Awarded to individuals for professional contributions that have positively impacted the world and Baylor University.
From guiding children, high school and college students to teaching television audiences and Sunday School classes at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church, Bob and Joyce Packard of Waco have worked as a team for over 60 years to touch the lives of tens of thousands of young people both locally and around the world. We honor their significant contributions through the presentation of the Legendary Mentor Award.
Bob and Joyce (BA ’52, MSEd ’57) Packard owe their first date in 1953 to a blind date arranged, quite fittingly, by some of their Baylor students. They were married in Alexander Hall with Baylor President W.R. White presiding.
Joyce’s time at Baylor has included serving two years as assistant dean of women and dean of women living in Alexander Hall. She was also a counselor at Waco’s Richfield High School for 23 years.
Her volunteer activities have included the Waco Welcome Corps, Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau, Baylor Round Table, Baylor President’s Scholarship Initiative, Leadership Waco and Historic Waco Foundation, among others.
Bob Packard is a renowned and beloved professor emeritus of physics and Master Teacher who taught at Baylor for 50 years. “Packard Physics,” his introductory course for non-science majors, was an institution. Several years after retiring in 2002, Bob returned to teach the class again for one semester, and students scrambled for the opportunity to learn from the legendary professor.
A veteran of World War II, Bob is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Texas, where he earned three degrees in physics while working on naval research. He assisted the government of Indonesia in revamping its university physics program and served as a visiting professor in numerous schools in Asia and the U.S. He hosted a Waco television show called “Atomic Age Physics,” sponsored a televised academic challenge program and taught often at Paul Quinn College (formerly in Waco).
Outside the classroom, Bob sponsored student organizations such as Taurus, Circle K and Kappa Omega Tau, which he helped design their award-winning Sing acts. He also served on Baylor’s Athletic Council for years and taught Sunday school classes at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church for decades.
Bob received a number of Baylor and national teaching awards, including Baylor’s Collins Outstanding Professor Award. In 2004, former students, alumni, family and friends of the Packards established an endowed scholarship in his and Joyce’s honor.
In retirement, the Packards remain active in Waco serving as volunteers for various boards and committees. The couple has an exceptional fondness for the young visitors to Baylor’s Mayborn Museum, for which they helped raise funds and where they still volunteer most Friday afternoons.
Give Light is a $1.1 billion comprehensive campaign for the future of Baylor University. The campaign undergirds Illuminate, the University's Academic Strategic Plan, and will impact every aspect of campus life, from academics and athletics to student life and global engagement.