Oct. 28, 2017, is a gold-jersey day in University history.
That is the day Baylor alumnae who were first-year students from 1970 to 1994—when the Baylor Line was a male-only organization—energized McLane Stadium with a joyous Ceremonial Running of the Baylor Line.
And, they did. A sea of gold jerseys stretched across the field as roommates reunited and friendships were renewed.
More than 800 women—former classmates, club members, sorority sisters, and mothers with their daughters or children as current Line members—stormed the field in their new gold jerseys emblazoned with individualized nicknames and graduation years to mark the occasion.
The University invited all women who were first-year students from 1970 to 1994 (graduation years 1974-98) to participate in the ceremonial running. Eligible alumnae who couldn’t attend—or didn’t wish to be on the field—could purchase jerseys online to join in the celebration.
“It’s exciting to see the tremendous response we have had to the call to run the Baylor Line,” Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, PhD, said. “It really illustrates how excited our alumni are, particularly our women alumni, to come back and be able to participate in this fabulous tradition at Baylor.”
For those who might not know about the University’s most visible tradition, the Baylor Line was created in 1970 as a spirit organization for first-year men. The Line formed a human tunnel at Floyd Casey Stadium to cheer the football team onto the field. It became a co-ed organization in 1994. The signature tradition also evolved to standard gold jerseys with class years and personalized monikers.
Stories abounded among the celebrants.
Four women who bonded during their freshman year in North Russell Hall made the run. Debbie Bryant-Smith, BBA ’89, MBA ’90, Chera Bain-Jackson, BS ’89, Jamie Noland-Smith, BBA ’89, and Kristen St. Peter-Brown, BBA ’89, share a story of friendships that stayed strong throughout the ups and downs of life. About a decade following graduation, they began reuniting for annual Labor Day trips to a spa or other destination.
Nolan-Smith, whose son Grayson is a Baylor freshman, didn’t want to miss the chance to run on the same field as her son, and she didn’t want to do it without her sisters. They agreed. The names on their jerseys? MamaSpaBear—1, 2, 3 and 4.
“Baylor is such a huge part of our lives, and to be able to share in this with other Baylor women is special,” Bryant-Smith said. “I’m constantly amazed at the creativity, community, poise and professionalism of Baylor women. It’s exciting to be a part of that community and to share in this with so many other Baylor women running.”
Many took to social media to share thoughts or give shout outs to those who participated.
Dr. Kim Scott, BSEd ’84, MSEd ’86, director of campus recreation, posted the run fulfilled a “bucket list” item that sprang from the 1970s when her parents would drop her off in the stadium end zone during football games. Her jersey read Doc Scoot.
She wrote, “I also witnessed God at work in the tunnel as we were queuing up. A 1980 alum was standing just to my right … we started talking only to find out that she had just lost a son. She was running in his honor. On my left was Becky Frame who was running in [her son] Jared’s honor. They talked, embraced, shed tears of humanity, motherhood, and grief; then exchanged numbers. God was there binding up the broken-hearted.”