Former Baylor University First Lady and Founders Medallion recipient Mary McCall passed away Nov. 13, 2014, at the age of 95. She was the wife of Baylor’s 11th president and chancellor, the late Abner Vernon McCall, who served in that role from 1961 to 1981.
“We celebrate the life and legacy of Mary McCall, whose service to Baylor University was informed by her strong faith and whose dedication touched the lives of so many of our Baylor men and women,” Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr said. “We mourn Mary’s passing, yet we rejoice at her life and Christian legacy. Mary invested in Baylor as a student, a professor’s wife, a parent, an alumna and as First Lady, and for her selfless service, we give heartfelt gratitude.”
In 2008, Baylor presented Mary with the Baylor University Founders Medallion, an honor reserved for men and women whose service and contributions have been unusually significant to the life and future of the University. She received many other awards, honors, accolades and celebrations during her life. The number of alumni and friends who benefited from her wise counsel, generous spirit and graceful humor is greater than Mary or her family will ever know.
“To know Mary McCall was to love her,” Baylor First Lady Alice Starr said. “Mary had such a heart for Baylor’s students and such a pride in her alma mater. In her service as First Lady, she exemplified the values of Christian faith that inspire us all in our own walks of faith today.”
Mary supervised the construction of Allbritton House, which has served as the residence for Baylor presidents and their families since 1975. She established the Lloyd O. Russell Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Abner V. and Mary McCall Scholarship Fund. Mary served as adviser to Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, co-president of Heritage Club and was a charter member of the Endowed Scholarship Society, Old Main Society and The Presidents Club.
In 1995, because of Mary’s unceasing service to her community, then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush honored Mary as a “Yellow Rose of Texas,” a distinction reserved for women who have made significant contributions to their communities and to Texas.
The Baylor family also mourned the passing of retired professors Roger Davis and Ruth Belew in late December. Davis served on the faculty of Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business for nearly 35 years. Belew, who served 20 years as a member of Baylor’s theatre faculty, was the wife of Dr. John Belew, emeritus provost and professor of chemistry.
Additionally, Baylor mourned the passing of Dr. Randy Lofgren, retired associate vice president of constituent engagement, on Dec. 26. He retired in May 2014 after 26 years of dedicated and passionate service to Baylor University, her alumni and friend.