Prominent Baylor Alumni To Receive Annual Commencement Awards

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Thomas R. Phillips, Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court.
May 5, 2004

Two prominent Baylor University alumni -- one a former seminary president, and the other a Texas Supreme Court Justice -- will receive annual awards during spring commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 15, at the Ferrell Center. The Baylor Alumni Association will present the George W. Truett Distinguished Church Service Award during the 9:30 a.m. ceremony and the Price Daniel Distinguished Public Service Award during the afternoon ceremony at 2:30 p.m.

Dr. Russell Dilday will receive the Truett award, which is presented annually to an individual closely associated with Baylor whose record exemplifies the life and career of the renowned Baptist minister. Thomas R. Phillips, chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, will receive the Daniel award, which is presented annually to a person whose record in public office exemplifies the spirit of selfless dedication to public service represented by the life and career of the late Governor Price Daniel.

Dilday earned his master's in divinity degree and doctorate from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he later served as president from 1978-94. In 1994, he joined the faculty of Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, serving as a distinguished professor for six years and as interim dean for one year. He has since served one year as interim president of Howard Payne University, and is currently chancellor of the B.H. Carroll Theological Institute, an entity developed in 2003 as a new approach to seminary ministerial training.

Dilday was named Distinguished Alumnus at Baylor in 1983 and at Southwestern Seminary in 1979. He is a former president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Home Mission Board, and was selected by Texas Monthly magazine in 1994 as one of the "Texas Twenty" people in the state considered pivotal forces in their respective fields. Dilday is married to Betty Doyen Dilday, a 1952 Baylor graduate, and they have three children who all earned Baylor degrees.

A 1971 Baylor graduate, Phillips received his law degree from Harvard Law School. He was appointed to the state's highest court in 1988, becoming the nation's youngest chief justice and has since been reelected four times. Phillips began his legal career with the Houston law firm of Baker & Botts before serving as district judge for the 280th District Court in Harris County from 1981 to 1988. He recently announced his resignation from the state's highest court effective Sept. 3 to accept a teaching position at the South Texas School of Law at Houston.

Among Phillips's previous honors are Baylor's Distinguished Alumni Award, Baylor Outstanding Young Alumnus, the Award of Merit from the Houston Bar Association, and the Outstanding Young Lawyer of Houston Award. In addition to his duties as chief justice, Phillips serves as president of the conference of Chief Justices ands as a director of the American Judicature Society. He is married to Dr. Lyn Bracewell Phillips, and he has one son and one stepson.

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

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