Baylor Unveils New Structure for Eternal Flame Tradition
- The Eternal Flame artistic structure was unveiled during Homecoming 2015 at Extravaganza, which was held at the Waco Convention Center because of rain. (Robert Rogers/Baylor Marketing & Communications)
- The six-foot by nine-foot artistic structure of iron and steel, created by Stanton Studios and Nickell Metalsmiths, immortalizes Baylor's Eternal Flame tradition
- A revered part of Homecoming, the Eternal Flame tradition honors the lives of Baylor basketball players, known as the Immortal Ten, who were killed in a bus-train accident in 1927.
- More than 300 hours of design and craftsmanship from Bryant Stanton of Stanton Studios and John Nickell of Nickell Metalsmiths went into the creation of the new Eternal Flame structure.
Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275
WACO, Texas (Oct. 23, 2015) – As part of Homecoming 2015, Baylor University and the Baylor Chamber of Commerce unveiled a six-foot by nine-foot artistic structure to immortalize the university’s Eternal Flame tradition. A revered part of Homecoming, the Eternal Flame tradition honors the lives of Baylor basketball players, known as the Immortal Ten, who were killed in a bus-train accident in 1927.
The structure was made possible by generous financial support from Bob, B.B.A. ’79, J.D. ’80, and Brenda Barkley; Sue Getterman, B.A. ’50; Andy, B.B.A. ’87, and Kathy Spencer; and the Baylor Chamber of Commerce and more than 300 hours of design and craftsmanship from Bryant Stanton of Stanton Studios and John Nickell of Nickell Metalsmiths. The 1,600-pound structure combines iron and sculpted steel to create three artistic flames surrounding a propane-fueled center torch. The design symbolizes the relationship between the past, present and future of this tradition.
Artisans with Stanton Studios, a family-owned and operated woodworking and metalworking business founded in 1979, are nationally respected for their craftsmanship with stained glass, woodworking and metalworking. Bryant Stanton works alongside his four sons to create original works of art for private residences, public, corporate and church settings.
“Steeped in significance, the Eternal Flame has persisted, even evolved, at pivotal moments in Baylor history. The earliest memorial ceremonies for the Immortal Ten involved candlelight vigils, wherein the Flame was passed from student to student,” said Matt Burchett, director of student activities and faculty advisor for Baylor Chamber of Commerce.
From 1947 to 2008, the story of the Immortal Ten was retold annually during Freshman Mass Meeting, and the Flame, which was housed in a metal canister known as a smudge pot, was handed down to the incoming class as a symbolic welcome into the Baylor family.
In 2009, the tradition evolved from the use of a smudge pot to the iconic passing of a torch, to honor the words of former Baylor President Samuel Palmer Brooks: “To you seniors of the past, of the present, of the future, I entrust the care of Baylor University. To you I hand the torch.”
“The new sculpture is the immortalization of this tradition that connects and inspires generations of the Baylor family. We are grateful to the donors and to the craftsmen at Stanton Studios and Nickell Metalsmiths for bringing this vision to life and are excited to introduce this new expression of an important tradition to students, alumni and friends at Homecoming,” Burchett said.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.