Baylor Heritage: Then and Now

By: Grace Armstrong

Imagine if Baylor faculty separated men and women on campus.  Imagine if women walked in a line across campus every Sunday after church with adult chaperones standing by.  Imagine if students ate their meals in the Burleson Quadrangle and gathered there three times a day instead of gathering at one of the dining halls.  Imagine if all forms of dancing were outlawed on Baylor campus making the tradition of All-University Sing very different!  
All of these things were true at one point in Baylor’s history.  Baylor’s campus has grown and changed since the university’s chartering in 1845.  It has even moved from the town of Independence to the city of Waco. 

Baylor’s website offers many articles on Baylor’s history and founding.
“After the University was chartered on February 1, 1845, four communities made bids to be the location: Travis, Huntsville, Shannon's Prairie and Independence. Independence was selected, and classes for preparatory students began in May 1846 with college courses offered the following June. In 1886, Baylor and Waco University consolidated to form Baylor University at Waco,” an article on Baylor’s history said.

Today, Baylor campus looks different from the way it did in 1886. 
“Wow.  This is all so different, so changed,” a Baylor alumnus said upon walking into the North Russell Residential Hall in March 2016 for his first time in several decades. 

North Russell Residence Hall is newly renovated as of the summer of 2015.  When it reopened in the fall, North Russell became co-ed for the first time. 

The University has not only renovated buildings, but also constructed brand new buildings.  Paul L. Foster Building for Baylor’s business students is the newest building on campus.

“There was an air of awe, but also of nostalgia throughout the entire ceremony. Foster discussed his Baylor background, Willis took the audience through a brief history from the beginning of Baylor’s business school and Maness discussed the years leading up to the new building and the other plans they had considered to expand the Hankamer School of Business,” a Lariat reporter said after attending Paul L. Foster Building’s grand opening.

The building’s namesake, Paul Foster, cut the ribbon with large golden scissors at the grand opening.

“My heart has always remained close to Baylor.  I am proud and honored to have had the opportunity to contribute, along with all the rest of you, to this amazing new place,” Foster said.

The building is new but it represents the same values Baylor has had since the institution’s beginning.  The building represents the university’s reliance on community, emphasis on innovation, and desire for excellence.

“Architecture does not make a university; people make the university. But buildings' shapes and styles do reflect the university's values,” a sophomore student at Baylor University said.

Even through much change, Baylor University is widely beloved.  As it continues to change and grow, the spirit and values of the founders will no doubt be present on campus and in the Baylor community as current students and faculty keep Baylor’s values ever at heart.