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First families of Baylor announced Friday

Sept. 16, 2003

By Amanda Goffinet, reporter

Parents and families were honored this Parents Weekend with awards for their support of Baylor.

The Cates/Garrett family received the First Families of Baylor award, and Randy and Phyllis Patterson were honored as Baylor's 2003 Parents of the Year.

On Friday, the Cates/Garrett family received the First Families of Baylor Award from the Baylor Alumni Association during the intermission of the 7 p.m. After Dark performance in Waco Hall. A reception in their honor also was held following the performance at the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center.

'It was a tremendous honor,' Vernon Garrett Jr., a 1947 graduate of Baylor, said. 'We appreciated it so much. It was kind of a family reunion.'

About 60 members of the Cates/Garrett family were in Waco to receive the award.

The Cates/Garrett Baylor tradition began more than 80 years ago when Bobby Edith Tate Cates entered the university in 1918, according to the family's nomination packet. Vernon Garrett Sr. attended the school from 1923 to 1925 and returned to Baylor later, finishing his degree in 1963.

The two families were not related at the time, but the next generation of Baylor students united the families forever.

Vernon Garrett Jr. and Yvonne Cates married in the 1940s, beginning what would become a long line of Baylor students.

Fifty-two Cates/Garrett family members have attended Baylor and received 51 degrees, according to a press release.

Of these Cates/Garrett Baylor alumni, six became ordained ministers, three became missionaries and 16 met their spouses at Baylor, Vernon Garrett Jr., said.

Six Cates/Garrett's are currently attending Baylor, all second cousins.

One of the six, Mimi Wiggins, a Boerne junior, said attending Baylor is considered an honor in their family.

'Baylor has a special place in all our hearts,' Wiggins said.

Wiggins said her great grandmother Bobby Tate Cates used to make green and gold baby blankets for family members.

'If anyone has Baylor ingrained in them, it's my family,' said Angie Cates, another Cates/Garrett cousin and a Waco senior.

Since 1980, the Baylor Alumni Association annually has given the First Families of Baylor award to a multigenerational alumni family that has shown continuing interest in and support of Baylor, according to a press release.

In another Parents Weekend honor, the Baylor Parents League named Randy and Phyllis Patterson Baylor's 2003 Parents of the Year.

The couple and their two children were honored at halftime during the Baylor-SMU game on Saturday.

Randy Patterson earned his bachelor's degree from Baylor in 1974 and his juris doctorate from Baylor Law School in 1974. Phyllis Wyrick Patterson received her bachelor's degree from Baylor in 1974. The couple met at Baylor and married in 1976.

The Pattersons' oldest son Clint, a junior, is a member of the Baylor Chamber of Commerce and was on steering committee for Welcome Week 2003. Their younger son, Sam, is a senior at Winston Churchill High School in San Antonio.

The Pattersons are life members of the Baylor Alumni Association and members of the Bear Foundation and Founders Club. They have hosted Back-to-Baylor Send-Off Parties and are involved in the Baylor Student Life Advisory Council.

Currently, they are San Antonio representatives to the Baylor Parents League.