Panhellenic Building Receives Major Gift From Riddle Foundation

Nov. 15, 2000

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Baylor University President Robert B. Sloan Jr. today announced a major gift from The Riddle Foundation of Houston to the long-awaited Panhellenic Building project, which will ceremonially break ground on Feb. 23, 2001. Construction could begin on the $5.5 million project as early as next fall as additional gifts and pledges are pursued.

The two-story, 51,000-square-foot building -- which will be named The Stacy Riddle Forum, after Stacy Riddle Baumgartner, a 1989 Baylor graduate -- will contain nine sorority suites/meeting rooms, a computer lab accessible to all students, a chapel and prayer room, a Panhellenic office and an apartment for a resident manager. The Forum, designed to be expanded to include additional sororities, will be constructed on the south side of the Baylor campus behind Harrington House on Ninth Street and Baylor Avenue.

"We are deeply grateful to The Riddle Foundation for this significant and pivotal gift, one that allows this project to move forward to groundbreaking and eventually to construction," Sloan said. "It also is appropriate that the building be named The Stacy Riddle Forum. The ancient Forum was a place to plan and organize activities. Baylor will soon have its own Forum where Greek women come together to meet, plan activities and coordinate service to others."

"Nearly 20,000 women have been involved in Baylor's Greek system since 1924," said Cathy Pleitz, Panhellenic campaign coordinator in university development. "Today, these groups continue the mission of fostering service and providing personal and scholastic enrichment by developing campus and community leaders, promoting active scholarship, encouraging spiritual growth and providing friendship and support for hundreds of young women at Baylor."

A Houston native, Baumgartner earned her bachelor's degree in journalism in 1989 and was an active member of Kappa Kappa Gamma during her years at Baylor. After graduation, Baumgartner began her own business as a certified legal video specialist, videotaping depositions and courtroom presentations. In 1995, she married Greg Baumgartner, a trial attorney who practices law with her brother, Todd, and father, Don, a 1960 Baylor graduate, in the law firm of Riddle & Baumgartner. She and her husband have two sons and are active civic and professional leaders in their Klein/Cy-Fair community in northwest Houston and charter directors of The Riddle Foundation.

The Riddle Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization, based in Houston, dedicated to providing financial aid and assistance to a wide range of causes. Although the Foundation concentrates its philanthrophy on providing college scholarships to underprivileged high school graduates, it has given several million dollars to various new construction efforts at Baylor, the largest recipient of foundation contributions. Other major institutional recipients are Rice University, Texas A&M University, Make-a-Wish Foundation, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Boys and Girls Country Inc. of Houston and The Ronald McDonald House. The Foundation has six Riddle family board members, all of whom work voluntarily to allow the entire endowment to grow for use as charitable gifts to qualifying students and institutions.

Baylor's Greek sorority system began in 1924 with the chartering of Alpha Omega as the first local women's social service club. Today, more than 1,600 Baylor female students are involved in National Panhellenic Council sororities and annually give more than 100,000 hours of service and approximately $60,000 to the community while maintaining an overall 3.26 grade point average.

Sororities that will have suites in the initial building phase are: Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Delta Pi, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Beta Phi and Zeta Tau Alpha.

The location of the building, on the south side of campus near Interstate 35, also will allow greater accessibility to sorority members who live in residence halls along Eighth Street and to alumnae who continue their participation in chapter activities, Pleitz said.

Construction of this building also benefits the entire university by resolving meeting space issues in other campus buildings and residence halls.

For more information about the building project, call Pleitz at (254) 710-2561.

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