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Young grads keep spirit alive

March 21, 2003

By Barry Hall

In their last blissful college moments many seniors are gripped with ominous visions of graduating, moving, getting an entry-level job and having only their fellow cubicle companions as friends.

To combat such fears, alumni have organized local chapters where Baylor grads can socialize at ballgames, participate in community service projects, play organized sports and preserve the 'bubble' that lives in the hearts of all Baylor students.

Called the Baylor Young Grads, they have much to offer to the recent graduate.

'The best is when you run into people you lived with in the dorm,' said Allison Pritchard, coordinator for the Dallas chapter. 'That one always brings up some memories.'

The young grads are located in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Washington, D.C. Each chapter has a unique personality and serves a unique role in the lives of its participants.

Participants in the Houston chapter, for instance, will have their own Diadeloso, Houston style, in April. Houston young alumni also have the opportunity to partner with The Baylor Business Network in a new mentoring program. Lead by Don Childress, a 1991 alumnus, the program seeks to enhance the value of a Baylor education by fostering communication between young and older Baylor alumni.

'The program isn't restricted to alums of the business school,' Childress said. 'We are trying to match up mentors along industry lines, hoping that we can all benefit and learn from each other in the real-world community. We're not sure what the demand is yet, but we're confident in our ability to help out the recent grads.'

Dallas alumni focus on social activities, like monthly 'first Thursdays' at Stan's Blue Note and attending Stars and Mavericks games together. The group has year-round teams that play co-ed softball, football, volleyball and soccer.

Holden Thomas, a 2002 alumnus, participates in Dallas young grads activities.

'It's always fun just to see the faces you haven't seen in a while, and catch up with everybody,' Thomas said.

The Fort Worth young grads have a strong emphasis on community involvement. During the Christmas holiday season they organize a city toy drive, and this April the grads will enter a team in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

The young grads program has evolved slowly over the past few years, under the supervision of Brenda Morris, the director of the Baylor Community Network, in Alumni Services.

'Most cities are really active,' Morris said. 'I know they have a lot of fun.'

For more information about the young grads, contact Brenda Morris at 710-2752 or visit the alumni section of the Baylor Web site: http:// www.baylor.edu/alumni/index.php.