Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Photo Archive: Pat Neff Hall

Construction of Pat Neff Hall, Baylor's administration building. The cornerstone for the building had been laid on Dec. 7, 1938, and the building was in use by late 1939. Named in honor of Baylor's president at the time, former Texas Governor Pat M. Neff, Pat Neff Hall originally housed the president's office and other administrative offices, the John K. Strecker Museum, a memorial room containing mementoes of university namesake Judge R.E.B. Baylor, The Texas Collection and eight classrooms. The photograph was taken by famous Waco photographer Fred Gildersleeve. Courtesy of The Texas Collection.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Early Radio Training

Waco Times-Herald
October 13, 1935

Untrodden Field is Being Explored by Baylor Class

Few Textbooks on Radio Speaking, So Paul Baker and His Students Go on Their Own

With only 10 or 20 books so far written in the United States on radio, Paul Baker and his radio speech class of 22 at Baylor university are having to make their rules as they proceed on what to do to be a radio success.

"Some of the people who are having radio careers now know what they're doing and why they please audiences," says Baker, "but most of them don't. The general rule is, try out and if you have a good speaking voice, go on with your career. If you don't, stop. We want to find out what makes pleasing voices, how to train them, and what to do after we get them."

Consequently, he is having all 22 students write skits, chiefly concerned with the humor, drama and sweep of college life and these are presented in the old Baylor chapel -- the one practically forgotten on the third floor of the main building, one of the cupolaed oldest buildings on the campus. Until a few years ago, this auditorium -- once large enough to accommodate the entire student body, now scarcely able to hold a fraction of it -- had old-fashioned mottoes in Latin painted on the walls, gravely informing students that "dulce et decorum est mori pro patria" and reminding them that Baylor was "pro eccesia, pro Texana."

Baker had a decorator from New York suggest plans for refinishing the auditorium. The class furnishes its own performers, skits, audience and critics in programs broadcast no further than the auditorium now, but later will broadcast by remote control from station WACO.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Long on Baylor Pranks

During his more than 40-year tenure as university handyman, Arch Long knew where most of the bodies were buried when it came to pranks on the Baylor campus.

Waco Times-Herald
December 17, 1935


Arch Long, Starting His 44th Year With Baylor, Hasn’t Led Cow From Building in Years

Young people, it seems to Arch Long, don’t prank about as much as they used to.

Arch begins his forty-fourth year of service with Baylor University today. He hasn’t led a cow out of the president’s office in years. It may be that lack of a horse is responsible, but it appears to him that even if there were one in the stables at Baylor now, the boys wouldn’t be so sure to shave his tail every April Fool. He thinks the ways of young people are a little different from when he started work for the institution in 1892.

Born of Slave Parents

A 6-foot-2 negro born at Chilton of slave parents freed during the Civil war, Arch was in his early thirties when he applied for a job with Dr. Rufus Burleson, president of Baylor whose statue now stands on the campus. Arch, incidentally, has pulled many a beer bottle out of this statue’s stone hat, but even that sort of fun hasn’t appealed to the students lately.

He has been with Baylor ever since; has never taken a vacation; has hardly ever missed a day’s work from illness; has raised three sons on the campus, two of whom went to college at Prairie Hill themselves; has never had a quarrel with a student and has never been taken to task by an official. In fact, President Pat Neff last year made him the guest of honor at a chapel service commending his faithful service.

He’s Near About 74

“I guess I must be 74, near’bout as I can get at it,” he says. “I been here under Dr. Burleson, Dr. Cooper, Dr. Brooks and Mr. Neff -- and a lot of substitutes between times.”

Dr. O.H. Cooper was the president who excited the most “pranking” among the students. In those days, there were only two buildings on the campus, the two brick ones now designated as Georgia Burleson hall and main building, with a servants’ house for the dormitory cooks behind.

Arch went in one morning to unlock the main building and the president’s office, and he knew right away something was wrong. It unquestionably was. A cow had spent the night in the president’s office. “She must a knowed me,” he recalls, “way she bellered. I got her out fo’ Dr. Cooper ever come down.”

April Fool Target

A horse belonging to Mrs. A.H. Newman, herself matron and wife of a one-time professor in the university, was the special target of April Fool pranks of old-time students. His tail was not only shaved plain, tufted and in stripes, but was dipped in vari-colored paint that only time could wear away. Arch used to be requested to participate in some of the stunts, but his answer was “I can’t be in dat kinda fun.”

