Baylor Arts & Sciences Spring 2015

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Spring 2015


suffer around the world each day with tropical diseases that have no vaccine. Baylor is working to change the staggering statistics.

>> Professor Roger Kirk is Beating the Odds >> Lynnette Geary Makes Baylor’s Carillon Ring >> Singer Holly Tucker on Finding Her Voice >> Interviewing Madalyn Murray O’Hair


thing most people relate to at Baylor –– even more than athletics –– is health care and health research. This esteemed reputation is based on our accomplishments on the Baylor campus, the historic role the University played in establishing medical training and developing of healthcare in the state, and to growing partnerships with organizations such as Baylor College of Medicine and Baylor Scott & White Health. Collaborations among Baylor University and these other two entities are strengthening, and it’s true that there is power in numbers when it comes to branding. There are two parts that Baylor is focused on in this growing relationship. The first is Baylor’s undergraduate prehealth program, now recognized as one of the best in the nation. The second part is our potential to become even more nationally recognized as a leader in health science research. Actually, the two parts are interconnected. Our undergraduates deserve access to the finest teachers and scholars in the health professions, and should have engaged learning experiences obtained through research activities. Having the fine teachers and scholars on campus to achieve these goals also allows us to be part of the national conversation on healthcare challenges and build a reputation as a nationally recognized research institution. Theme 4 of the College of Arts & Sciences strategic plan A&Spire ( addresses these vision points. For example, it is imperative that we hire more faculty in the sciences equipped with interests and experience that strengthen collaborations with Baylor College of Medicine. This could lead to joint appointments between Baylor and BCM becoming commonplace. Toward this end, we recently signed an agreement between Baylor College of Medicine and Baylor University establishing a joint appointment for professors Peter Hotez (MD, PhD) and Maria Bottzani (PhD). They have been providing valuable services to various entities across the Baylor campus this year, including the Department of Biology. You will learn more about this exciting collaboration in our cover story starting on page 10. In another example of collaboration in the health sciences, Dr. John Wood, the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Scholar in Cancer Research, and Dr. Daniel Romo, the incoming Schotts Professor of Chemistry, will work together on research into organic synthesis and the development of pharmaceuticals. They are also forging new relationships with

faculty in Baylor College of Medicine and the UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. Strength in the health sciences will continue to grow at a rapid pace in the coming years as we hire more faculty to pursue this research area and build the appropriate infrastructure. In our fall 2013 issue we introduced you to Dr. William Hillis, the emeritus Cornelia Marschall Smith Distinguished Professor of Biology who retired recently from Baylor. He is one prominent example of the historical reputation in health sciences that we hold as an institution. Dr. Hillis came to us from Johns Hopkins University in 1981 and has touched the lives of countless Baylor undergraduates with his mentorship. Throughout his career he has stressed the importance of having prehealth students take part in research as undergraduates. In his name, and honoring his many years of unselfish service to Baylor and the health sciences, the College of Arts & Sciences has established the William Hillis Scholars in Biomedical Science Program. We are committed to growing this endowed program that will provide research opportunities to our undergraduate students, helping them be more competitive for acceptance into top medical school and into graduate programs. Health and health-related disciplines reside in other academic units at Baylor besides Arts & Sciences. You might have heard about the recent creation of the Robbins College of Health and Human Science. It consists of the Louise Herrington School of Nursing, the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation (formerly in the School of Education) and the departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Family and Consumer Sciences. The latter two departments resided in the College of Arts & Sciences since their inception many decades ago. While we were sad to see them move, their students will be well served in the new College. As research and instruction in the basic and translational health sciences continues to escalate within the College of Arts & Sciences, it is incumbent upon us to build greater collaborative synergies across Baylor’s academic units and with institutions and groups outside the University. These are just a few examples of why the future of health sciences at Baylor University has never looked brighter.






