As a young man from Pearsall, Texas, Gale Galloway, BBA ’52, had the academic and the athletic ability to attend any school in the country. He also wasn’t a stranger to a strong work ethic: Galloway’s father died when he was only four, and his mother and four siblings worked together to provide for each other at the height of the Great Depression.
After ruling out Notre Dame for being too far away for his mother to watch his football games, Gale began a train ride to Dallas financed by SMU coaches; however, he hopped off the train in Waco and never regretted the decision.
“I became a believer in Baylor in 1948, and it’s been on my mind, in my prayers, and sometimes in my deeds, every day since,” he says.
“Baylor University was founded on the same Christian principles my parents had, and I felt like I was part of a family there. What Baylor did for me was to perpetuate that commitment of living a Christian life and realizing that you can accomplish all things through Christ.”
In each year that Gale played, the Bears finished the season nationally ranked. He played on the 1951 Orange Bowl team that achieved a national ranking of ninth, the highest postseason ranking of any Baylor team.
“I told coach Briles the other day, ‘You still have your work cut out for you,’” laughs Gale. Being co-captain of the 1951 team and associated with that group was one of the finest things to ever happen to me. We all graduated, all of them were on active duty in the military within 90 days after, and everyone in that group was successful in their fields of endeavor. We even had 10 NFL draft picks in our class.”
A leader on and off the field, Gale was in the Air Force ROTC and became a lieutenant colonel. Although the Chicago Bears drafted him following his time at Baylor, he also was called to active duty and served as an officer in the Air Force until the conclusion of the Korean War.
While in the Air Force, Gale witnessed the crash of a B-36 with several of his comrades aboard. He and several others were prevented from rushing to provide aid to insure the safety of the would-be rescuers from the flaming wreckage. Gale vowed if he ever found himself in a similar situation that he would help and deliver assistance.
Years later, he was in a company plane at Houston’s Hobby Airport when a commuter plane went down less than 100 yards away and careened into several vehicles. Gale and his pilots rescued three people from the wreckage as it spewed 40-foot flames. As a result of his actions, Gale received the Carnegie Foundation’s Medal for Personal Heroism, the highest honor given to a civilian.
He briefly coached at Texas A&I before transitioning into the oil industry, where Gale’s career was devoted to exploring, developing, producing, transporting and marketing oil and natural gas. From beginnings working on a South Texas drilling rig, he rose to the top position of three Fortune 500 corporations.
“My life has involved teamwork, no matter whether it is family, business or athletics. No one man does it all. It’s a team effort,” he says. We’ve had a lot of fun and were very fortunate; but the best thing that ever happened to me is when I met Connie Bird.”
Gale and Connie Bird Galloway, a native of Caldwell, Texas, have been married 48 years. A Baylor Alumna By Choice, she has received the Herbert Reynolds Service Award and the W.R. White Award from Baylor. She holds degrees in psychology from Louisiana State University and the University of Houston and worked in mental heath.
Connie served on the Mental Health Board of Louisiana and the State of Louisiana Historical Commission. She has served on the board of the Houston Symphony and has been involved with a boys orphanage in San Miguel, Mexico. Connie also is actively involved in Austin’s Helping Hand Home for abused children, among other activities.
“After the good Lord and family, Baylor is what we love most,” she says. “We have cherished being part of the Baylor family for so many years.”
Previously, Gale served as board chair and CEO of GLG Energy Inc., a leading independent oil and gas producer. He was also chairman and CEO of LIG Acquisition Corp. and Gas Transmission U.K. Ltd. These interests were sold in 1999, and he retired for the fourth time. Prior to GLG, Gale served as chairman, president and CEO of Entex Inc. and as vice chairman of Arkla Inc. He also was chairman, president and CEO of Celeron Corp. and a board member for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. brand worldwide.
The Galloways have been involved in giving back to Baylor for decades. He was a Baylor Regent from 1990-98 and served as board chair in 1994-95. The couple’s interests have included renovations to Floyd Casey Stadium and its Galloway Suite, among others. They are excited about the quality of Baylor’s president, faculty, staff and many of Baylor’s programs, such as Medical Humanities.
“I have equal or even more interest in Baylor’s academic side than athletics,” Gale says. “I’m prouder of these athletes who get their degrees in three and a half years than I am of their achievements on the field. I’m also enthused by how good a job the development people are doing in raising money at Baylor, particularly for student aid. It’s so important that the private institutions survive and prosper in this country so that students and parents have a choice.”
To encourage his Baylor brethren to maintain a winning attitude, Gale is known to give out business cards that read “BU Can Do” with Philippians 4:13 on the back: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
“I have always felt that if you’re really committed and work hard and you do right, you can do whatever you put your mind to,” he says. “I feel very fortunate to have gone to Baylor. People made a way for me to go and I wouldn’t have been able to go without scholarships. Every once in a while we get letters from people, some probably 40 or 50 years old by now, saying, ‘Thank you for the scholarship and how can I repay you?’ I say, ‘When you get a chance, go help somebody else go to Baylor. We’ll keep this thing going in perpetuity.’”