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Cosby plans visit to boost university morale

Sept. 2, 2003

By Sandi Villarreal, reporter

Bill Cosby will return to Baylor to play host at a pep rally at 8 p.m. Thursday at Floyd Casey Stadium. The rally will be open to the public, with reserved seating for Baylor students, faculty and staff.

'Because of his previous appearances at Baylor, Cosby has gotten to know some of our students, faculty and staff,' President Robert B. Sloan Jr. said.

'He feels that the impression that some people are getting of Baylor is not consistent with the experiences that he has had here.'

Cosby visited Baylor for Parents Weekend in 2002 and homecoming in 1990.

'Over the years I have come to know some of the outstanding students, faculty and staff at Baylor, and I know it's been a tough couple of months for them,' Cosby said in a teleconference Wednesday.

Cosby called Sloan's office last week and offered to do the pep rally free of charge in order to encourage students and the Baylor and Central Texas communities following the recent scandals involving the Baylor basketball team.

'What has happened is a tragedy, and after hearing about it over and over, I began to think, 'What about the students?' and that is what led me to call President Sloan,' Cosby said.

'It is not to forget what happened, but it is about lifting up the students and making them aware of why they are here.'

A large front section facing the stage will be reserved for Baylor students, faculty and staff. The Waco community also is invited to attend the event, which is free of charge, as well as any out-of-towners who wish to attend.

'When someone of Cosby's stature contacts us, it is really quite an honor,' Sloan said.

'We are grateful for the gift of Bill Cosby to our campus and to our students especially.'

When asked if Cosby would receive any type of award or honorary degree at the rally, Sloan said there may be some surprises.

Tickets are not required, but students, faculty and staff must present an ID to gain access to the reserved seating area.

The gates will open at 6 p.m., and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. No coolers or large backpacks will be allowed into the stadium.