News & Notes

Updates on students, faculty, staff and alumni


Beating the Odds

After surviving cancer, statistics and psychology professor Roger Kirk has become the longest-serving faculty member in Baylor history

Healing the Least of These


Q&A with Allison Tolman

Award-winning actress Allison Tolman (BFA ’04) talks about Fargo and her latest roles

Because of a new partnership with the Baylor College of Medicine, Baylor University faculty and students are taking on a bigger role in the fight against tropical diseases


First Person

As she finishes her Baylor studies, singer Holly Tucker reflects on how she found her voice


Our Back Pages

Baylor’s first Rhodes Scholar, Ernest “Bull” Adams


Heavy Metal Musician Arts & Sciences staffer Lynnette Geary fills the campus with beautiful music played on the McLane Carillon In the 1970s, Baylor professors sat at the kitchen table of atheist leader Madalyn Murray O’Hair to conduct a series of oral history interviews



Baylor Arts & Sciences is the magazine of the Baylor University College of Arts & Sciences. As the University’s oldest and largest academic unit, the College of Arts & Sciences is a community of 24 academic departments dedicated to the discovery and dissemination of knowledge. It is the foundation upon which all Baylor students’ educational experiences are built. Baylor Arts & Sciences is produced for the College of Arts & Sciences by Baylor’s Division of Marketing and Communications.

Spring 2015

PRESIDENT Ken Starr | INTERIM PROVOST David Garland | DEAN, COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES Lee Nordt DIVISIONAL DEAN FOR HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES Robyn Driskell | DIVISIONAL DEAN FOR SCIENCES Kenneth T. Wilkins EDITOR Randy Fiedler | CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Julie Carlson, Julie Engebretson, Randy Fiedler PHOTOGRAPHY Matthew Minard, Robert Rogers | ART DIRECTION & DESIGN Clayton Thompson, Chelsea Pennington DIRECTORS OF DEVELOPMENT Clayton Ellis, Jim Shepelwich, Rose Youngblood

NEW PROVOST Baylor’s new chief academic officer will start work in June 2015. President and Chancellor Ken Starr has announced that Dr. Edwin Trevathan, the dean and professor of epidemiology in the College for Public Health and Social Justice at Saint Louis University and professor of neurology and pediatrics at SLU’s School of Medicine, will be Baylor’s next executive vice president and provost. He succeeds Dr. Elizabeth Davis, who left Baylor to become president of Furman University in 2014. “We are excited to have Dr. Trevathan as our new provost,” said Dr. Lee Nordt, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “He brings to Baylor a wealth of knowledge across a broad spectrum of academic issues, including the health sciences. He’ll be instrumental in helping us envision new strategies and collaborations as we implement A&Spire, our long-range strategic plan for Arts & Sciences.”

STUDYING ONLINE In the summer of 2015, the Baylor College of Arts & Sciences will begin offering seven online courses to qualified students. They include two courses each from history and religion, and one class each from geography, neuroscience and psychology. The online courses will be divided between the first and second summer terms and may be available to students in residence, in Baylor study abroad programs (with approval from the program director) or to students concurrently enrolled in classes at another two-year or four-year college (with approval from the academic dean). Students will receive Baylor credit for the courses. For more information or to register, visit 2 / BAYLOR ARTS & SCIENCES

MUSICAL THEATRE Beginning in fall 2015, Baylor students pursuing a BFA degree in theatre performance will be able to take advantage of a new concentration in musical theatre. Reflecting an increasing demand from students for musical theatre programs in colleges and universities, Baylor’s musical theatre concentration will require 12 hours of classwork compatible with the existing requirements for the BFA degree. Students accepted into the concentration must maintain an “A” average in all musical theatre classes. At the end of their second and third years of study, students must pass an evaluation from a faculty jury in order to continue in the concentration.

