The visual symbol of Baylor University unites the rich heritage of three beloved university icons – 1845, the founding date of the University; the statue of Judge Robert Emmett Bledsoe Baylor, founder of the University; and Pat Neff Hall, a central geographic and architectural symbol of the University’s Waco campus.
R.E.B. Baylor was an acclaimed lawyer and Baptist preacher. It is said that he held court by day and preached in the evenings. During his tenure as District Judge, Baylor along with William Tryon and J.G. Thomas prepared the petition that led to the establishment of Baylor University in 1845 “to meet the needs of the current generation of students as well as those of all ages to come.” Established under the Republic of Texas, Baylor is the oldest continuously operating university in the state. The 12-foot bronze statue of Judge Baylor sits atop Texas-quarried pink granite at the end of Founders Mall near the center of campus. Its strong, serene presence oversees the campus and all who pass through the University.
Pat Neff Hall is named in honor of Baylor alumnus and 9th president of the University, Pat Morris Neff. Pat Neff’s legacy of leadership also includes service in the Texas House of Representatives, two terms as governor of the state of Texas, and president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Southern Baptist Convention. Under Neff’s direction the University saw tremendous growth in enrollment and endowment and the campus physically grew to near double its size. Neff believed passionately in education. On the floor of the Texas House of Representatives, Neff once argued, “An educated citizenship is the hope of the country.”
The cornerstone of Pat Neff Hall was laid in December of 1938. This majestic building with its lighted, domed tower is visible for miles around the city. The tower houses the 48-bell McLane Carillon that tolls the hour and plays melodies that can be heard throughout campus at regular intervals during the day. Pat Neff tower shines as a beacon in the night sky glowing green when the Baylor Bears are victorious in a sporting event.
Enveloping the symbols is an arched window. Whether looking into the window to see the powerful legacy of the University or looking out into a future where Baylor graduates enter prepared to live their lives for worldwide leadership and service, this unique symbol tells the story of a university grounded in faith, rich in tradition and steadfast in its commitment to academic excellence.