduating class.”
In planning for the party, the “Baylor in the 80s” group reached out to the Baylor Alumni Association for assistance. “We were glad to help facilitate logistical things like the location and the food since so many of the organizers were from out of town,” said Allen Holt ’80, BAA director of development. “For a first-time event, it was really successful, and I think there’s a lot of potential for it to grow in the future. We look forward to working with the ‘Baylor in the 80s’ group again, and any other group—or decade—of alumni who want to come and revisit their Baylor times together.”
Verver said, “We’ll definitely do this again, though I’m not sure if it will be annual or bi-annual. Before we decide, we’d like to put a little bit of distance behind us. One thing is for sure—we’ll be working with the BAA whatever we do.”
For more photos of the event, check the “Baylor in the 80s” Facebook page.