History of the BLF

Key dates in the history of the Baylor Line Foundation (formerly the Baylor Alumni Association)

1859:  Fourteen years after Baylor University in Independence was chartered by the Republic of Texas, Baylor President Rufus Burleson announces the creation of an alumni association, and Baylor graduates begin formally meeting. By the June commencement, 42 former students—23 men and 19 women—qualify for membership.

1909: The alumni association sponsors the first Baylor Homecoming.

April 1925:  The Baylor Monthly is launched as the official publication of the Baylor University Alumni Association, with J. M. Dawson serving as editor.

1932: Due to economic hardships caused by the Depression, the Baylor Monthly and the alumni office are closed, not to reopen until the end of the decade.

1936: The Baylor Centennial Foundation begins soliciting funding for the new Student Union Building. The group launches the Baylor Century magazine in October 1938. The magazine is published by Baylor University, and the title refers to the university’s upcoming centennial in 1945. Subscriptions are $1 a year.

1942: The Baylor Ex-Students Association is legally incorporated, but without a full-time director.

1946:  The Baylor Century magazine is renamed the Baylor Line, the name being a phrase from the school’s alma mater, and the first issue under that title comes out in October 1946. The magazine is now produced by the Baylor Ex-Students Association, which in the spring of 1946 appoints its first full-time executive secretary, Jack Dillard. In a letter to alumni dated June 20, 1946, Dillard writes, “Your Association, for the first time, is operating separately from Baylor University itself. The history of all outstanding Ex-Students groups shows that they operate best when separate from the university.” Dillard serves as the editor of the Baylor Line. The magazine is sent only to members of the association, and memberships dues are set at $3 per individual, or $5 per family.

April 20, 1976: The Baylor Ex-Students Association is reorganized as the Baylor University Alumni Association, and a new dues-paying membership system is established. Individual annual memberships are set at $15 a year, and life memberships are set at $200. The distribution of the Baylor Line is reduced to members only.

1978:  The Baylor University Alumni Association is legally incorporated as an nonprofit organization and moves from the Student Union Building to the new Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center.

September 1993: BAA and Baylor University sign agreement granting BAA a long-term, fully-paid-up license to use the names and marks of Baylor Alumni Association and The Baylor Line.
May 2003:  University and BAA sign a “Memorandum of Intention and Understanding” that guaranteed the continuation of the association’s access to the alumni database, the use of the Baylor Alumni Association name, and office space in the alumni center, which the association had previously agreed to share with the Office of Alumni Services.

2009-2014:  The Baylor Administration takes a series of actions to restrict BAA’s access and sever the association’s coordinated operations with the university.  These efforts culminate with the ouster from campus of remaining BAA staff members in December and repeated threats to sue BAA over the continued use of Baylor marks and logos, even though the BAA has a license agreement with the university. University follows through on its threat to sue in June 2014, and the BAA files its counterclaim later that summer after settlement negotiations fall apart.

Baylor Line Foundation/Baylor Alumni Association Executive Directors *

Mayes Behrman (alumni secretary)

Louise E. Willis (alumni secretary)

Jack H. Dillard (executive secretary)

Graves Blanton (executive secretary, executive director)

Mart Cole (executive director)

George Stokes (executive director)

Raymond Vickrey (executive director)

James F. Cole (executive vice president)

Ray Burchette Jr. (executive vice president)

Mark Kimbell (executive vice president)

Randy Lofgren (executive vice president)

P. Oswin Chrisman (executive vice president)

Jeff Kilgore (executive vice president/CEO)

* Titles changed over the years.

Baylor Alumni Association Presidents

2015-16:  Tom Nesbitt

2014-15:  Keith Starr

2013-2014:  George Cowden III

2013:  Collin Cox
2012-2013:  Elizabeth Coker
2011-2012:  Roland Johnson
2011:  George Cowden III
2010:  Emily Tinsley

2009:  David Lacy

2008:  Bill Nesbitt

2007:  George Cowden III

2006:  Babs Baugh

2005:  David Malone

2004:  Susie Grier Jaynes

2003:  Fred R. Norton Jr.

2002:  W. Pruitt Ashworth

2001:  Joseph O. Seeber IV

2000:  Jim Nelson

1999:  Diane Dillard

1998:  Neal T. “Buddy” Jones

1997:  Bob Anne McMullan Senter

1996:  Lyndon L. Olson

1995:  J. Kent Newsom

1994:  Judy Pruett Battles

1993:  Art Coltharp

1992:  Gary S. Nash

1991:  Abner V. McCall

1991:  Ray Burchette Jr.

