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Cunningham says he wants to make Chapel-Forum student-friendly

Sept. 10, 1996


By Lauren Grillot

Lariat Reporter

Baylor's newly appointed chaplain has been described as a friend, someone to talk to and even 'adorable.' He speaks to students like they are important and treats students like they are his own, but there is more to this man than just Chapel-Forum.

Dr. Milton Cunningham, or 'Squirrel' to those who know him well, entered Baylor as a freshman on June 1, 1945.

Cunningham said he received the nickname 'Squirrel' while serving as manager for the football team. Cunningham's job was to tape the athletes before games and would tear the tape with his front teeth. An athlete gave him the name, and Cunningham said it stuck for the rest of his college career.

' I went in and out of classes so often that I kept the enrollment up,' Cunningham said, 'I didn't do too good at first, but I think I finally got it all together.'

At the end of his undergraduate career, Cunningham said he chose to go to seminary. Upon graduating from seminary, he entered into denominational ministries. He was dean of students at the University of Corpus Christi, but he soon left Texas for the deserts of Africa.

From Corpus Christi, Cunningham traveled to Africa where he remained for 15 years as a missionary and coordinator for mass-media. There, he said he worked with 19 different countries south of the Sahara Desert.

'After 15 years in Africa, I felt that I had done what I had gone there to do, which was God's work,' said Cunningham.

Upon returning to the United States, Cunningham became pastor of a church in Houston. He received the James Huckins Award for meritorious service to the University in 1987 and was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of the University in 1989.

During his time in Houston, he said he was also asked to become a part of the Baylor Board of Regents. He remained a member for 11 years before being asked to become interim chaplain of the University. This is a position that he said he is really excited to hold.

Cunningham said he wants to make Chapel-Forum relevant and have programs from which students can gain.

'I've always wanted to see what could be done with Chapel, and I felt that there were a lot of things that could be done using students and different things,' Cunningham said. 'I want to make Chapel relevant, and make it something that the students would not dread but they would be likely to gain from.'

Cunningham and his wife, Barbara, live in Waco. They have two sons. Milton Cunningham III is a 1978 Baylor graduate who teaches English at an inner-city high school in Boston and is pioneering a mission church. Miller, a 1980 graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University, is the minister of music at a church in Akron, Ohio.

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