Baylor Legacy Award: Sue Holt Getterman

October 5, 2010

Seventeen years ago, Ted Getterman, BBA '49, JD '51, suffered a series of heart attacks. After a major surgery and a long recovery, Ted and his wife, Sue, BA '50, who met and married at Baylor, needed to take their minds off the seriousness of their situation. They decided to make a bucket list.

"It was before the movie," jokes Mrs. Getterman, a Baylor regent from 2001 to 2010. "We really had not thought of giving large amounts of money, but it just happened that after we sold our company we were able to do so. One of the things on our list was do something for Baylor."

Not sure exactly what to do, the Gettermans became inspired by the story of Victor Newman, a former Baylor Regent who had given scholarships to Baylor.

"I was so moved when I read it; I turned to Ted and said, 'This is what we should do,'" says Getterman.

They started by giving a scholarship to Hankamer School of Business, because both of their fathers were businessmen and Ted earned his degree there.

"Then after that, it was so much fun," she says. "We decided to give a larger gift, and wanted to do something that no one else ever wants to do."

After calling Baylor's development office for ideas, Getterman says they were told hardly anyone made sizable gifts to women's sports at the time. Development officials suggested building a softball stadium.

"We had to think about that, because we had an all-male family: two sons, four grandsons [including two Baylor graduates]," she says. "We had never even seen a softball game. But we talked about it and decided, why not? If that's what Baylor needs, that's what we will do."

Getterman Stadium, the premier softball stadium in the country, opened in 2000. Today, the Gettermans, who are also tremendously active in serving the Waco community, go to every softball game they can.

"If we're well, we're there," says Mrs. Getterman. "We love softball now. The girls -- it's like having all of those granddaughters. They are precious girls."

Fortunately for Baylor students, the Gettermans have never crossed the name "Baylor University" from their bucket list. They have supported many scholarships and programs, including the School of Education, Truett Seminary, the School of Music, Baylor athletics and the Crane Scholars program, providing nine scholarships in all.

The Gettermans have provided significant support to various other projects including the McLane Student Life Center, Stacy Riddle Forum, Floyd Casey Stadium, Ferrell Center, Foreign Student Missions, Memorial Chapel and Martin Museum.

The Gettermans are members of the Old Main Society, Endowed Scholarship Society, Baylor Bear Foundation, Heritage Club and Baylor/Waco Foundation. They have received the Athletic Director's Hall of Honor Achievement Award and Baylor's Huckins and Pat Neff medallions within Baylor's Medallion Fellowship. They also received the Founders Medal, Baylor's highest honor, in 2005. Mrs. Getterman was a member of Baylor's Campaign for Greatness National Steering Committee and Pi Beta Phi and continues to serve on the Honors College Advisory Board and recently served on the Presidential Search Committee that recommended Judge Ken Starr as Baylor's 14th president.

"What makes me most excited is the fact that we have Judge Starr as our new president. Baylor is so fortunate to have him, and I can just see so many new things that are going to happen. He is such a brilliant man," she says.

Serving as a Regent for nine years was one of Getterman's proudest accomplishments.

"Being a Regent and having the chance to play such an integral role in the life of the university meant so much to me because I was very much in favor of [Baylor] 2012. I served all those years, and we did well with virtually all the imperatives except raising the endowment, which can be challenging during difficult economic times."

When the Gettermans step into the batter's box, it's always a grand slam for Baylor.

Recently, they did it again for Baylor softball. The addition of the Getterman Softball Practice Facility, scheduled for dedication on Oct. 7, will continue to help shape Baylor softball into one of the top programs in women's collegiate athletics.

"If you had told us we would be doing this when we were first married and living in a furnished apartment and studying at Baylor, Ted and I would have thought you were crazy," says Getterman. "Every day I'm thankful for the blessings we've received, because the Lord has a plan. When you're living it, you know you don't always realize the plan, but when you get as old as we are, you can look back and see it. Vic Newman may not know how he influenced us, and I hope we'll be an influence on others the way he was to us.

"When I was a small child in Sunday School, any time they passed the little basket, they'd always say, 'The Lord loveth a cheerful giver,' she continues. "I feel that deep down in my heart, Ted and I both love the Lord, and I hope we've been cheerful givers."

Because of the Gettermans cheerfully serving and supporting so many aspects of the university, Baylor students and alumni will continue to benefit for years to come.

Read the Profiles:

Alumnus of the Year: J. Cary Gray
Young Alumna of the Year: Katie Wilhoit Kilpatrick
Pro Ecclesia, Medal Of Service: Dr. Bill Pinson
Pro Texana, Medal Of Service: Sen. Kirk Watson
Baylor Legacy Award: Sadie Jo Black
Baylor Legacy Award: Sue Holt Getterman
Baylor Legacy Award: Harold Riley
Baylor Legacy Award: Clifton Robinson
Baylor Founders Medal: Charles and Mary Alice Wise
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