Austin Couple Selected 2008 Baylor Parents Of The Year

Oct. 9, 2008

Contact: Judy Maggard, Director of Parent Programs, Baylor University, (254) 710-2561

WACO, Texas -- Jim and Joanna Heffington Nelson of Austin have been named Baylor University's Parents of the Year for 2008. The couple will be honored during the halftime ceremony of the Baylor vs. Iowa State football game Oct. 11 at Floyd Casey Stadium.

"Baylor University and the Baylor Parents League are truly honored to have this opportunity to recognize Jim and Joanna Nelson as our 2008 Parents of the Year," said Judy Maggard, director of parent programs at Baylor. "Along with a deep and abiding love of Baylor University, Jim and Joanna have been mentors and encouragers not only to their own children, but to countless young people whose lives have been touched by the servant-like hearts of this exemplary couple."

Jim and Joanna grew up going to every Homecoming and participating in Baylor family traditions, just like their own children, James (BBA '04), Julia (BA '06) and Caroline, who will graduate in December. While a Baylor student, Jim served as president of the Baylor Chamber of Commerce and became the Permanent President of the Class of 1968. An active member with Joanna of Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, Jim also serves on the executive board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

For Jim, who earned his bachelor of arts degree in English in 1968 and a Baylor law degree in 1975, and Joanna, who earned her bachelor's degree in music in 1970, Baylor is more than their alma mater. It's a six-generation-strong family legacy.

"We are so happy, grateful and proud that our children wanted to be a part of and continue this Baylor heritage as they have developed their own identities and contributions to society," Joanna said.

Having attended "every big event, every semester, every year" in support of their own children, the Nelsons are not ready to retire their status of "Baylor parents." Assisting with Baylor Send-off Parties in their hometown of Austin, speaking to groups of new Baylor parents and opening their home to international students is only the short list of how Jim and Joanna are continuing to parent the next generation of Bears.

Joanna has taught music in the Austin area for more than 20 years. Jim, an attorney, also has served as an educator in the area, teaching business law at Austin Community College and the University of Texas at Austin.

For more information, visit or contact Judy Maggard, director of parent programs, at (254) 710-2561.

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