Stacy Riddle Forum Officially Dedicated

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    Stacy Riddle Baumgartner and Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. cut the the ceremonial ribbon dedicating the Stacy Riddle Forum.
    Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    The Stacy Riddle Forum
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    Members of the Riddle family received special recognition during the dedication of the Stacy Riddle Forum.
    Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    (L to R) - Don Riddle, Stacy Riddle Baumgartner, Jenny Riddle and Cathy Pleitz, Panhellenic building campaign coordinator.
    Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Stacy Riddle Baumgartner
    Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Drayton McLane Jr., chair of the Baylor Board of Regents, thanked Don Riddle, his family and the Riddle Foundation for making Baylor "a better place."
    Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Stacy Riddle Baumgartner with several of her Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority sisters.
    Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Dr. Dub Oliver, dean of student development, welcomed the hundreds of guests who attended the dedication ceremony of the Stacy Riddle Forum.
    Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    Bonnie Cromwell, Chi Omega House Corporation, and Christi Jordan, a member of Chi Omega.
    Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
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    A computer lab in the Stacy Riddle Forum is open to all students. The lab is the first to be located on the southside of campus.
    Clifford S. Cheney IV / Baylor Photography
Feb. 28, 2003

Cloudy and misty weather didn't dampen the spirits of hundreds of Baylor University students, donors and others who attended the official dedication ceremony Feb. 28 of the long-awaited Stacy Riddle Forum.

Weather moved the ceremony indoors to the Forum's chapel. Overflow crowds watched a closed-circuit broadcast in several of the downstairs chapter suites.

In the planning stages for more than 20 years and under construction for nearly 18 months, the $5.5 million facility is located across from Collins Hall on Baylor Avenue between Eighth and Ninth streets. The two-story, 51,000-square-foot building contains nine sorority suites/meeting rooms, a computer lab available to all students, a chapel and prayer room, a Panhellenic office and an apartment for the resident manager.

Among those participating in the dedication ceremony were Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr.; Drayton McLane Jr., chair of the Baylor Board of Regents; and Baylor graduate Stacy Riddle Baumgartner, for whom the forum is named. Baumgartner attended the ceremony with her husband, Greg; her parents, Don and Jenny Riddle; and her brother and sister-in-law, Todd and Michelle.

"Almost 20,000 women have joined one of Baylor's nine national Panhellenic sororities with a mission of fostering service and providing personal and scholastic enrichment, by developing campus and community leaders, promoting active scholarship and encouraging spiritual growth," Sloan said. "We've seen many of these women go on to influence not only the Baylor campus but to have an enormous influence throughout the world."

After cutting the ceremonial ribbon with Sloan, Baumgartner gave special thanks to her family for the honor of having the building bear her name. She also said the pride and thrill of finally seeing the building become a reality will last a lifetime.

"To you ladies here at Baylor and those who will come behind, let me just say that although these bricks and mortar and glitter may fade through the years, the friendships you develop here in this hall will serve as your strength and support and satisfaction for the rest of your lives. So have a ball. May God bless you and all of us as we take our stance as part of that good old Baylor line," she said during the dedication.

A Houston native, Baumgartner earned her bachelor's degree in journalism in 1989 and was an active member of Kappa Kappa Gamma while at Baylor. After graduation, Baumgartner began her own business as a certified legal video specialist, videotaping depositions and courtroom presentations. In 1995, she married Greg Baumgartner, a trial attorney who practices law with her brother, Todd, and father, Don, a 1960 Baylor graduate, in the law firm of Riddle & Baumgartner. She and her husband have two sons and are active civic and professional leaders in their Klein/CyFair community in northwest Houston. Both are charter directors of The Riddle Foundation.

The Riddle Foundation, which contributed a major gift to the project, is a nonprofit charitable organization, based in Houston, dedicated to providing financial aid and assistance to a wide range of causes. Although the Foundation concentrates its philanthropy on providing college scholarships to underprivileged high school graduates, it has given several million dollars to various new construction efforts at Baylor, the largest recipient of foundation contributions. Other major recipients are Rice University, Texas A&M University, Make-a-Wish Foundation and The Ronald McDonald House.

McLane met Don Riddle at a Houston Astros baseball game and found out that they had a Baylor education in common.

"One of the things we need to do in life is to make positive things happen to improve other people's lives and you and your family have certainly contributed to that today," McLane told the Riddle family. "You have really stepped up and made a huge difference and this will make Baylor a much better place."

In addition to the Riddle family, Sloan recognized others who provided generous support for the project, such as Lev and Ella Prichard; Mary McCall and her daughters, Nancy and Linda; the family of Ashley Lea Fuhrmann, a Baylor sophomore who died in an automobile accident in March 2000; Frances Rountree; Koko Lacy; Judy Graves; Kathy Hillman; the late Lucille Brigham; and the late Virginia Crump.

In his remarks, Baylor's president said the Stacy Riddle Forum will provide many benefits for sororities and for the entire university community, such as:

• a permanent home and meeting place for sororities;

• a measure of safety;

• a computer lab on the southside of campus;

• and a prayer room and chapel.

Another benefit, Sloan said, is that construction of the building resolves meeting space issues in other campus buildings and residence halls. The Forum may be expanded in the future to accommodate additional sororities.

The building's exterior also maintains the university's distinctive architecture, Sloan said.

"It is simply a beautiful addition. Our regents are very conscientious that the architecture of this campus be preserved. Also, one of the goals of Baylor 2012, our 10-year vision, is to make the campus more of a pedestrian campus. What is currently a street in front of the building will in years to come become a beautiful walking plaza," Sloan said.

Sororities that have suites in the building are: Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Delta Pi, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Beta Phi and Zeta Tau Alpha. Members began moving into their individual suites in January.

Each suite was open for tours following the dedication ceremony. Kappa Kappa Gamma President Catherine Cutbirth, a senior scheduled to graduate in May, said the Stacy Riddle Forum will be a place of fond memories and good experiences for all members.

"With Baylor having delayed rush, you get to know people outside of just being a Kappa or being a Tri-Delt or being an Alpha Chi Omega. This keeps us all together," Cutbirth said. "You have your room for your sisters and your experience, but it's a home for all of us."

Charitable work is a big part of Baylor's Greek sorority system, which began in 1924 with the chartering of the first local women's social service club. Today, more than 1,600 Baylor female students are involved in National Panhellenic Council sororities and annually give more than 100,000 hours of service and approximately $60,000 to the community while maintaining an overall 3.26 grade point average.

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