YOU GO, GIRLS The Baylor Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research (CRASR) in the College of Arts & Sciences has been selected to partner with SciGirls Connect, a national effort with the goal of getting young girls engaged in the scientific field. Prior to its partnership with SciGirls, CRASR had begun to initiate after-school science clubs led by female undergraduate and graduate Baylor students for local girls between ages 8 to 12. “It’s good for the young girls to have scientific role models who are female,” said Melissa Mullins, CRASR coordinator and environmental education specialist. “It’s good for the mentors, too, to get out and engage in the community.” After becoming aware of SciGirls during a local training session in Waco, Mullins began to incorporate the SciGirl curriculum into the CRASR after-school clubs. After SciGirls publicized a call for official partners, CRASR was selected and hosted a full day SciGirls educator training workshop on Jan. 31, 2015.

ARTFUL EXITS At the close of the Spring semester, after 25 years at the University teaching painting and drawing, Baylor’s Artist-in-Residence, Karl Umlauf, is retiring from active teaching after the spring 2015 semester. Named Texas State Visual Artist for 2-D in 2012 by the Texas Commission on the Arts, Umlauf has built a dedicated following with his artworks and has influenced hundreds of young artists over the years. More than 50 of his works were featured in a recent retrospective exhibition at Baylor’s Martin Museum of Art. Other Arts & Sciences faculty retiring this spring include: Rita Abercrombie, modern languages and cultures; Dr. David Arnold, mathematics; Dr. Karen Pope, art; and Dr. Darrell Vodopich, biology.

Briefs Two Baylor English professors have received prestigious national awards for their work. Assistant professor Arna Bontemps Hemenway won the 2015 PEN/Hemingway Award for a distinguished first book of fiction for his critically acclaimed short story collection Elegy on Kinderklavier. The book was also selected as one of six finalists in the fiction category of Barnes & Noble’s 2014 Discover Great New Writers Awards. Meanwhile, Dr. Richard Russell, professor of English, has received the Robert Penn Warren-Cleanth Brooks Award for literary scholarship and criticism for 2014 for his book Seamus Heaney’s Regions.

Dr. Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History and codirector of the Program on Historical Studies of Religion in the Institute for Studies of Religion, has received the 2015 Award of Merit from Christianity Today magazine for The Great and Holy War, his recent book on the religious underpinnings of World War I.


Briefs con’t In the 2014 version of the “Live Active Challenge” between Baylor and Oklahoma State University to promote active lifestyles and healthy hearts, Jim Hare, senior academic consultant in the Baylor College of Arts & Sciences, scored the highest total score for a male participant in the Challenge. Overall, Baylor employees taking part in the Live Active Challenge had higher average scores than did their OSU counterparts. Congratulating Hare is Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr.

Dr. Kevin Pinney, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Dr. Mary Lynn Trawick, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, were awarded a $900,000 grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas to conduct trials on a new treatment for breast cancer. The new treatment method they will evaluate, in partnership with a professor from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, would target breast cancer tumors while protecting healthy cells. Dr. Wade Rowatt, professor of psychology and neuroscience, has received a national mentoring award from the American Psychological Association for his contribution to the psychology of religion by mentoring individuals who have become active in the field. In collaboration with students, Rowatt focuses on the study of behavioral and relationship traits such as humility, prejudice and deception.

Dr. Owen Lind, professor of biology, has been recognized for a lifetime of service to limnology –– the study of inland waters –– in Mexico. Lind received a diploma and medal from the Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology and the Mexican Limnological Association. During his 49 years at Baylor, Lind has done extensive published research in Mexico and has taught and advised many young limnologists, a number of them Baylor students.

Two members of the College of Arts & Sciences have won 2014 Baylor Outstanding Staff Awards –– Dr. Viola Osborn, director of information analysis and planning in the College of Arts & Sciences, and Randy Hall, physics lab manager in the Department of Physics.

In an effort to help students who are having their first academic encounter with the Bible when they enroll in a religion class, faculty from Baylor’s religion department and the University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary have worked together to produce a new textbook titled Engaging the Christian Scriptures: An Introduction to the Bible.

