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Seniors plan Immortal 10 memorial gift

Jan. 22, 1997

By Martha Roberts

Lariat Reporter

The 70th anniversary of the tragedy of the Immortal Ten comes just as a Faculty Sculpture Committee is weighing the merits of a proposed memorial.

Committee members could approve the proposal in January, but senior class members are frustrated with what they believe are bureaucratic delays. Those delays, according to members, have slowed fundraising efforts.

The FSC, a nine-member board that oversees approval of all proposed campus sculptures, has yet to give the go-ahead to the senior class for the statue. Until the committee approves the design and also approves the sculptor that the Baylor Chamber of Commerce is endorsing, fundraising efforts cannot begin. The Master Planning Committee, which determines the future layout of all campus stauaries, has already approved the site.

According to Chase Palmer, president of last year's senior class officers, $31,000 of the $200,000 has been raised. An upcoming article in the March issue of The Baylor Line, the quarterly alumni magazine, is expected to generate interest and funds for the project.

Current senior class president Cole Martin, of Abilene, explained that even though some fund raising has already taken place, the senior class needs to wait for the committee's approval to make sure that the sculpture will indeed be commissioned.

'We can't do anything without [the committee's] approval, because where would the money go if there weren't going to be a statue?' Martin said.

However, Martin was optimistic that the sculpture would be approved at the next Sculpture Committee meeting Monday.

The proposal went before the committee more than a year ago; however, it is not unusual for project approvals to take a year or more.

Dr. Wynn Rolf, chairman of the Faculty Sculpture Committee, confirmed that the proposal would be discussed at the upcoming meeting, but declined to discuss details, and could not guarantee that a decision would be reached at that meeting.

The senior class is endorsing Bob Pack, a Sugarland sculptor who has worked for the Pope and portrayed such sports greats as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, for the project. Pack has submitted two designs for the faculty's approval, and despite the long approval process, Martin said that Pack is willing to work with Baylor for as long as it takes.

'He's been real good about waiting,' Martin said.

The accident that claimed the lives of the Immortal Ten occurred on Jan. 22, 1927, in Round Rock, when Baylor's basketball team was traveling to Austin to play against the University of Texas. The team bus stalled on an uneven railroad crossing and was unable to cross before being hit by an oncoming train.

Only 12 passengers of the bus survived. One player, Weir Washam, was saved by his fellow player and best friend James Clyde 'Abe' Kelley, who pushed Washam out a window of the doomed bus just before the collision. Kelley was killed in the crash. Washam went on to graduate in 1928, and has since died.

Each year at Homecoming, Baylor freshmen are told the story of the Immortal Ten at a candlelight memorial service. Afterward, members of the freshman class begin the job of guarding the flame from which the Homecoming bonfire is later lighted.

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