Bill Blackburn, BA ’70, stepped down in May as mayor of Kerrville, TX, after serving two terms. Blackburn, a Baptist minister, served as pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, Kerrville, for 15 years. He also served a church in Shelby County, KY, on the staff of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, and was president of Partners in Ministry. He and his wife Deana have lived in Kerrville for 38 years.
The Dr. Jean A. Boyd Endowed Scholarship in Music, a Hord Challenge Scholarship, was established by family and friends of Jean A. Boyd, BM ’70, MM ’72, PhD, and supports students enrolled in the School of Music.
Judson Edwards, BA ’71, authored Panning for Gold: Looking Back on a Life of Joy [Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 2021].
Michael P. Heiskell, BA ’72, JD ’74, was sworn in as President Elect of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the Association’s annual meeting in Palm Beach, FL. As a former state and federal prosecutor and the owner of the firm Johnson Vaughn & Heiskell in Fort Worth, TX, Heiskell focuses on criminal defense, primarily white collar. He is Past President of the Tarrant County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA), becoming the first African American to separately hold both posts. He is currently serving a three-year term on the Baylor University Board of Regents.
Hon. Ralph H. Walton, Jr., BA ’72, JD ’72, retired after more than 27 years of service as judge of the 355th Judicial District Court in Granbury, Hood County, TX. Judge Walton and his wife, Patsy, BA’ 70, have lived in Hood County since 1974, and they have two daughters and four grandchildren. After his retirement, the Hood County Commissioner’s Court, in recognition of Judge Walton’s years of service to the community, changed the name of the Hood County Justice Center to the Ralph H. Walton Jr. Justice Center. As a Senior District Judge, Judge Walton will continue to serve as a visiting judge.
Janie Markham, BSHE ’73, has lived in northern Michigan since 2005.
Mr. Jimmy D. Wiethorn, BA ’73, of Sugar Land, TX, established the Wiethorn Family Endowed Scholarship. The endowment supports students enrolled in the School of Engineering and Computer Science.
Laura Beth Cotton, BA ’75, of Midland, TX, established the Laura Beth Cotton Alpha Beta Potato Endowed Scholarship. The endowment is a tribute to a special group of Baylor friends more than five decades strong and supports students enrolled in the School of Education who are preparing to become teachers.
Marilea Whatley Lewis, BA ’75, JD ’78, was voted to Best Lawyers in America 2023 in the categories of Family Law, Collaborative Law: Family Law, and Family Law: Mediation. Marilea@d-elaw.com
Gary Kennedy, BBA ’76, retired from State Farm Insurance as an agent after 45 years in August 2021, a company he’s been with since graduating from Baylor. He and his wife Debbie, now live in Gruene, TX. They would love to see old friends and AKPsi brothers if ever in the New Braunfels area.
Tom Myers, BSEd ’76, JD ’79, received the Kelly Frels Lifetime Achievement Award from the State Bar of Texas School Law Section. The award recognizes attorneys who have made outstanding contributions to the practice of school law and for their lifetime contributions to the School Law Section. He has practiced law since 1979 and is a shareholder with Brackett & Ellis, P.C. in Fort Worth, TX. He has been married to Cindy Ridlehoover Myers, BSEd ’77, for 43 years and they live in Arlington, TX.
Shelly Wiest’s, MM ’76, 95-year-old mother Bettie Geis Batt is a huge collegiate sports fan! She was privileged enough to spend her first two years of college at Baylor University. Later, Shelly’s mother married her father and the two of them went to the University of Kansas and finished degrees. Both schools won the NCAA Basketball Championship. Wiest’s mother is pictured wearing her championship shirts with her various mascots. Today, Wiest’s mother lives in her own home in Marion, Kansas, and has no daytime helpers.
Philip Poole, BA ’77, and Terry Barone, BSEd ’77, were honored as life members of the Baptist Communicators Association (BCA) in recognition of their service to the association and the profession. They were honored at BCA’s annual meeting, where they were introduced by Baylor journalism alumna, Elizabeth Young, BA ‘80. Both have communications careers spanning over 40 years and both served as president of BCA; Barone in 1993-94, and Poole in 1994-95. Barone retired in December 2021 after 30 years as director of communications for the California Southern Baptist Convention. Poole retired in April after a second career teaching upper-level public relations courses for the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He retired in July 2018 after 16 years as executive director of marketing and communications for Samford University. At Baylor, both served on the RoundUp staff and worked in what was then known as the Baylor news bureau as students. Poole also served as Baylor PRSSA chapter president in 1976-77.
Jay Allison, BBA ’78, MS ’80, JD ’81, and Jenny Allison, BSEd ’78, MSEd ’80, of Frisco, TX, established the Jay and Jenny Allison Endowed Scholarship in Law, which supports students enrolled in Baylor Law School, and the Jay and Jenny Allison Endowed Scholarship for Truett Seminary, which supports students enrolled in George W. Truett Theological Seminary.
Michael H. Reynolds, BA ‘78, retired from active pastoral ministry and is currently serving as the Bible department chair for Friendship Christian School in Suwanee, GA.
Steven D. Reece, BS ’78, was selected to receive the U.S. Fulbright Scholars Award during the 2022-2023 academic year for Poland. In addition to being a Baylor graduate, he is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned his Master of Divinity degree. Finally, he graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy in leadership from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. He is also a member of the adjunct faculty at Andrews University in the leadership department. Since 2010, Reece has led The Matzevah Foundation (TMF) in its work in Jewish-Christian dialogue by caring for and restoring Jewish cemeteries in Poland. He conducted his doctoral research as a case study of this work, The Third Space: The Meeting of Jew and Christian in the Act of Remembering, Restoring, and Reconciling — A Case Study of the Matzevah Foundation. Based on his experience conducting research, teaching and leading such work, Reece wanted to pursue a post-doctoral teaching and research pathway via the U.S. Fulbright Scholars Program.
Steven Guy, BA ’79, JD ’81, opened his new law firm, Steven R. Guy & Associates PLLC, in Jacksonville, Texas. Steve was previously a partner in the Norman Angle Guy & Brewer.
Charles Weathers, BA ’79, MScD ’83, DDS, of Waco, established the Robert and Melinda Creech Endowed Student Scholarship for Truett Seminary. This scholarship supports the Theology, Ecology, and Food Justice Program at Baylor’s Truett Seminary.