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A Growing Sisterhood

Sept. 30, 2005

What begins innocently enough as a lunch date between two Baylor alumnae can quickly grow into a large group of women with bylaws, officers and monthly meetings - all centered around the Baylor experience.

"By becoming active in the Baylor Women's Network, alumnae have the opportunity to develop Baylor friendships among women in their hometowns and support the institution that has played a strong and meaningful role in all of our lives. We want their Baylor experience to continue," said Carol Kent, BA '75, MA '76, coordinator of Baylor Women's Network.

The networks are interactive groups of alumnae, friends, Alumni-by-Choice, wives of alumni and mothers of students who participate in Baylor-focused programs and events held in their home communities. Activities include lectures, luncheons, home tours, reunions and special events for young graduates, mothers of Baylor students and mothers of preschool and school-age future Bears.

"Certainly, the friendship exhibited among the women involved is wonderful to see," Kent said. "When they first come together, there is hugging and well-wishing all around. It's like a family reunion with sisters who are so happy to be together again."

The San Antonio group is the oldest continuous women's league, with bylaws dating from the 1970s. The group traditionally has held teas and luncheons to help raise scholarship funds. This past year, they held a fiesta luncheon at a house along the historic Riverwalk in San Antonio with Elizabeth Davis, Baylor provost for academic relations, as the guest speaker.

The new president of the San Antonio group, Karen Edwards, BS '81, is planning some different activities such as a modeling event with local companies and a gardening show. "This group offers the ability to have a well-rounded foundation for the life that students are about to embark on," Edwards said.

Other women's groups started in Dallas and Houston in 1986 and have grown steadily through the years. Baylor Development continues to work with these groups. In the last two years, the Baylor Network established new groups in Tyler, Lubbock, Tarrant County, Amarillo, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Denver, Little Rock and Washington, D.C. Kent estimates that more than 1,400 members have participated in the Women's Network since 2003. Whitney Taylor Cortner, BA '95, worked with the Baylor Network to help form the Denver group's council, where she now serves as president. Denver had its inaugural luncheon June 25 and invited more than 650 Baylor alumnae and mothers of Baylor students. Special guests included Carol Kent and Diana Garland, Colorado native and dean of the Baylor School of Social Work.

The Tulsa group hosted its first organizational meeting June 4, when members elected officers and discussed upcoming events such as Baylor sports-watching parties, a Tulsa Diadeloso, and a group trip to Homecoming.

"Our group offers participants a chance to meet and interact with other Baylor alums and to provide support for Baylor University," said Alison Wade, BA '97, from Tulsa.

Phyllis Patterson, BA '74, has been involved in the San Antonio group since 1976. "Having a group like this is a great tool for new alums to meet all ages of Baylor women, which makes it fun to hear about Baylor through the years," she said. "Plus, it's always exciting and inspiring to hear from Baylor people about what's happening now and what's planned for the future."

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