Sunday, February 22, 2009

There have been very few famous people Baylor University can claim as graduates. Baylor rarely has a claim to fame. They seldom have a winning season in any sporting event. The Lady Bears basketball team is their greatest claim to fame in sports. I am, nevertheless, proud to be a graduate of Baylor. I’m just thankful they let a country boy, like me, into the place all those years ago. I learned how to study and latched on to some life long heroes like Mark Twain. Most of all I learned about the meaning of life.

There have been a few notables to graduate or at least attend Baylor. Ann Richards, the former Texas governor, was a graduate. Mike Singletary, the football great is now head coach for the San Francisco 49ers. The famous attorney and Watergate prosecutor, Leon Jaworski was a graduate. Olympic Gold medalist, Michael Johnson and Jeremy Wanner as well as movie star Angela Kinsley were also graduates. One of my favorite graduates is Thomas Harris, author of the Hannibal Lecter stories and the book “Silence of the Lambs.” I believe that Robert Fulghum, who wrote “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, either graduated or at least attended Baylor. Baylor may not want to claim him because he is a Unitarian minister. A fellow that Baylor probably doesn’t want to claim but is one of my all time favorites, is the great Willie Nelson. Willie attended Baylor for only one year in 1954, during the time I was there. Unfortunately, I didn’t meet him.

Baylor can now claim another famous person who took the spotlight in the news this week. The great multi-billion dollar swindler, from Mexia, Texas, Allen Stanford is a graduate of Baylor. Mexia is turning out some great ones like Anna Nichole Smith and now Allen Stanford. Anna Nichole didn’t attend Baylor, but a few years ago some female Baylor students, who were on the Anne Nichole road to fame, gave a great interview and posed for Playboy. These girls had great potential but just weren’t endowed enough by nature to be in Anne Nichole’s league. Not long ago, a Baylor basketball player was murdered by a teammate and some shenanigans by the coach also came to light. In times past there was a big scandal in the home of the famous Baylor President Rufus Burleson. A foreign student staying in the home of Burleson, and being treated like a servant, became pregnant by the nephew of the president. The incident was handled like a Watergate cover-up.

So, Baylor has had some interesting graduates and like other Christian schools has had scandals in the past. All this is so glaring and distasteful because Baylor is a great Christian school. Even with all these skeletons rattling in the closet, I’m still proud of the place. I’m glad I went there and that my children and their spouses are graduates. I would be most blessed if some of the grandchildren followed in the same path as their parents. They should not be disappointed if more scandals occur and more criminals graduate. After all, a multitude of preachers, who manipulate their income tax responsibility, graduate each year. These events will always be spotlighted if they occur at a place like Baylor. People seem to get a distorted sense of pleasure out of seeing something good, encounter trouble, embarrassment or even failure. It’s almost like entertainment for the media. This type of perverted entertainment is something that has been labeled a “Roman Holiday.” It was great entertainment for the Romans to see the Christians thrown to the lions. Baylor is thrown to the lions every time one of its graduates misbehaves or a scandal occurs.

I keep a towel on the porch to wipe away the tears ever time Baylor is thrown to the lions or loses a ball game. The towel gets a lot of use and stays wet most of the time.


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