The story of Valeria Gutierrez’s journey to Baylor begins all the way back in third grade. During “College Week” at her elementary school in Plano, her teacher shared memories of being a Baylor student. The teacher talked about football games, the Homecoming parade, Diadeloso and the bear mascots.
“I instantly fell in love with the University,” Valeria said. “My desire to attend Baylor only grew more as I heard about its remarkable education program, and I was not able to shake the feeling that this was the place the Lord had chosen for me many years in advance.”
Valeria is in the Class of 2020 pursuing a BSEd in secondary education with a major in secondary mathematics. And during her Baylor journey, another Baylor graduate has become important to her — Bettye Sparkman Bass. Although Valeria never met Bettye, she said that Bettye has truly changed her life.
That’s because Valeria is a recipient of the Bettye Sparkman Bass Endowed Scholarship Fund in Education, which Bettye established through a bequest in her estate plans before her death in 2014.
“This scholarship has been a gift and an answered prayer from God,” Valeria said. “Receiving it affirmed God’s sovereignty in my college process and his ability to open doors where doors needed to be opened.”
Bettye Sparkman Bass earned her bachelor of arts from Baylor in 1945, and she faithfully supported Baylor athletics and George W. truett Theological Seminary over the years. She was married to Franklin Bass, who died in 1996, and they had three children who all proudly attended Baylor: Rebecca Bass, att. ’79-’80; Robbie Bass, BA ’73; and Dr. Harold F. Bass Jr., BA ’71.
The endowed scholarship Bettye established will forever connect her Baylor family to new members of the Baylor Family like Valeria.
For her part, Valeria is making the most out of her opportunity to study at Baylor, where there is a long track record of success in preparing skilled and compassionate educators for remarkable careers.
She said a desire to help others has fueled her interest in becoming a math teacher.
“The idea of helping students learn and facilitating their overall growth as individuals excites me, and math has always been my favorite subject,” she said.
Also the recipient of the President’s Gold Scholarship, Valeria lived in South Russell in the School of Education’s Impact Living-Learning Center and is involved in Highland Baptist Church.
“I am thankful for people like Bettye Sparkman Bass who have participated in the work of God through their giving,” Valeria said. “Bettye was part of God’s miracle in my life, and God has used her gracious giving to help supply my financial needs.”
— Story from Baylor's "To Light the Ways of Time"