Baylor To Honor Distinguished Alumni Jan. 24

Jan. 23, 2004

by Lori Scott Fogleman

The Baylor Alumni Association will honor four graduates during its annual Distinguished Alumni Award banquet at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, in the Barfield Drawing Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center on the Baylor University campus.

This year's honorees are Joel Allison, Carroll Dawson, Dr. Kent Gilbreath and Betty Welch. The award, given annually since 1965 by the independently governed Baylor Alumni Association, recognizes alumni who have excelled in their fields and in their communities following graduation.

A 1970 Baylor graduate, Allison is president and CEO of Baylor Health Care System in Dallas. Following his studies at Baylor, the Jefferson City, Mo., native earned a master's degree in hospital administration from Trinity University. Before joining BHCS in 1993 and becoming president and CEO in 2000, he held executive positions at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene; Methodist Medical Center in St. Joseph, Mo.; Northwest Texas Hospitals/Amarillo Hospital District; and Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi. Allison and his wife, Diane Bailey Allison, also a 1970 Baylor graduate, have three children.

Dawson, a 1960 graduate of Baylor, is general manager of the NBA's Houston Rockets and the WNBA's Houston Comets. As a senior at Alba High School, Dawson led his basketball team to a 44-3 record. He later earned all-America honors at Paris Junior College and all-Southwest Conference honors during his senior year at Baylor. In 1963 he returned to the Bears as assistant coach under Bill Menefee. Dawson became Baylor's head coach in 1973, and in 1980 he joined the coaching staff of the Houston Rockets. He was inducted into the Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998, and in February he will be inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. He has six championship rings -- two with the Rockets and four with the Comets. In 1989 Dawson was struck by lightning on a golf course and lost one eye in the incident. After years of dealing with the injury's complications, Dawson ended his 33-year coaching career in 1996, when he moved to the Rockets' front office. In 2000, he married Sharon Strickland Dawson, a former Baylor classmate, after they were reunited at a Baylor football game.

Gilbreath is professor of economics and The E.M. and Thelma Stevens Chair of Private Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at Baylor. The Valley Mills native earned a degree in economics magna cum laude from Baylor in 1967, a master's degree one year later and his doctorate in economics from the University of Florida in 1971. Now in his 31st year of teaching at Baylor, Gilbreath specializes in economic history, U.S.-Mexico relations, and energy and environmental economics. He has traveled around the world teaching international economics, served several terms as a board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and written two books, Business and the Environment: Toward Common Ground and Red Capitalism: An Analysis of the Navajo Economy. As a Baylor student, he met his wife, Shirley Nims Gilbreath, a 1968 Baylor graduate from Santa Fe, N.M. They have two daughters.

Welch is a linguist and translator for Wycliffe Bible Translators and lives in Tyler. After graduating from Baylor in 1957, she taught school for two years and then joined Wycliffe. Later, she earned a master's degree in linguistics from the University of Michigan. In 1961 Welch spent three months in southern Mexico training for a new career -- translating the Bible for people who do not have it available in their own language. During her career, she has focused on analyzing and writing a previously unwritten language and then translating the Bible into that language for the Tucano people, who live in the Amazon rainforest of southeastern Colombia. Welch first went to Colombia in September 1962, and first came in contact with the Tucano people in July 1963. She continues to work with the Tucanos, helping bring books, including the New Testament, into villages where before there was only a spoken language. In the 1960s, she began creating an alphabet, and now she is creating an Old Testament abridgment and compiling a bilingual dictionary in Tucano and Spanish.

For more information about the Distinguished Alumni Award banquet, call Cheryl Allen at the Baylor Alumni Association at 710-1121.

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