The Tale of a Century
As soon as A.A. Hyden (BA '47) begins talking, listeners are captivated by his epic stories--a century's worth of life-changing moments and major events. But as a boy in the Great Depression, picking cotton summer after summer, he never imagined this would be his life.
Barely into college, A.A. was shipped to London with the Signal Corps and fully immersed in encryptographic work. Stationed in the basement of a department store that had escaped the previous bombings, A.A. diligently coded and decoded the messages of WW2. More than once was his life spared by a bomb that happened to miss its target. But in the midst of war, A.A.'s fervent optimism was unshakeable.
He diligently studied typing, attended every Bible lesson he could and feasted with orphans for Thanksgiving. He gave himself wholeheartedly to recovery efforts after attacks and preached his first sermon at a nearby tabernacle. Even in war, A.A. was determined to make a difference--an attribute that has been characteristic of his life.
Taking a Stand: 1968
Years later, A.A. stood by his wife, Marjorie (MSED '63), and they, together, faced the challenges of segregation. She had chosen to accept the position of counselor for an all-black middle school--becoming one of the first "crossovers." Every day, Marjorie struggled to break racial barriers and show the teachers and students that she genuinely cared. And every day, A.A. encouraged her resolve.
By Christmas that year, all the teachers joined together at the Hyden house for laughter and celebration over Christmas dinner. Nothing could stop A.A. and Marjorie from loving the people around them.
All the while, A.A. had his own obstacles to overcome. In the early years of minimum wage, he was asked to pioneer a university-wide personnel program here at Baylor. He was experienced in managing personnel, completely uneducated about the new minimum wage system and eager to undertake the challenge. Three years later, the program was a smooth-running machine, and A.A. faced his next task--academic advisement.
Though the nuts and bolts of preparing schedules and selecting courses mattered to A.A., what really inspired him was the fact that students' lives were being touched by every advising appointment. He drafted a plan and began the first round of academic advisement in 1971. His colleagues told him no one would come that summer, but to their surprise (and his), 1200 of the 1800 incoming freshmen signed up--an unprecedented success.
A.A. faithfully invested in students through his years in advisement and later as vice president of student affairs. And to this day, he still receives random phone calls and visits from students (now successful professionals) who thank him for believing in them and calling out their potential.
The Legacy that Follows: An eternal impact
Though Marjorie and A.A. never had children of their own, they have poured into children from the Buckner International Orphan's Home in Dallas, Mary-Hardin Baylor University, Wiley Middle School and, of course, Baylor University. And that investment will continue for generations to come through A.A. and Marjorie's foresight to support endowed scholarships at Baylor.
A.A. has never missed a Baylor basketball or football home game--and he remembers the challenge of being a student-athlete and trying to make ends meet--so he gladly established an endowed scholarship in athletics. But even more than the initial scholarship, A.A. gave his home to Baylor and has made provisions in his will for another scholarship because he is zealous to see Baylor students succeed.
A.A. and Marjorie Hyden's legacy is one that will not easily be forgotten. They have touched the lives of people across the world--and changed the futures of countless Baylor students.
Extraordinary Stories are unfolding at Baylor.
Set in motion before students ever set foot on our campus, their stories continue wherever their feet carry them. Like A.A. and Marjorie Hyden, you can write your own chapter in the life of a remarkable Baylor student. Baylor graduates are changing the world. And every gift, no matter the size, helps them get there. Make your gift today.