1990: Randall H. Fields

1989: Jack K. Dillard

1988: Charles Thompson

1987: Alton Pearson

1986: Gordon L. Hollon

1985: Bob Morrison

1984: Roger D. Edens

1983: Don G. Baker

1982: Dr. William R. Carden

1981: William R. Crocker

1980: P. Oswin Chrisman

1979: Vernon G. Garrett

1978: Gale L. Galloway

1976-77:  Dorothy Barfield Kronzer

1975-76: James F. Cole

1974-75: Charles B. McGregor

1973-74:  Sam D. Johnson

1971-72:  George M. Cowden

1970-71:  Morris Cobb

1969-70: Stonie R. Cotten

1968-69: H. J. Flanders Jr.

1967-68: Will D. Davis

1966-67: John G. Heard

1965-66: Rufus Nash

1964-65: Norris E. Clark

1963-64: Connally McKay

1962-63: H. Hart Nance

1961: Charles Crenshaw

1960-61: Curtis Hankamer

1959-60: Van Doren Goodall

1958-59: Jack Dillard

1956-58: Abner V. McCall

1955-56: Ben H. Williams

1953-55: Jack Sisco

1952-53: T. E. Sanderford

1951-52: Ross M. Sams

1949-51: A. Grady Yates

1947-49: J. W. Patterson Jr.

1945-47: Raymond L. Dillard

1943-45: Horace K. Jackson

1941-43: Milford O. Rouse

1939-41: G. H. Penland

1938-39: Hilton Howell

1937-38: George Belew

1936-37: W. N. Naman

1934-36: K. H. Aynesworth

1933-34: Frank E. Burkhalter

1931-33: Earl B. Smyth

1929-31: D. K. Martin

1927-29: H. S. Garrett

1926-27: Mayes Behrman

1925-26: Joseph W. Hale

1924-25: O. L. Bodenhamer

1922-24: Joseph H. Burt

1921-22: James R. Jenkins

1919-21: John B. Fisher

1916-19: E. R. Nash Jr.

1915: Carl Lovelace

1914: Frank E. Burkhalter

1911-13: Albert Boggess

1908: W. B. Denson

1906: J. B. Holt

1900: George W. McDaniel

1879-88: Harry Haynes

1869: Harvey Carroll

Original sources for BLF/BAA history

Here are some excerpts from the archives that address the association’s mission and history.

1859: The birth of an alumni association

“Baylor had barely begun to produce graduates when President Rufus C. Burleson set to work to organize them. The university’s first diplomate, Stephen Decatur Rowe, received his A.B. degree in 1854. By the time of commencement in [June] 1859, the year in which Burleson announced his creation of an alumni association, a total of forty-two former students—twenty-three men and nineteen women—qualified for membership in it.

Aware that his young and struggling school would require its graduates’ assistance for publicity, recruitment, and financial support, Burleson probably also knew that he would have no difficulty in marshaling its alumni for the cause. . . .

No surviving evidence indicates that Burleson went so far as to initiate a formal means of rallying Baylor’s alumni. Instead, he probably relied upon his personal contact and correspondence with them. He did, however, include the names of all of the school’s graduates in the annual catalogues, perhaps as a means of making them known to prospective students and their parents, who might wish to contact them for personal endorsements.”
Kent Keeth, “Looking Back at Baylor,” Baylor Line, April 1987

1879: A resolution

“Tuesday P.M., June 10, 1879. Association met pursuant to adjournment. Prayer by Chaplain. The committee appointed to draft resolutions reported the following:

Resolved 1st. That the Alumni of Baylor University will pledge themselves at all times, and under all circumstances, and everywhere, to maintain, defend, and support, by all means in their power, the original design of the founders of the Institution, to make it a true educational establishment of the highest grade.”
“Proceedings of the Twentieth Annual Meeting of the Alumni Association of Baylor University,” Independence, Texas, June 10-12, 1879

1932: A temporary silence

“While the Baylor University Alumni Association had been formed at about the time of the first official Homecoming in 1909, it had few resources in its early years. Certainly, it was in no position to initiate its own publication. . . .

