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The Baylor Impact is published quarterly by the Baylor School of Education.

The Baylor Impact
School of Education
Baylor University
One Bear Place #97304
Waco, TX 76798-7304

(254) 710-3111


In the First Person

Leigh Ann Perry Dawson BBA, 1998; MSEd, Sport Management, 2000


In spring 1998, I was a senior at Baylor about to graduate with my BBA in management and unsure of my next step. I worked for recreational sports all four undergraduate years, and I became close with my boss, Deb Kelo. Taking my interest to heart, she mentioned that Jeanne Nowlin, the associate athletic director for women's sports, needed a graduate assistant to start in June. If I worked for Jeanne, I could enroll in the School of Education's sport management graduate program and continue working toward a job in professional sports. I contacted Jeanne and got the assistantship. I had no idea what an impact staying at Baylor for graduate work would have on my life.

When I started courses in June, I knew this was where I was supposed to be. The courses in the sport management program were so relevant to the business side of sports. Class sizes were small, and our group of classmates became a tight-knit family. Our professors were part of that family, and I truly believe this lead to a richer learning experience.

At the end of my coursework, I knew that an internship would be the best in-road to a career in professional sports. In November 1999 I drove to the Astrodome to interview with the vice president of ticket sales. Although he already had hired one intern, I got an internship. It was the beginning of my career with the Astros. I came to the Astros four months before the organization moved to a new ballpark, which is now known as Minute Maid Park. It was an extremely busy time that proved to be an immeasurable learning experience. The internship led to a full-time position as the conference center coordinator for the Astros shortly before the move to the new ballpark.

My nine-and-a-half year career with the Astros included many wonderful experiences. I was part of hosting 400 to 500 events a year, including Super Bowl events for Coca-Cola, Halliburton, and Fox Sports. There were concerts by Jimmy Buffett and Madonna. The Baylor board of regents, the Scott & White hospital board of directors, and the Coca-Cola board of directors all held meetings in our conference center. Memorable events include planning the League Championship Series Gala and Major League Baseball's All-Star Gala in 2004 and the World Series Gala in 2005 (the Astros' first appearance). Outside of baseball, the 41@80 birthday party for former President George H.W. Bush was a spectacular experience.

Being a part of the Astros organization changed my life. I met my husband and fellow Baylor Bear, Kyle Dawson, at the Astros, and I eventually became the mom of a little girl with a passion for baseball just like her parents. I left the Astros in May 2009 in order to have more time with my family. Working in sports is a lifestyle, and one I am proud I chose. My time at Baylor in the sport management master's program and working in the Athletic Department helped prepare me for my career at the Astros and for that I will always be thankful.

In This Issue

•  Welcome
•  Leigh Ann Perry Dawson
•  BARC Grows Community Partnerships
•  Geometry Down Under
•  Partners in Adventure and Learning
•  A Sense of Responsibility
•  Impact tomorrow
•  Downloadable PDF

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