He has worn cowboy boots for 60 years, and his present pair has its original high heels worn down almost level with the ground. White boys where he was raised up, he explains, wore them and he liked their looks. When he got older he bought a pair, and has had the same kind ever since.

Despite nearly a half-century with a Baptist institution, Arch is a Methodist.

“Looks like dey both pretty good churches,” he says.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Baylor Integrates

These stories tell of Baylor University's 1963 decision to racially integrate its student body..

Baylor Votes to Integrate

Waco Times-Herald
November 2, 1963

The Baylor University Board of Trustees Friday [Nov. 1] voted to integrate the school, the world's largest Baptist institution of higher learning.

It approved the majority report of a committee named a year ago which said that "neither race or color be a factor to be considered in the admission of qualified students to Baylor University."

The university, which has an enrollment of approximately 7,000 students on its campuses at Waco, Dallas and Houston, will put the new policy into effect under the direction of President Abner V. McCall.

Hilton E. Howell, chairman of the board, issued this statement:

"Consideration of the motion began with prayer for divine guidance. The action of the Baylor University Board of Trustees was taken after full and free discussion. While the final vote of the board adopting the new policy was not unanimous, the decision was reached by amicable discussion and democratic procedure."

President McCall said in a written statement:

"University officials will devise a procedure to put the new policy into effect, and anticipate complete cooperation of the students and faculty. I feel confident that this will be done with little or no disruption of the educational program of the university."

This is the text of the report of the committee, headed by Earl C. Hankamer of Houston:

"Whereas, Baylor University as a private school has the right to select its students, and may exercise that right of selection to serve best the purposes and policies of the university and the denomination which owns it; and

Whereas, Baylor University has no official written policy either in its charter or by-laws concerning race or color as criteria for admission of students; therefore

Be it resolved that neither race nor color be a factor to be considered in the admission of qualified students to Baylor University. The Board of Trustees hereby directs the president of the university to implement this policy by practical means designed to cause minimum disruption of the educational program of the university."

The trustees agreed that only the offical statements of the chairman and of the president be made public, and that the numerical result of the vote taking the historic step not be announced.


About three weeks later, on the same day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Baylor formally announced it would integrate its athletic teams

BU Athletics to Integrate

Waco Times-Herald
November 24, 1963

Baylor University's athletic council Saturday [Nov. 23] announced integration of all athletic teams, effective with the opening of the spring semester, Jan. 30, 1964. The school's announcement was termed a "clarification of policy" by school president Dr. Abner V. McCall, who is also president of the athletic council and Baylor faculty athletic representative to the Southwest Conference.

McCall said the decision on athletic integration was actually embodied in the Nov. 1 announcement of university desegregation by the Baylor Board of Trustees.

"I told Mr. Bridgers (Baylor head football coach and athletic director John Bridgers) at the time that's what it meant," McCall said Saturday, "but it hadn't been spelled out, and we were having a lot of inquiries. This announcement is primarily to put a stop to the inquiries."

The council statement: "The Baylor athletic council has voted unanimously to permit all qualified Baylor students to compete on any Baylor athletic team participating in intercollegiate athletics."

Attending the meeting were council members McCall, Dr. Monroe Carroll, Dr. Emerson O. Henke, Dr. J.W. Dixon and Dr. James W. Parsons Jr., plus Bridgers and assistant athletic director Bill Henderson.

"It's the policy of the university to take in students regardless of race or color," McCall elaborated on the council statement. "We're not telling the coaches whom to put on their teams. We're saying everybody that's eligible can take part in athletics, as they can in any university activity, as long as they remain eligible."

McCall said there are no Negro students now enrolled at Baylor, other than in the school's hospital training program in San Antonio, a graduate division.

Bridgers said the athletic department "right now has no specific plans" for recruiting Negroes. "To tell the truth, we just haven't had time to think about it," he added. Bridgers' football team still has games remaining with Rice and Southern Methodist, the latter contest originally scheduled yesterday but postponed until Dec. 7 (see separate story) because of the death of President Kennedy.

