Giving Thanks

Baylor University students are exceptional. We say it all the time. 

They’re driven. They’re focused. They see their purpose as a calling from God to make a difference in the world. They believe they are called to more than just a profession. They are ready to serve.

Scholarships at Baylor do more than defray tuition costs. Baylor’s students see more than a name on a page when they read their financial aid award letter; they see a member of the Baylor Family who is offering support and helping them on their Baylor journey.

Those journeys are as varied as Baylor’s student body. From a student who wants to nurture the development of young brains through music education to a student whose heart is burdened to serve her friends and neighbors through public health to a student who wants to honor a family member’s legacy by becoming a speech therapist, Baylor’s students each have a calling and a future that is beautifully different, reflective of their God-given gifts that will impact their communities and the world.

That is where these stories meet, with a common thread of faith in God and thankfulness for His provision. It is this faith that pushes them forward to answer a calling in their lives. It is this faith that weaves and binds us together through That Good Old Baylor Line.

The following student stories are a glimpse at where that Line will take us in the future. These stories, shared with gratitude by our students with their scholarship donors, tell a powerful story of how the Baylor Family inspires our students to step boldly into this world, to be lights shining in their communities, because of the support of scholarships.

To all in our Baylor Family who give each year to support student scholarships, we give thanks for you.

Camille Johnson
Camille Johnson, Senior
Ben R. Jr. and Janice Ogletree Endowed Scholarship Fund
Public Health, Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences
Livingston, Texas

“I want to thank you for your support in choosing me as a recipient of the Ben R. Jr. and Janice Ogletree Scholarship Fund. Being a recipient of this scholarship has helped ease my financial situation, especially through the coronavirus pandemic. I have always had a passion and drive for helping people in general and my Native American community, as well. I have seen my community succumb to illnesses that are preventable and have always felt that my community needed a voice or someone to steer them in the right direction. I feel that I could be the person who helps prevent disease or advocate for those who have diseases that can be prevented. After graduating, I plan to seek enrollment in a graduate school program in public health with a concentration of community health. I am very excited for what the future holds.”

Zachary Bartek
Zachary Bartek, Senior
Verna Lou Bissett Pittman Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund
Accounting, Hankamer School of Business
Waco, Texas

“I can’t imagine attending a university that is more equipped for preparing me for my future, and I am very excited for what the rest of this academic year has in store for me. What I am most proud of is that I am a first-generation college student. Being a first-gen student comes with many additional challenges on its own, but I have made the most of it. I have taken a leadership role as a peer mentor for Baylor’s First in Line Success Academy. I am tasked with mentoring a group of first-generation students just like myself this academic year. It has without a doubt been my favorite part of being a student at Baylor. There is something exciting about helping others in a manner that also helps you grow personally.”

Lauren Crandon
Lauren Crandon, Senior
Getterman Family Endowed Scholarship Fund in Music
Choral Music Education, School of Music
Cypress, Texas

“I felt called to music education because I wanted to change the world — or, at the very least, I wanted to do my part to make it a little bit better. In my view, this can be done through ensuring the next generation is nurtured in cognitive development, socioemotional development and a love and understanding of the arts. It is my belief that music education is integral in all of these.

One thing that I’ve been fortunate to research in my time at Baylor is the positive impacts of music education on development. I am excited for the experiences of being in a classroom from the other side of the desk, and I am excited to make contributions to our society that leave a true impact, not mere footprints in the sand to be washed away by the tide. I am proud that I will leave a Baylor legacy full of intense and beautiful music, moving performances, Dean’s List semesters, veritable honor societies, community service and vivacious leadership. I have spent the last three years being a proud and involved Bear and Wacoan, and I see that legacy continuing as I fling my green and gold afar, wherever I end up. I look forward to leading a Lord-centered career and a Lord-centered life as I serve my fellow humans and the gift of music.

Thank you again for your support through my senior year. I hope you know how truly appreciated your stewardship is, and I hope that my journey at Baylor and beyond is one that you’ll be proud to stand behind.”

Marcelo Oliveria
Marcelo Oliveria, Master’s Candidate
Clearwater Baptist Church George W. Truett Theological Seminary Endowed Scholarship
Master’s of Divinity program
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

“I was born and raised in Brazil. Through the instrumentality of the Baptist Missionaries that came to the city of Rio de Janeiro to share the plan of salvation with me, I came to know Jesus as the Lord of my life and the Savior of my soul.

Jesus brought me from a cardboard-box house in the slums of Rio to a real life with purpose and meaning in Him. He called me to the ministry of His Word and brought me to your country for further seminary education in order to know more of Him so that I can best serve Him.

I am here at Truett Seminary today with my wife and son, and I am thankful for the Clearwater Baptist Church George W. Truett Theological Seminary Scholarship for investing in me and giving me the honor of being enabled by God through this higher education agency. Only through Him and you would I ever be able to come this far in my life, and the fact that the trajectory of my life has led me here shows me that for God nothing is impossible.”

Avery Harris
Avery Harris, Senior
Michael L. and Micki Tracy Maris Endowed Scholarship Fund for Gifted Leaders Communications,
College of Arts & Sciences
Edmond, Oklahoma

“As soon as I received the scholarship announcement, I called my parents. We could not believe the news. As I finish my last year at Baylor, I could not be happier to join such an amazing group of alumni who care so deeply about current and future students at Baylor. This scholarship means so much to my family and me because I am one of the three out of four children in my family currently in college. I am also the third child to attend Baylor. We are all fortunate enough to have academic scholarships; however, having three children in college at the same time definitely has its financial challenges. Despite the challenges, Baylor has been beyond worth all of the hard work and hard times, and it is because of the truly incredible family members and alumni such as yourselves, who make this university so worth it.”

Mikaela Hall
Mikaela Hall, Master’s Candidate
Don and Faith Martin Family Foundation Scholarship Fund in Communication Sciences and Disorders
Communication Sciences and Disorders, Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences
Burnsville, Minnesota

“I chose to come to Baylor because of its accelerated program, and because Baylor focuses on our relationship with God as much as they emphasize our academics, which was incredibly alluring. I recently came to my faith when my uncle became sick at the beginning of my junior year and a teammate of mine showed me how peaceful it is when we are in God’s grace. I wanted to continue to be near people who push me academically, clinically and faithfully as I left my undergraduate university with a relationship with God that was still new to me. My supervisors, professors and peers have helped me develop this new faith of mine into a flourishing connection as I continue my studies here.

I am excited to see where God will lead me as He uses my knowledge to help others. 

Again, thank you for your support as I continue this path of mine. I am extremely grateful to be at Baylor, and I know God’s hand guided me through the difficulties to be here.”

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