USING ART TO EDUCATE Students in a course called “Visual Arts and Healing,” a core course in Baylor’s medical humanities curriculum, have taken the art skills they learned in the course and put them to use to benefit a local community organization. Working with Sue Benner, a textile artist from Dallas, and Baylor art faculty members Mary Ruth Smith and Leah Force, the medical humanities students used newly acquired needlework and sewing skills to make a quilt for Avance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and empowering parents and children from low socioeconomic backgrounds. The quilt will be used as a functional art piece to be displayed in Avance’s new facility in Waco. It features letters of the alphabet that can be used as an educational tool.




In our last issue, we told you about Baylor’s first “Philanthropy and the Public Good” class, where students under the direction of political science lecturer Dr. Andy Hogue would not only learn about the theory and history of philanthropy, but would be given the responsibility of deciding how $100,000 in real money would be allocated to deserving local nonprofit organizations. After a semester-long evaluation process, the 30 students in the class presented grants to eight nonprofit organizations during a reception and award ceremony in December 2014 on the Baylor campus. The recipients included Waco Habitat for Humanity, Family Health Center, Shepherd’s Heart, Communities in Schools for the Heart of Texas, Talitha Koum Institute, Animal Birth Control Clinic, Compassion Ministries and Act Locally Waco. “What a meaningful experience this has been,” Hogue said. “These students are exceptional. They are sharp minds poised for great things, people of mind and heart, who, true to the Baylor mission, value leadership and service.”


Baylor’s “Model” teams have continued their record of high achievement in intercollegiate competition. For the first time in the program’s history, Baylor’s Model United Nations team captured the “Overall Best Delegation” award this past fall at the American Model United Nations International Conference in Chicago, the highest award given at the event. Meanwhile, Baylor’s Model Organization of American States team excelled in fall 2014 as well. They hosted a MOAS regional competition on the Waco campus with 15 universities represented, with the Baylor team earning more than a dozen individual and team awards.

In a course called “Small World Initiative,” Baylor biology students under the guidance of senior lecturer Jacquelyn Duke and lecturer Diane Hartman have been gathering soil samples around Waco to test for bacteria that might combat antibioticresistant infections such as staph and pneumonia. The work is being done in partnership with Yale University.



NEVER TOO YOUNG TO SIC ’EM For some time now, future Baylor Bears have been getting a jump on campus knowledge with a series of children’s board books published by Baylor University Press. The books, featuring illustrations by Arts & Sciences alumnus Matt Wiede (BFA ’02) include titles such as 1 2 3 Baylor: A Little Bear Counting Book and Star, Circle, Baylor: A Little Bear Shapes Book. The latest book in the series is the 18-page Green, Gold, Baylor: A Little Bear Colors Book, which teaches children about colors and includes depictions of McLane Stadium, the Baylor Marina, the Bill Daniel Student Center, the Baylor Sciences Building and campus events such as Diadeloso and a basketball game in the Ferrell Center. Each of the books is available directly from Baylor Press and from retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.



The Guittard family enjoys a long legacy at Baylor dating back to Francis Gevrier Guittard, who taught history at the University from 1902-1950 and served as history chair for 38 years. In addition, The Guittard History Fellowship has provided more than 70 scholarships for deserving graduate students since its creation. Leadership and support have been given by Charles Guittard (BA’ 64), a member of the Arts & Sciences Board of Advocates, John Guittard, Mary Guittard Voegtle and Phil Guittard (BA ’61) At Homecoming 2014, members of the extended Guittard family gathered to award the inaugural Guittard Book Award for a distinguished work of original scholarship in history by a Baylor faculty member or history graduate. The first award went to Dr. Nancy Beck Young (BA ’86), chair and professor of history at the University of Houston, for her book Why We Fight: Congress and the Politics of World War II.