"We don't know of any Negro athletes right now that we're interested in," Bridgers continued, "but there may be some we will want to look at and investigate." As for long-range future plans, Bridgers said he and his staff will "recruit anyone who we think will fit in and meet our standards, Negro and white."

Asked if he thought the addition of Negroes would benefit Baylor or any previously all-white school in athletics, Bridgers replied: "I think the Southwest Conference has improved anyway since I've been here, and I think it will continue to improve. Of course, there are some tremendous Negro athletes all over the country."

Bridgers said he personally agrees with the action of the trustees and the athletic council. "I feel it's something that should be, from a standpoint of being right."

Bridgers' Baylor football team ended up being the first Southwest Conference squad to field a black player in a game. That player, halfback John Westbrook, carried the ball twice in Baylor's victory over Syracuse on Sept. 10, 1966. Westbrook beat SMU's Jerry Levias by one week to become the Southwest Conference's first black player.


Enrollment of black students was a reality within two months after Baylor's integration announcement.

Baylor Accepts Five Negroes For Enrollment

Waco Times-Herald
January 28, 1964

Baylor University has accepted five Negro students for enrollment in the Evening Division, Baylor officials said today. Four of the applicants are Waco teachers and one is a sergeant from James Connally Air Force Base.

More enrollment applications from Negro students may be processed before mid-term registration is completed Wednesday [Jan. 29].

Baylor officials said it is difficult to say exactly how many applications have come in from Negro students because all are processed in the same manner. They said they did not separate them as to race and all applications are in the same stack of papers.

University officials said one Negro student, an out-of-state applicant, had been denied admission to Baylor graduate school because his undergraduate record did not meet the university requirements.

Baylor trustees voted last fall to integrate classes at the Baptist university.

Baylor Profs Must Have Degrees

Waco Times-Herald
April 5, 1935


All Teachers in University Will Be Required to Hold College Degrees in the Future

Scholastic standards of Baylor University were raised through three rulings made at a faculty meeting Thursday afternoon [April 4]. All teachers in the university will be required to hold college degrees in order to teach, requirements for the master of arts degree were raised, and the pre-medic course was raised from two to three years.

President Pat M. Neff announced that, beginning next year, no teacher would be employed under any circumstances without their holding college degrees, and as far as possible all those employed with degrees shall have had previous teaching experience.

Higher Pre-Medic Requirements

The other two measures were adopted in keeping with the trend in other reputable institutions. Higher pre-medic requirements were recommended to the curriculum committee by Dr. J.F. Kimball, vice president of Baylor, in charge of the professional school at Dallas, and Dr. W.H. Moursund, dean of the college of medicine at Dallas.

The custom of using several student teachers in some of the freshman courses, which was resorted to at Baylor and other institutions as an emergency measure during the depression, has been gradually eliminated by President Neff, who announced that the institution was sufficiently out of the depression to announce that no more undergraduate teachers would be employed in any courses under any consideration.

Registration Changed

The faculty voted unanimously to abolish freshman orientation as it has been carried on at the school in the last several years. Instead of first-year students being required to report Friday morning before the opening of school the following Wednesday, completing registration by Saturday noon and having nothing else to do until classes begin Wednesday, they will report, register and classify Monday, followed by sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students Tuesday. Under the old program many freshmen became homesick and discouraged before they ever started their work.

The psychological test for freshmen will be given on the first Saturday of the school term, Dean E.N. Jones announced, and remaining special instruction freshmen need will be given in their special chapel period on Wednesdays.

Members of the faculty will be guests of President and Mrs. Neff on their farm near McGregor at a barbeque dinner next Wednesday evening, it was announced.

Rufus Burleson Introduces Co-education

Waco Times-Herald
October 1, 1900


Dr. Rufus C. Burleson Relates Some Struggles of Early Days in Waco's Educational History

To the Times-Herald: Passing by the dear old Maggie Houston Hall a few days since and seeing how hard the contractors were struggling to get it repaired and ready for the opening session of 1900, I was so forcibly reminded of the struggles of 1872 when the Hall was first built and the fearful ordeal through which Waco (Baylor) University was then passing, I had to stop and walk around and through the buildings. And as successful struggles of the past are profitable lessons for the present and future, I will relate briefly the struggles of twenty-eight years ago -- 1872.

