Baylor Homecoming Includes Friday Dedications of Immortal Ten Memorial, Brooks Village

News Photo 4315
Nov. 1, 2007

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275

On Friday, Baylor University will formally dedicate two significant projects - one that memorializes a fateful and tragic day in Baylor history and the other that celebrates the university's commitment to creating a truly residential campus.

WHAT: Immortal Ten Memorial Dedication
WHEN: 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2
WHERE: Traditions Square on Fifth Street between Pat Neff Hall and the Bill Daniel Student Center
PARTICIPANTS: Baylor President John M. Lilley; Harold Cunningham, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents; Dr. Dub Oliver, vice president for student life; Justin Stohner, men's basketball student manager and a senior accounting major from Dallas; Vince Clark, Baylor Chamber of Commerce alumnus; Chase Palmer, permanent class president of the class of 1996; and Dr. Martha Lou Scott, associate vice president for student life.

WHAT: Brooks Village Dedication
WHEN: 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2. A reception will follow the ceremony. Tours of Brooks Village will be offered from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: The courtyard between Brooks Residential Flats and Brooks Residential College
PARTICIPANTS: President Lilley; Harold Cunningham; Dub Oliver; and Samuel Palmer Brooks III and Brooks Hanson, a senior political science major from Sherman, both descendants of President Samuel Palmer Brooks.

Both events are open to the media and to the public.

Background information on both projects:

Immortal Ten Memorial

More than 10 years ago, Baylor students began an effort to create a memorial for the Immortal Ten. The collaborative effort by students, alumni and friends of the university will culminate Friday, Nov. 2, with the dedication of the Immortal Ten Memorial in Traditions Square, which is located on Fifth Street between Pat Neff Hall and the Bill Daniel Student Center.

Jan. 22, 1927, was a fateful day in Baylor history. The men's basketball team was headed to a crucial game in their race for the 1927 Southwest Conference championship, when they embarked on a rainy trip to the University of Texas at Austin. Scant miles from the team's destination, a train from the IG&N Railroad Co. crashed into the side of the bus. Ten of the 22 players, coaches and fans in the Baylor party were killed. Upon hearing the news back at campus, classes were canceled and a special memorial service convened. Under President Samuel Palmer Brooks' leadership, the university persevered, while always remembering the fallen who became known as the Immortal Ten.

"Since the tragedy of Jan. 22, 1927, the university community has wanted and needed a permanent memorial. The story is told every year at the Freshman Mass Meeting during Homecoming, but there is an importance to a physical memorial as well," said Dr. Dub Oliver, vice president for Student Life. "The sense of place is important at Baylor, and the physical memorial is a place where students, faculty, staff, alumni and others can connect a little more deeply with what it means to be a part of the Baylor family."

The Immortal Ten Memorial initiative started with the senior class of 1996 and its permanent class president, Chase Palmer. Challenged to come up with an idea for their senior class gift, the class noted that there was no tribute to the Immortal Ten on campus and decided to begin a pursuit to fill that void. Gifts from the classes of 1995-2001, as well as other donors, made possible the life-sized Immortal Ten Memorial now installed in Traditions Square.

(Read about the installation of the memorial at

With the memorial comprised of four bronze statues and a bas-relief panel depicting the six other athletes, the bricks on the steps of the monument are from Brooks Hall, which had been home to several of the students who died that day. Baylor commissioned renowned western sculptor Bruce Greene to create the memorial. On the reverse side of the memorial hangs a plaque on which passers-by may read the story of the Immortal Ten. Inscribed, "For they are the we of us," the memorial reminds us of our own mortality and to treasure every moment.

"It's important for students to understand that life is short and anything can happen. Take advantage of your time at Baylor," said Palmer, now an attorney in Marshall. "I want to thank donors to this project for their patience, and I hope they're pleased with the results."

Brooks Village

With the opening of Brooks Village increasing the number of Baylor students living on campus to more than 40 percent, Baylor's newest residential community places the university significantly closer to its Baylor 2012 goal of housing half of Baylor's students on campus.

"As a former resident of the original Brooks Hall, I understand how that facility will be missed," said Baylor University President John M. Lilley. "However, I believe that President Samuel Palmer Brooks would be proud to see how the university has grown and flourished over the years. As we dedicate Brooks Village in his honor, we continue to fulfill his vision for Baylor's significant future."

"One can't help but be inspired by the connections between the original Brooks Hall and the new Brooks Village," Frank Shushok, dean for student learning and engagement, observed. "Many artifacts from Brooks Hall--a bust of Samuel Palmer Brooks, the keystone from the portal and the many cast stone art pieces, for example--are now thoughtfully incorporated within the architecture of Brooks Village. These items speak loudly to the fact that the great Baylor of the past is the reason for the great Baylor of today."

Brooks Village is home to 682 students, the first "class" of whom moved in August 2007, at the beginning of the fall semester. The 252,163-square-foot complex consists of two communities: Brooks Residential College and Brooks Residential Flats.

Brooks Residential College features a library, faculty offices, Robbins Chapel, community spaces especially for residents and the Great Hall for dining, including a special Sunday evening dinner for Brooks residents. The residential college is led by a faculty master, Dr. Doug Henry, who lives on site. By maintaining close relationships with both students and faculty, the faculty master helps foster faculty-student interactions and the sense of community in the college.

For students seeking apartment-style living, Brooks Residential Flats provides a new on-campus option. The facility brings together students of all classifications and of all majors, promoting community among students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to interact.

"There is no substitute for the ideal of residential communities wherein meaningful friendships are forged, serious and life-changing conversations are undertaken, learnedness is held high, and the joys--the life-giving, spirit-lifting joys--of shared human experience are all around," said Henry, who also serves as associate professor of philosophy in the Honors College and director of the Institute for Faith and Learning. "Brooks Village makes it possible for more students to know these great aspects of life at Baylor, and Brooks Residential College underscores our commitment to make it possible to enjoy four years of on-campus residential life."

"We have tried to be very thoughtful about how the buildings are designed, understanding that the environments we create can in fact help build the type of community we seek at Baylor," said Dr. Dub Oliver, vice president for student life. "The academic, social and cultural programming that is part of the design already is resulting in a community of scholars that is close-knit, academically focused, thoughtfully Christian and infused with tradition."

An exceptionally beautiful feature of Brooks Residential College is the Robbins Chapel. Carefully designed under the guidance of "Uncle Bill" and Mary Jo Robbins of Houston, Texas, Robbins Chapel is a theological and artistic complement to the mission of Baylor. The Baylor community appreciates daily the marvelous stained glass program featured in Robbins Chapel.

"Having a chapel in Brooks Residential College emphasizes to the residents that their spiritual walk should not be neglected but pursued. I am a firm believer that if someone comes to college and excels intellectually and socially, but fails to grow in their spiritual walk with the Lord, they have missed out on the thing that matters most in this world," said Bryan Watt, president of the Brooks Residential College Council and senior music major from Thomasville, Ga. "I believe that Robbins Chapel has already enhanced the experience of all the members of Brooks Residential College in a profound way."

Brooks Village advances 2012 imperatives such as establishing an environment where learning can flourish, creating a truly residential campus and constructing useful and aesthetically pleasing physical spaces.

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