Dr. Sonny Whorton, a football letterman (1957-1961) who earned dual degrees in math and physics in 1962, is an internationally recognized authority in biostatistics, epidemiology and environmental toxicology. On Saturday, September 21, he was inducted into Baylor's Wall of Honor. This award is open to any Baylor letterwinner and graduate who has achieved prominence or honor because of meritorious accomplishments in public or private life following their Baylor athletic career. In addition, each member of the Wall of Honor will have brought positive public recognition, credit and honor to Baylor University and the Baylor Athletic Department.
Dr. Wharton served as a consultant in statistics to local, state and federal agencies and to private enterprise for over 50 years. Then-Texas Governor Mark White, a close friend and fraternity brother of Whorton's at Baylor, appointed him as a Commissioner and Chairman of the Texas Radioactive Waste Authority and an honorary Admiral in the Texas Navy.
After his senior year at Baylor, Dr. Whorton declined an offer from coach, and friend, Sammy Baugh to join the American Football League's New York Titans to accept National Institutes of Health fellowships to obtain his masters and doctorate degrees from Tulane, Stanford and the University of Oklahoma.
Dr. Whorton earned full professorships at both the University of Vermont and, later, the University of Texas Medical School. As Associate Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, he drafted the initial bylaws and academic policies for the new school and remained on the medical and graduate faculties for more than 40 years as a teacher and director of biostatistics programs. He is currently adjunct professor at two UT health institutions and continues collaborations with scientists in the UTMB Center for Biodefense and Emerging Diseases.
Dr. Whorton and his wife, Evangeline Loessin Whorton ('59), have led several community and philanthropic efforts in the Galveston area for over 40 years. He is past president of the Galveston Historical Foundation and received its Pioneer Award for his efforts to purchase and restore the 1877 Elissa, now the Tallship of Texas. Evangeline, a highly decorated wetlands warrior, and Sonny, helped to restore historic Galveston and created Scenic Galveston, to purchase and preserve over 3000 acres of prime wetlands at the entrance to Galveston Island. They joined with Dr. Bert Tate ('62) and Pat Loessin Tate ('62) to donate the Loessin Room in the Baylor Student Union Builing.