Baylor University Announces Recipients of Alumni AwardsJan. 23, 2020
WACO, Texas (Jan. 23, 2020) – Baylor University today announced the recipients of the 2019-20 Baylor Alumni Awards, which celebrate the distinctive mission of the University and honor those who achieve remarkable success in a manner consistent with that mission.
“Baylor is honored to have the opportunity to celebrate these members of the Baylor Family for their outstanding contributions to the flourishing of Baylor and society,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “Our awards recognize the powerful impact that Baylor graduates and the members of the extended Baylor community have on the world through leadership and service.”
The Alumni of the Year honor is awarded to a graduate or graduates who have demonstrated remarkable achievement in the previous year. This year’s Alumna of the Year is Kellie (Key) Fischer, who serves as executive vice president and chief financial officer of the Texas Rangers major-league baseball team. She earned a BBA in accounting from Baylor in 1995 and is a Texas CPA.
Fischer joined the Texas Rangers baseball organization in 1999 and also has served in a variety of roles for the Rangers’ former parent company, Southwest Sports Group, and the Dallas Stars. She oversees all financial matters and purchasing for the Texas Rangers and serves on the board of directors for the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation.
Over the past two years, Fischer has been instrumental in a number of the Rangers’ growth initiatives. In addition to aiding the development of an Urban Youth Academy in West Dallas, Fischer was instrumental in the development and construction of the Rangers’ new Dominican Republic baseball academy, which opened in November 2019. She also has been among the organization’s leaders who are bringing to life the development and construction of the team’s new Globe Life Field and Texas Live!, which are set to open in March 2020 in Arlington.
A member of The Dallas Assembly and International Women’s Forum, Fischer is an alumna of Leadership Dallas. She was named the 2010 Chief Financial Officer of the Year for private mid-size companies by the Dallas Business Journal and the 2012 Chief Financial Officer Game Changer of the Year by the Fort Worth Business Press.
The Young Alumni of the Year honor recognizes a graduate age 40 or under who has demonstrated remarkable achievement in the previous year. This year’s Young Alumnus of the Year is Max Muncy, a professional baseball player with the Los Angeles Dodgers. During his Baylor career, Muncy was a freshman All-American in 2010, led the Bears in most major offensive categories in 2011 and was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 2012.
Muncy made his major-league debut as an infielder with the A’s in 2015, appearing in 96 games over two seasons before joining the Dodgers’ system in 2017. In October 2018, he hit a walk-off home run in the 18th inning to win the longest game in World Series history. That season, he hit .263 with 35 home runs and 79 RBI — setting new records for most home runs and RBI in an MLB season by a Baylor alumnus. During a successful 2019 season with the Dodgers, Muncy was selected to the 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
Muncy and wife Kellie (Cline), a 2013 Baylor graduate, make time to give back to the community through organizations like the Dodgers Foundation and Kershaw’s Challenge, a faith-based foundation begun by teammate Clayton Kershaw that serves vulnerable and at-risk children living in Los Angeles, Dallas, Zambia and the Dominican Republic. A two-time All-Big 12 pick who hit .311 with 27 homers in his three-year career at Baylor, Muncy said he didn’t realize until after he left school “that’s exactly where I was supposed to be, that’s exactly where God wanted me to go.”
The Pro Ecclesia Medal of Service is awarded to individuals whose broad contributions to Christian ministry have made an immeasurable impact. Being recognized with the honor this year is Brenda (Rhame) Hauk, CEO and founder of BrightStone, a nonprofit based in Franklin, Tennessee, that provides services for adults living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Hauk earned a BME in organ music in 1971 from Baylor, where she participated in A Capella Choir and the Kappa Theta (Tri Delta) sorority. She earned a master’s degree in special education from Vanderbilt University in 1992.
Dedicated to helping adults with special needs to live a life of fulfillment, Hauk has served BrightStone as executive director since it began in 1999. She has been involved in the special needs community for many years as a teacher, JOBS coordinator, Special Olympics trainer and a resource of expertise for churches and schools. Under Hauk’s leadership, BrightStone provides a range of services from a full curriculum of job skills, computer skills, health and nutrition, to art, music, daily life skills, leisure and learning activities along with supervised transportation.
In addition to offering comprehensive work and social support, BrightStone has purchased 140 acres on which to build a job training, social support and residential campus with an emphasis on enterprise at their 28-acre horticulture center. New programs also will include therapies such as an equestrian program to improve quality of life. Phase One of the campus is expected to open in 2021.
The Pro Texana Medal of Service recognizes an individual whose contributions in furthering the mission of Baylor have made an immeasurable impact in the public or nonprofit sector. This year’s recipient is Kyle Deaver, who has served as mayor of Waco, Texas, since 2016. A third-generation Baylor graduate, Deaver earned a BBA in marketing from Baylor in 1986 and a JD from Baylor Law School in 1993.
Deaver served four years on the Waco City Council and was elected mayor on May 9, 2016. His second two-year term will end in May 2020. During his tenure as mayor, downtown Waco has experienced a rebirth and is in the midst of tremendous growth, and the city has seen a boom in tourism. Downtown Waco has been designated as a Texas Cultural District, and East Waco is rapidly redeveloping. Waco has created a more vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem for startup businesses, and the city council has committed a $300 million, 10-year investment to infrastructure throughout the city.
Deaver is an attorney and businessman. He met his wife, Diane, at Baylor, and both very active in the Waco community. Deaver serves on the board of the Waco Foundation. He has been a board member of the Cameron Park Zoological Society and Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, in addition to serving six years on the Waco Plan Commission. Deaver is in partnership with his brother, John, in their law firm of Deaver and Deaver. They also are directors of American Bank and co-owners of American Guaranty Title.
The awards will be presented as part of a special Baylor Alumni event, Honoring the Bold and Gold, on Feb. 21 in Waco.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 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 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.