Parents Weekend, a tradition at Baylor since 1960, is designed as a time for the families of current students to experience some of the best of Baylor together, so it's only fitting that the University also chooses this weekend to announce the 2008 Parents of the Year and First Family of Baylor.
Jim, BA '68, JD '75, and Joanna Heffington Nelson, BA '70, of Austin were named Parents of the Year. Like their own children--James, BBA '04, Julia, BA '06, and Caroline (who will graduate in December)--Jim and Joanna Nelson grew up participating in Baylor traditions. Six generations of their family have attended Baylor.
"We are so happy, grateful and proud that our children wanted to be a part of and continue this Baylor heritage as they have developed their own identities and contributions to society," Joanna said.
Having attended "every big event, every semester, every year" in support of their own children, the Nelsons plan to continue assisting with Baylor Send-off Parties in Austin, speaking to groups of new Baylor parents and opening their home to international students as they continue to parent the next generation of Bears.
The Wolf-Sims family traces its Baylor legacy back four generations to Ralph Wolf, BA '21, who was coach of the men's basketball team when the "Immortal Ten" tragedy occurred in 1927. The family was honored with the 2008 First Family of Baylor Award.
Ralph Wolf survived the horrific bus-train collision and went on to serve as Baylor's athletic director and mayor of Waco. In total, the four generations have seen 33 family members graduate with Baylor degrees, the most recent graduating just last year.
"Baylor was in our blood," said Margaret Wolf Sims Bates, a member of the second generation. "We never thought of going anyplace else. And we are very honored to have been chosen. It is a great time for the family to get together, as well as enjoy the honor of this award."