Burchette Announces Retirement From Baylor Alumni Association

Sept. 17, 1999

by Larry D. Brumley

Dr. Ray Burchette Jr., executive vice president of the Baylor Alumni Association, has announced his retirement, effective May 31, 2000. A Sherman native and a 1957 Baylor graduate, Burchette has led the 17,000-member organization since June 1, 1991.

"The entire Baylor family owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Ray Burchette for his devoted service to the University and its alumni," said Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. "Under Ray's leadership the Alumni Association has introduced a number of innovative programs and services that have enriched the sense of tradition and community among Baylorites."

The Alumni Association last year completed a major renovation and expansion of the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center. The $2.5 million project added 3,000 square feet to the facility and created an inviting and comfortable home for the association. It was dedicated during Homecoming '98.

"I am very proud of the facility," Burchette said. "It offers the Alumni Association and the University an attractive gathering place. Since we opened the renovated and expanded center last fall, the Dorothy Kronzer Great Hall has been used numerous times by the University and the Association to host conferences, ceremonies, receptions, luncheons, dinners and meetings. It is a beautiful and functional facility."

Burchette also led the Association to establish the official Baylor class ring program, which has been very popular. Available only to Baylor graduates or students who have achieved senior status, the specially designed ring is offered exclusively through the Alumni Association and replaced class rings that were previously offered through various retail outlets. Seniors are presented their class rings by President Robert B. Sloan Jr. during fall and spring ceremonies at the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center.

One of the Association's newest initiatives, The Baylor Legacy program, has created a means for alumni to encourage their children to consider Baylor when it's time to go to college. Children of alumni are sent remembrances on selected birthdays and, when they reach ninth or tenth grade, are invited to campus for a special legacy weekend. More than 3,000 alumni have signed up for the program since it was initiated in 1997.

"Ray has served with great distinction and his contributions to his University and all its alumni have been far reaching," said D. Diane Dillard, president of the Baylor Alumni Association. "Under his leadership our organization became the first university alumni association in America to establish an Internet website featuring easily obtainable information of special interest to former students. While his impending retirement is well earned and deserved, we will miss him very much."

Burchette and his wife, Mona, also a Baylor graduate, plan to remain in Waco. He says he will devote his time to writing and achieving "master gardener" status to further "cultivate" his hobby of gardening. The Burchettes also plan to travel, including making more frequent trips to Seattle, where their son, Matt, a 1989 undergraduate and 1998 master's graduate of Baylor, lives with his wife, Amy, a 1995 Baylor graduate.

Prior to taking over the reigns of the Alumni Association, Burchette was in private practice in Austin as a pastoral counselor and seminar leader in grief and loss recovery. For 25 years he pastored Austin's Highland Park Baptist Church.

An Air Force veteran, Burchette served for six years on the Texas Funeral Service Commission, including a one-year term as chairman. He was a member of the Inauguration Committee for former Gov. Mark White and was president of the Commission on Community Chaplaincy for the Austin Conference of Churches.

His other community service includes the Community Relations Committee for the Texas Sesquicentennial Celebration, the Clergy Advisory Council for Seton Medical Center, the Public Responsibility Committee for the Austin State School, and the Advisory Board for Texas Care for Children.

Burchette also is a past president of the Baylor Alumni Association.

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