On the 174th anniversary of its founding, Baylor presented the Founders Medal to the City of Waco in recognition of the City’s decades-long support of and partnership with the University.
The Founders Medal, one of the University’s most distinguished awards, was established in 1969 to recognize those whose service and contributions have been unusually significant to the life and future of the University.
“Baylor and the City of Waco share a rich history, a vital partnership and a bright future. The investment the City has made in Baylor is evident throughout the campus, as both Waco and the University have seen tremendous growth over the last decade,” University President Linda A. Livingstone said.
Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver, BBA ’86, JD ’93, said the honor speaks to the continuing and evolving relationship between the City and the University.
“As great as the projects are that Baylor and Waco have worked on so far, I think that the relationship will continue to deepen, and we will do things in the future that we can’t even imagine now,” Deaver said.
The partnership between the City and Baylor formed with the University’s move to Waco in 1886.
“In honor of our partnership, it is our sincere joy to bestow the Founders Medal to the City in recognition of the history we share and in eager expectation of what awaits us together in the future,” Livingstone said.
Some of the most notable examples of the strong partnership between the City of Waco and the University include:
Waco Hall was built in the late 1920s with the help of the Waco community to assure Baylor remained in the City. Construction on Waco Hall began during the presidency of Samuel Brooks, and the dedication occurred May 27, 1930.
Members of the Waco Chamber of Commerce in 1961 prompted then School of Music Dean Daniel Sternberg to develop plans for restarting a Waco symphony to enhance cultural offerings. The Waco Symphony Orchestra continues to be conducted by Baylor faculty, currently under the baton of Dr. Stephen Heyde.
In 1998, the Waco City Council voted to increase the Lake Waco pool by seven feet resulting in the 180-acre Lake Waco Wetlands. The Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research housed here became a research and education partnership between Baylor and the City.
In July 2012, the Waco City Council unanimously approved $35 million in Tax Increment Financing Zone support for construction of McLane Stadium, representing the biggest economic development contribution in McLennan County history and propelling stadium construction forward.
The Waco Mammoth National Monument, which became the 408th unit of the National Park System in July 2015, opened to the public in December 2009 as the Waco Mammoth Site through the combined support of Waco, the Waco Mammoth Foundation and Baylor. The site marks a significant discovery of 22 Columbian mammoths, a camel and the tooth of a saber-tooth cat.
In 2013, the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC) opened its doors with support from the City, the Waco-McLennan County Economic Development Corporation and others across the community. BRIC provides the full range of scientific and technological research, laboratories, prototyping and testing facilities, and more for the Central Texas region.