This is Living Stories, featuring voices from the collections of the Baylor University Institute for Oral History. I'm Kim Patterson.
A tradition since 1909, Baylor Homecoming invites former graduates from near and far to return to Waco, visit with former classmates and professors, and get lost in the Baylor spirit.
Former Baylor board of trustee Orba Lee Malone recalls an idea he came up with shortly after being the youngest person elected to the board in 1952:
"There were two meetings a year for the whole board: one in the fall and one in the spring. And we alternated: one of those meetings was in Waco, and the other would be in Dallas one year, and the following year it would be in Houston. It would meet at the College of Medicine in Houston—Baylor University Hospital was known as then—in the other meeting. Fall and spring. I remember making a motion very early that we have the fall meeting in Waco to coincide with the homecoming because I'd seen so many of the men were Baylor alumni anyway who many would want to go to homecoming, and I thought we'd even have a better attendance if we had it during the homecoming time: meet on Friday noon of homecoming and then take care of business after lunch, you know, till it's time to go. I sold the board on that."
Malone describes the effect that attending homecoming had on his sons:
"Well, I started taking my wife and boys, older boys. It was a great time. My wife and I never would sit down and talk to any one of our children about going to Baylor. The truth of the matter was, we didn't have to. We started taking them to homecoming before they were started to school. They just got brainwashed that way. I didn't realize. It was my custom, by the way—I put the boys to bed. I'd go in and talk a little while; then we'd have our nighty-night prayers. And they were to be in bed by eight o'clock. And I put them to bed one night. I hear that, well, they're talking. And this is the second and third boys talking at the time. The oldest boy was still up doing some homework. So I went in, in a little while and told them, said, "Well, sons, you know, it's time to go to sleep." And they were having fun talking. "Well, what were you talking about?" And John, the second son, said, "Well, David and I were just talking, Dad, about when we play football for Baylor." (laughter) And those two boys hadn't even started to school yet. But they saw the bear pen and the bears the first thing, and that's the outstanding thing that they remembered about that first trip to Baylor was the bears. But they were hooked."
All five of Malone's children, four sons and a daughter, would attend Baylor, proving that the excitement of a Baylor Homecoming can be hard to shake. Malone remained on the board of trustees until 1965. The board of trustees is now the Baylor Board of Regents, which still meets during homecoming.
Living Stories is heard every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday on 103 point 3 FM, Waco's NPR. For more information about this program or the Institute for Oral History, visit us at baylor.edu/livingstories.
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