McCall Humanitarian Award To Be Presented To Tyler Alums

  • News Photo 3045
    Jesmarie and Dick Hurst
  • News Photo 3047
    (L to R) - Dr. Dick Hurst of Tyler, Dr. Bill Mitchell and Dr. Mark Long during an August 2003 trip to Iraq.
Aug. 3, 2005

by Judy Prather, BUAA Communications Coordinator, (254) 710- 6431

For the first time in its history, the Baylor Alumni Association will present the Abner V. McCall Humanitarian Award to a couple. The award will be presented during Baylor University's commencement exercises at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, to Dr. C.R. "Dick" Hurst and Jesmarie Harvey Hurst in recognition of their lifestyle of service.

The award is given annually to Baylor graduates who have exhibited a Christian response to situations and persons around them in ways exemplified by the late Judge McCall, who served as Baylor's president from 1961-81.

The Hursts are 1954 Baylor graduates, and Dr. Hurst also earned a degree from Baylor College of Medicine in 1958. He has made almost two dozen medical mission trips in the past several years to countries, such as Thailand, Brazil, Russia, Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq. Jesmarie has accompanied him on about half of those trips, and they have joined local missionaries -- some of them Baylor graduates -- in addressing the often overwhelming medical, educational, nutritional and spiritual needs of the people they served.

Although married and the father of three young children, Dr. Hurst left his practice of family medicine in Tyler after being drafted during the Vietnam War. Most of his new patients were Vietnamese civilians suffering from maladies like malnutrition, tuberculosis and bubonic plague, as well as war wounds. Following a mission trip to Thailand several years later, Dr. Hurst decided to retire early to focus on people like those he had served. Many of the couple's trips have been with organizations like the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, but at least a third have been undertaken on their own, building on connections they made on previous trips.

Once, during a conversation onboard an airplane, Dr. Hurst was talking to a Hindu man, who used the phrase "religion, an accident of birth." Drawing from journals kept since his days in Vietnam, Hurst wrote a book by that title. The Hursts have been deeply devoted to Baylor causes and to their church, First Baptist of Tyler, and have maintained strong civic and denominational involvement locally, state and nationally. They have three sons and six grandchildren.

For more information, contact the Baylor Alumni Association at (254) 710-1121 or go to

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