REMEMBER THE ALAMO A Baylor Arts & Sciences alumna has become the first executive director of the Alamo. Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced that in her new position, Rebecca Bridges Dinnin is responsible for all aspects of the Alamo, from fundraising to historic preservation. She also will work with the city of San Antonio’s ongoing efforts to renovate Alamo Plaza. Dinnin earned a BA in journalism and marketing from Baylor in 1988, and is a former communications director for the Baptist General Convention of Texas. 8 / BAYLOR ARTS & & SCIENCES SCIENCES

Briefs Arts & Sciences alumnus Ken Paxton (BA ’85, MBA ’86) was sworn in in January 2015 as the new Texas Attorney General. Paxton had previously served as a Republican member of the Texas Senate, and was Baylor Student Body President in 1985. “Everything we’re doing, everything we do, has got to make it better for the patient.” That’s the view of Arts & Sciences alumnus Joel Allison (BA ’70), the CEO of Baylor Scott and White Health, who was named “CEO of the Year” for 2014 by D Magazine. Baylor Libraries associate professor and Arts & Sciences alumna Kathy Hillman (BA ’73), became only the second woman in history to be elected president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas at the BGCT Annual Meeting in Nov. 2014. Another Baylor Arts & Sciences alumnus has joined the ranks of leaders of Baptist colleges and universities. Dr. J. Bradley Creed (BA ’79) will begin serving July 1 as the fifth president of Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C. He had previously served as dean of Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary and as provost and executive vice president of Samford University.

MARIE MATHIS REMEMBERED Next time you visit the Bill Daniel Student Center on the Baylor campus, be sure to check out a new original work of art hanging there. Acclaimed Hollywood artist and Baylor Arts & Sciences alumnus David Negrón donated his painting of former Student Union director Marie Mathis to the University. Joining Negrón at the official portrait unveiling was Jane Coffey, the daughter of the late Mrs. Mathis. Negron, a 1961 Baylor graduate, worked for Mathis in the Student Union during his years at Baylor. He is a painter who has created many iconic works, including movie posters for the likes of Steven Spielberg and Disney.


An estimated 440 million people worldwide suffer each day with hookworm disease, a debilitating parasitic infection that many, if not most, Americans have never heard of. Four hundred and forty million. Imagine the combined populations of the United States, the United Kingdom and France too sick to hold down a job, plagued by an insidious disease, with the world’s most capable health experts and pharmaceutical companies unable or without incentive to help. It sounds like the backdrop for Hollywood’s next apocalyptic thriller. A fiction. But for the least among us in the world –– the approximately 1.3 billion people who live on virtually no money at all, including 1.65 million families in the U.S. who subsist on less than two dollars a day –– the ravages of hookworm and the 16 other conditions categorized as Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are an inescapable reality. In a major step toward addressing these “diseases of poverty” and related challenges, Baylor University and its College of Arts & Sciences have been honored to welcome to campus this year two of the preeminent experts in the fields of global health, vaccinology and tropical disease –– Dr. Peter Hotez and Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, founding dean and associate dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine (NSTM) at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston. The pair, who have worked together for more than 15 years, are partnering with Baylor University by holding joint appointments to the faculties of both Baylor and BCM. At Baylor, Hotez serves as University Professor of Biology while Bottazzi is Distinguished Professor of Biology. This first-of-its-kind agreement represents a catalytic moment in the evolution of a number of initiatives — even dreams — rooted in Waco, in Houston and throughout the world. à


where rampant illness is a matter of course due to contaminated drinking water and soil. Hotez and Bottazzi said that unfortunately, when it comes to developing vaccines to fight neglected tropical diseases, large multinational for-profit pharmaceutical companies accustomed to reaping billions for the products they manufacture have so far shown only modest interest in what would amount to pro bono vaccine development.