At last, in April 1925, a magazine devoted exclusively to alumni concerns commenced publication. The Baylor Monthly was the official organ of the ‘Alumni Office,’ and editor J. M. Dawson noted that ‘this is the publication that we long have sought and mourned because we had it not.’ Beginning with a circulation of five thousand, it included a regular feature by President Samuel Palmer Brooks, stories about campus events and athletics, letters from alumni, and news of such happenings as marriages, births, and deaths. . . .

As it happened, the Monthly itself did not long survive Brooks. The Depression was nearing its nadir, and Baylor was forced to seek economics. In October 1931, the trustees reduced the publication from a monthly to a quarterly schedule, and the following February they voted to eliminate it entirely. On June 1, 1932, the Alumni Office closed down.”
Kent Keeth, “Looking Back at Baylor,” Baylor Line, June 1987

1938: Filling a need

In 1936, as the Baylor Centennial Foundation began to solicit funding for the new union building, its officials quickly discovered that they lacked any comprehensive listing of potential donors. Worse yet, many of the alumni whom they did succeed in locating had become disaffected with Baylor, feeling cut off from and abandoned by their alma mater. Fence mending was the order of the day, and a new magazine could provide the means.

Looking ahead seven years to the time when Baylor would become Texas’s first university to celebrate its centennial, planners christened their new publication the Baylor Century, dedicating it to the reinvolvement of former Baylorites in the university’s affairs. ‘The demand for the magazine has become insistent,’ wrote its editor, Dr. Charles D. Johnson, in the premier issue in October 1938.”
Kent Keeth, “Looking Back at Baylor,” Baylor Line, September 1987

1946: A new era

“Baylor’s Ex-Students’ Association has launched an aggressive, far-reaching program to enlarge and strengthen itself and with this issue of the Baylor Line, successor to the Baylor Century, the Ex-Students’ Association [legally incorporated in 1942] has taken over publication of the official magazine.

Long considered an outstanding need for Baylor has been a closely-knit, active, and wide-awake Ex-Students’ organization. Leaders of the Association moved in that direction last spring with the appointment of the first full-time executive secretary in the Association’s history [Jack Dillard]. And for the first time in history, the Association is operating separately from the University itself….

The Board of Governors of the Association voted recently to set membership dues of the organization at $3 per year for each individual, or $5 a year for family membership, which includes man and wife, both Baylor exes. This was done so that the organization might become self-sustaining. . . .

In connection with membership fees, the natural question is, ‘What will one get out of membership in the Baylor Ex-Students’ Association?’ It is agreed that the three most important advantages are:

  1. The satisfaction of working in a voluntary organization, greatly strengthened and enlarged, with other loyal and interested exes for the welfare and progress of Baylor University.
  2. Receiving the Baylor Line at least nine times a year, with news of exes from all over the country and news of Baylor.
  3. First chance at football tickets.”

“Ex-Students’ Association Launches Enlargement Program; Sets Dues,” inaugural issue of the Baylor Line, October 1946

1976: New name, new organization

“In a meeting of the Baylor Ex-Students’ Association April 30 [1976], the board of directors approved a change of the organization’s name to the Baylor Alumni Association and made it a dues-paying group.

Mrs. Dorothy Kronzer, president, said Thursday that the association has been financed by the university. Since the association now finances itself, an equal amount of money, formerly needed to support the association, is freed for the administration to use in pursuit of its academic goals. Mrs. Kronzer said she had spoken with many of the alumni who graduated last year, most of whom favored the changes. However, many of the older graduates disagree with the changes.

Raymond Vickery, executive director of the association, said the new system of membership would provide Baylor alumni with a greater sense of belonging. He said most of the alumni questioned about the change said they felt the association would be stronger if a member had to pay to belong.

The association’s annual dues will be $15, Mrs. Kronzer said, but only a $10 due will be required of alumni for the first three years after their graduation. Mrs. Kronzer said a life membership will cost $200, but if it is obtained after the first of the year, the life membership will cost $250. For an additional $50, Mrs. Kronzer said, an alumnus’ spouse may receive a life membership. . . .

In addition to the name change and the conversion to the dues system, Mrs. Kronzer said a new alumni center is to be built on University Parks Drive near the Environmental Studies Building.”
“Directors Rename Exes Group to Baylor Alumni Association,” Baylor Lariat, November 5, 1976

Baylor Line FoundationHistory of the BLF