Baylor to Hold Summer Commencement Exercises Aug. 11

Aug. 10, 2007

by Paige Patton, communication specialist, (254) 710-3321

Baylor University will confer degrees on nearly 500 graduates during summer commencement exercises at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, in the Ferrell Center on the Baylor campus.

Baylor President John M. Lilley will preside over the ceremony and give the traditional message to the graduates. Harold R. Cunningham, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents, will bring greetings, while Dr. Joseph F. Vélez, professor emeritus of Spanish, will act as bearer of the mace.

The ceremony also will include the presentation of two special awards by the Baylor Alumni Association - the Abner V. McCall Humanitarian Award to the Texas Baptist Men, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and the Price Daniel Distinguished Public Service Award to the Honorable Sidney A. Fitzwater, a U.S. District Judge in Dallas.

The Abner V. McCall Humanitarian Award is presented annually to Baylor alumni who have exhibited a Christian response to those situations and persons around them in ways exemplified by the late Baylor President Abner V. McCall.

This is the first time an organization has been chosen to receive the award. Since its founding as a men's mission organization in 1967, Texas Baptist Men has expanded to include nearly 30 ministries across Texas and around the world, fulfilling their motto, "Anyway--Anytime--Anywhere." Its ministries include the Royal Ambassadors program for boys and the Retiree Builders, an organization of senior adults who travel the state to build churches and other ministry centers.

The organization has been heavily involved in disaster relief, beginning with its first effort in 1968 to assist victims of Hurricane Beulah. Members have provided relief to earthquake, hurricane and tornado victims in the U.S. and Central America and have airlifted medical supplies and water purification units to countries including Peru, Iran, Turkey and Zaire. Tommy Malone, president of the organization, will accept the award on behalf of the organization.

The Price Daniel Distinguished Public Service Award is presented annually at Baylor's commencement to an individual closely associated with Baylor whose record both exemplifies the spirit of selfless dedication to public service represented by the life and career of the late Governor Price Daniel and reflects the true meaning of Baylor's motto, "Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana."

At his appointment by President Reagan in 1986, Fitzwater was 32 years old and the youngest federal judge in the U.S. at the time. He is still the country's youngest life-tenured federal judge. Prior to his appointment, Fitzwater served from 1982-1986 as judge of the 298th Judicial District Court of Dallas County. He also practiced law with Vinson & Elkins in Houston and with Rain Harrell Emery Young & Doke in Dallas.

A 1975 graduate of Baylor, he earned a juris doctorate from Baylor Law School in 1976, where he was associate editor of the Baylor Law Review and a member of the 1976 state moot court championship team. Among his Baylor honors are the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the Baylor Alumni Association in 1985; in 1986, the Fort Worth Independent School District selected him as one of their Outstanding Alumni. Fitzwater is married to Nancy Ware Fitzwater, a 1974 Baylor graduate, and they have three sons and one granddaughter. The Fitzwaters are members of First Baptist Church of Dallas.

Following the commencement ceremony, the Baylor Alumni Association will hold its traditional graduation celebration under the tent outside the Ferrell Center. Graduates can visit with professors and join the Alumni Association at a special rate.

On Friday, Aug. 10, the Graduate School will host a dinner for doctoral students, their spouses, department chairs and mentors at 7 p.m. in Barfield Drawing Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center. Reservations can be made by calling the Graduate School at (254) 710-3588.

Baylor's winter commencement exercises will be held in December. George W. Truett Theological Seminary will confer degrees on Friday, Dec. 14, while graduates from Arts and Sciences and related graduate programs, Business, Engineering and Computer Science, Education, Music, Nursing, Social Work and related graduate programs will receive their Baylor degrees on Saturday, Dec. 15.

Spring 2007 commencement ceremonies will be held on Friday, May 16, 2007, for Truett Seminary, and on Saturday, May 17, 2007, for graduates from all other colleges and schools at Baylor.

For more information, go to Baylor's commencement website at

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