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Alumni By Choice program shares green and gold spirit

Sept. 11, 1996

By Sharon Mariotti

Lariat Reporter

The Alumni By Choice program offers people, who never had a chance to attend Baylor themselves, a green and gold diploma.

Alumni By Choice began in 1986 to honor friends of the University by making them 'alumni by decree rather than by degree,' said Ray Burchette Jr., executive vice-president of the Baylor Alumni Association.

In those 10 years, approximately 1,900 diplomas have been given out, Burchette said. Every year the nominees come to Baylor for the first home football game weekend of the season to receive their diplomas.

Don Elliott, an alumnus by choice since 1990, said he thinks the program is a fantastic idea.

'Baylor really reaches out to people, not like other schools [like Texas A&M University] where if you're not an Aggie, you're not an Aggie,' Elliott said. 'I was a UT [University of Texas] graduate, but I feel more a part of Baylor than UT. We made a conscious decision to choose Baylor.'

Nominees are honored at a luncheon, hosted by President Robert B. Sloan Jr., preceding the game, Burchette said.

He said the luncheon is followed by a graduation ceremony, at which each nominee learns the 'Good Ol' Baylor Line' and 'Sic'em Bears' and receives a diploma. Baylor's newest alumni then attend the game.

At this year's luncheon, Marrie Beckham will speak about her Alumni By Choice experience. Beckham married a Baylor alumnus when he was in the military. Until then she had never met a Baptist or heard of Baylor. She will tell how she felt as a Baylor outsider, until she was made an alumna by choice, Burchette said.

'This is really just a feel good program,' Burchette said. 'It's a way to say thanks to all the people who love and support Baylor.'

Nominations are taken all year at the Alumni Association office and an announcement usually appears in the spring issue of the Baylor Line.

Anyone can be nominated to be included among the Baylor family by becoming Alumni By Choice.

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