At that time there was a fearful storm raging against co-education, not only in Waco, but throughout Texas. And as I was the pioneer of co-education in the South, and Waco University was the first co-education in the South, the second in America, and the third in the world, we had to bear the brunt of the battle.

Five wealthy and influential citizens, all good friends of mine, called to see me and to beg me to abandon that new fangled idea of co-education. I assured them I had adopted co-education after long years of earnest and profound study and that I believed from my heart that co-education was a reform the world needed. That co-education was not a new fangled idea; that Bologna University, the first and greatest of Europe, was co-education, till the pope of Rome issued a bull expelling young ladies from all universities. And all opposition to co-education was obeying the bull of the pope.

They said "Waco needs a first-class university, and believe you are the man to build one; but if you are going to convert Waco University into a mixed school of boys and girls we regret to say we will have to get up a military school and that will break you down."

I saw a powerful combination was formed extending over the state. A new president was elected to succeed the good and noble Professor Madden and then they began to erect a splendid two-story brick building for the Waco female college. A military academy with a dashing president was established. A rumor swept over that Waco University had played out, that it had no boarding hall for young ladies, no apparatus, no library and was turned into a mixed school for boys and girls.

I called our board of trustees together and explained fully the powerful combination against Waco University and to meet this combination we must complete the boarding hall for young ladies and must also have a philosophical apparatus, a new library by the opening of our fall term of 1872. I told them I had been invited to deliver an address before the National Baptist Educational society at Philadelphia and I could there secure the apparatus and library if they could complete the young ladies boarding hall, and all would be well. They said if I could put two thousand dollars in the bank we could finish the boarding hall in time. I went to work vigorously and raised a thousand dollars from my old students and friends and borrowed a thousand dollars from a friend in Bastrop by giving him a mortgage on 640 acres of Colorado land. I then hurried away to attend the National education society to procure apparatus and library and at the same time to procure $25,000 to establish a college for colored Baptist preachers and teachers for Texas. I was cordially received by the great capitalists, preachers and college presidents of the North. I readily secured the desired apparatus and library and the noble-hearted Judge Bishop pledged $25,000 to found Bishop College at Marshall.

I was also visiting the great universities of the North and also our great military institute at West Point, learning all points necessary to establish a great university in Texas; also to get in touch with millionaires looking to a grand future endowment of millions.

But I received a startling letter from my brother, Dr. Richard B. Burleson, saying the trustees had used the two thousand dollars I had put in (the) bank to pay off other debts and that work on the boarding hall had stopped. In great sadness of heart I hurried home and found there was no hope of finishing the boarding house. I immediately called the faculty together. They were all greatly discouraged and in favor of giving up Waco University as a lost cause. They said that we had published to the world that we would have a female boarding hall and we could not in honor open the session without one. I told them I was resolved to die by Waco University and co-education.

Professor Albert Boggess, one of the noblest spirits of earth who had been, first a student and then a soldier of General Stonewall Jackson, and had imbibed the heroism of his old teacher and general, arose and said, "Gentlemen. I see Dr. Burlseon is right and I will stand or fall with him. And I have $1,000 I can loan the trustees to put on double force and finish the boarding hall."

I called the trustees together and told them Professor Boggess' proposition and they accepted it and put double force to work. To inspire the workmen I packed plank till my shoulders were sore. We sent letters and circulated all over the state that Waco University would have a grand opening in September, with a splendid new boarding hall for young ladies, also a new library and apparatus. But with all our struggles we did not get quite ready. On Friday evening before the opening on Monday five elegant young ladies from South Texas came in splendid carriages as there were then no railroads into Waco. We received them joyfully. But the stair steps were not quite finished and the elegant young ladies had to climb a ladder to get to their rooms. But like all elegant ladies they accepted the situation and enjoyed climbing the ladder.

They said they came to Waco University to climb the ladder of science and fame. And this was only the introduction.

The students continued to pour in and by Monday we had the finest opening Waco University had ever had. But our dear friends soon found they were utterly mistaken. Their great military academy trustees and the dear old Waco female academy that we hoped would soon be a noble sister college, has passed away.

But I trust it will never be forgotten that the modest unpretending Professor Boggess was the stone wall that tided us over that fearful ordeal and may his noble record in Baylor University ever cheer the hearts of his noble wife and son and daughters.