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Alumni honored at banquet

Jan. 21, 1997

By Lisa Zapata

Lariat Staff Writer

With the Baylor Line playing in the background, the Baylor University Alumni Association commenced its 22nd annual Distinguished Alumni Banquet, Friday in the Barfield Drawing Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center.

The honorees for this year's banquet were A.W. 'Bill' Bailey Jr., former University regent; Coach Clyde Hart, head track coach and associate athletic director; Thomas Clifton Mann, former ambassador to Mexico; and Gil A. Stricklin, founder and president of Marketplace Ministries Inc.

Bailey was born in Waco and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a JD degree in 1951.

During the Korean War, Bailey served as first lieutenant in the Judge Advocate's Division of the Air Force.

In 1956, he began his own independent insurance agency.

Bailey has also received the W.R. White Meritorious Service Award and the James Huckins Medal from the University.

He has served as a Trustee and Regent for the University for 18 years and currently serves as a director of the Waco Industrial Foundation and chair of the Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center Board of Development.

'I am very sincerely grateful for this honor,' Bailey said. 'I do have feelings of much gratitude.'

Coach Clyde Hart graduated from the University in 1956 and began his coaching career in Little Rock, Ark. After taking his high school teams to more than 50 straight track meet wins, Hart came back to Baylor in 1963.

Since then, the list of awards and honors increases every year. Hart has been named the Southwest Conferece Indoor Track Coach of the year four times and was named the first president of the Southwest Conference Track Coaches Association.

In both 1989 and 1996, Hart was named the NCAA Indoor Track Coach of the Year.

In 17 of the last 22 years, the University 1600 meter relay teams have reached the NCAA finals and 17 of those runners have won All-American status.

'The people I feel are the reason I am here are the people I have coached in the past 40 years,' Hart said.

Hart expressed his pride in the development of the University's women's team, which has produced 15 All-Americans.

Thomas Mann graduated in 1934 with a B.A. and an L.L.B. degree. He practiced law for eight years in Laredo.

In 1942, he was assigned to the Foreign Service Auxiliary as special assisstant to the United States Ambassador in Montevideo, Uruguay.

He became a service officer in 1947, and in 1950, became the director of Middle American affairs.

He was later appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs in 1957.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy, chose Mann to be the U.S. ambassador to Mexico. President Johnson later appointed Mann to the nation's top three desks simunltaneously: secretary of state for economic affairs, special assisstant to the president and director of Alliance for progress.

Accepting the award on Mann's behalf was his son Clifton Mann.

Gil Stricklin graduated with a business degree in 1957 and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the United States Air Force through the University's ROTC program.

Stricklin retired as a a colonel (chaplain) in 1994 and was awarded the Army Legion of Merit, which is one of the highest peacetime medals given.

He attended the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, where he received both a BD and Mdiv degree. He spent six years traveling with Dr. Billy Graham as a special assisstant responsible for media relations.

He then worked for the Baptist General Convention of Texas for 14 years.

In 1984, Stricklin began Marketplace Ministries, which offers cross-denominational chaplain services to more than 100,000 employees and family members.

'There's nobody more surprised about being here than I am,' Stricklin said. 'I appreciate this so much.'

Stricklin said that his Christian faith matured on the University campus, and if the Alumni association made the choice for the recipient of the award based on who loves Baylor, then they made the right choice.

The award was first given in 1965, and 98 people have received the award since then.

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