Baylor Honors Belton Residents With Founders Medal

  • News Photo 1768
    Baylor President Robert Sloan Jr. presents the Founders Medal to Dr. and Mrs. William Long of Belton.
  • News Photo 1769
    Dr. and Mrs. William Long of Belton were honored Jan. 26 with Baylor's most distinguished award, the Founders Medal.
  • News Photo 1770
    (L to R) The Longs and Dr. Robert B. Sloan Jr. listen to a testimony of Thanksgiving by Baylor student Lauren Mankin, the recipient of the Mamie Boone Endowed Presidential Scholarship.
Jan. 29, 2004

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Belton residents and Baylor University graduates Dr. and Mrs. William Long were presented with their alma mater's most distinguished award - the Founders Medal - during the annual Founders Day celebration Jan. 26 in Waco Hall.

The Founders Medal was established in September 1969 and is given to those men and women whose service and contributions have been significant to the university's growth and prosperity. The celebration marked the 159th anniversary of the signing of the charter for Baylor University on Feb. 1, 1845. The Longs were each presented with the Founders Medal by Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr.

"Will and Mary Long have shared a lifetime association with Baylor and have devoted themselves to empower the university by supporting our great institution through their many gifts of time, talent and financial resources," said former Baylor football coach Grant Teaff, who spoke at the ceremony. "So much of their life has been devoted to Baptist education in the state of Texas that it is only fitting that they be declared founders in the tradition of those who established the university and those who maintained it throughout these past 159 years."

Dr. William Bowman Long attended Baylor from 1939-42 before earning a D.D.S. degree from Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas in 1945 and his M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in 1951. He retired in 2002 after a distinguished 50-year medical practice as physician and owner of Belton Medical Center. He was associated with the Bell County Medical Society and held memberships in the Texas State Medical Association and the American Medical Association. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

A member of First Baptist Church of Belton, Long is a deacon and former chair of deacons. He is a member and past-president of the Belton Lions Club, member and past-president of the Belton Chamber of Commerce, and a former member and president of the Belton ISD board of trustees.

Mary Cole Farrow Long was selected Baylor's Outstanding Senior Woman when she earned her bachelor's degree in 1944. She also received a master's degree from Baylor in 1965 and completed an 18-year career teaching English at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in 1983. After retiring, she researched and wrote four books of genealogy of the Cole, Boone, Farrow and Long families and collaborated with her husband in 1997 on a history of Baylor's satirical student organization, the Nose Brotherhood.

Mary Long also has served as president of several organizations, including the Central Texas Poetry Society, the PTA in various Belton schools, the City Council of PTA and the Women's Missionary Union, and has taught Sunday school at First Baptist Church of Belton.

The Longs have influenced the lives of those at Baylor and beyond as active members of their church and innumerable civic organizations. Dr. Long served on the Baylor Board of Regents for nine years, and he and Mary are members of the Old Main Society, Baylor Development Council and Baylor Alumni Association. In 1994 they were honored with the First Families of Baylor Award, and Mary was named the first Distinguished Baylor Woman by the Central Texas chapter of the Baylor Alumni Association. They served as co-presidents of the association's Heritage Club from 1999-2000.

The Long's four children are Baylor graduates: Dr. William F. Long (BS '73), Mrs. Daryl Long Edwards (BA '70), Dr. Robert John Long (BA '73) and Dr. Linda Long Fletcher (BA '75). Five grandchildren also have earned degrees from Baylor, with a sixth grandchild joining the group in May.

The Longs have faithfully provided philanthropic support to many areas of the university, including The Presidents Club, the Bear Foundation, the Golden Wave Band Club Scholarship, Student Foundation, and numerous academic and athletic excellence funds. In addition, the Longs have supported such special projects as the Reynolds Endowment for University Advancement, McLane Student Life Center, Floyd Casey Stadium grass fields, Grant Teaff Plaza, Homecoming Parade floats, George W. Truett Theological Seminary Building Campaign, Jeanes Discovery Center and the Alumni Center expansion.

Their care for Baylor is further evidenced in their support of students through numerous endowed scholarships, such as the Ernest E. and Sadie Boone Farrow Endowed Academic Scholarship Fund, the Will and Mary Long Endowed Scholarship Fund, the Mamie Boone Endowed Presidential Scholarship Fund, and the Nose Brotherhood Endowed Scholarship Fund. Mary Long also has contributed to the Baylor Library Book Fund in memory of her aunt, Mamie Boone.

During the Founders Day ceremony, Baylor senior Lauren Mankin of Burleson told how her dream of attending Baylor was realized because of the Long's scholarship assistance.

"The Longs believe in education and wanted students like me to have a wonderful Baylor experience, just like they did," Mankin said. "I am now student teaching and will graduate in May with the hopes of ministering to high school students through education, but none of this would be possible without the Longs. They have helped so many students fulfill their dreams of being a student at Baylor and I have shared just one of the many stories that exist simply because of their generosity."

A copy of Baylor's Founders Medal is on permanent exhibition in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The face of the medal bears the likeness of Judge R.E.B. Baylor, with the inscription "Pro Ecclesia Pro Texana." The obverse bears the likeness of Pat Neff Hall with the inscription "Baylor University Founders Medal," plus the name of the recipient and year of presentation.

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