“Just by their name, you can tell neglected tropical diseases have not been prioritized. Not all of them are killer diseases like Ebola,” said Hotez, who was interviewed repeatedly on major networks such as CNN and MSNBC during the 2014 Ebola virus disease outbreak. “Some [tropical diseases] are like Ebola, but many cause disability, shaving IQ points from children and affecting their future wage earnings. They make people too sick to go to work every day, they affect the health of girls and women and they affect the poorest people in the world.” And when Hotez refers to the poor of “the world,” he includes the Americas as well. There is evidence of widespread NTDs across South Texas and in parts of Houston, including Chagas disease — a potentially lifethreatening parasitic infection previously seen chiefly in Latin

America and resulting in almost $1 billion in economic losses annually in the U.S., according to one estimate. It is not difficult to extrapolate the effects on a family whose

In the face of these realities, the fields of tropical medicine and global health in general are areas that are both essentially multidisciplinary and uniquely missional — an ideal fit for Baylor students and faculty living out the University’s stated mission of “worldwide leadership and service.” “We do some work with Rice University [in Houston], sure,” Hotez said. “But one of the things that was so exciting about Baylor University was seeing its commitment to Christian mission in disease-endemic countries. We have Baylor undergraduates going all over the world, and they’re just captivated and fascinated by the

“One of the things that was so exciting about Baylor University was seeing its commitment to Christian mission in diseaseendemic countries.”


breadwinner cannot work due to the aforementioned hookworm disease or schistosomiasis, another parasitic worm infection afflicting an estimated 250 million people (equal to about 80 percent of the total U.S. population). For those of us who have not witnessed it firsthand, we can only imagine the poverty and economic depression shackling entire communities

culture and health issues affecting these countries. We actually developed the National School of Tropical Medicine Summer Institute in response to the demand from these undergrads.” “The National School of Tropical Medicine recognized that Baylor is special because we’re so service-oriented and mission driven,” said Dr. Kenneth Wilkins,

divisional dean for sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences. “Instead of heading to the beach at spring break, our students might go to places such as Mexico or El Salvador to provide health services to those populations. That kind of student is a great match for a summer institute program that studies tropical diseases.” The Institute, funded by the College of Arts & Sciences, is an intensive, two-week program held at BCM in Houston, designed to familiarize Baylor undergraduate students with the field of tropical medicine. In 2013 the Institute’s first cohort comprised 10 students and doubled to 20 the following summer. “The summer institute provided me with a comprehensive understanding and humble appreciation for what it means to truly serve,” said Jolene Damoiseaux, who earned a BS with honors in biology from Baylor in May 2014. “I had the opportunity to work with raw data of a Chagas disease study during our epidemiology lectures, search for parasite eggs in fresh blood and fecal samples and visit the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, which has vaccines for hookworm infection and schistosomiasis already in clinical trials.” University Scholar major Andrew Gross joined the first Institute cohort and hopes to earn both a master’s degree in public health and an MD degree after graduating from Baylor in 2015. “From a broad perspective, the summer institute allowed me to dive into each aspect of public health to a deeper degree than I had before,” Gross said. “We got to look at public health in the U.S. as well as in developing nations. We learned about policy, epidemiology techniques and statistical decision-making behind each of these processes.” Hotez and Bottazzi hope to see the summer institute expand in the coming years, inspiring even more Baylor undergraduates to orient their strengths and talents toward global health through one of the many avenues available. “We also look forward to advising in terms of ‘hot topics’ in the sciences and forging more hands-on research collaborations between Baylor faculty and ourselves as well as other faculty at Baylor College of Medicine,” Bottazzi said. “All of this leads to more training and opportunity for the student body beyond the classroom, even expanding beyond the traditional sciences. à


I think Baylor is interested in an interdisciplinary approach [by] including the social sciences and other areas that create a broader circle around issues of global health.”

DEDICATED DISEASE FIGHTERS The idea that the most effective strategies require more than laboratory scientists and physicians alone is not only reflected in NSTM’s four-fold mission — research, education, clinical activity and advocacy — it’s a conviction evident in both Hotez and Bottazzi’s résumés as well. While trained as a microbiologist and clinical chemist, Bottazzi attended an MBA program at Temple University for a period immediately preceding her appointment to the faculty at George Washington University in 2001. The classes she took piqued an abiding fascination with “the business side of science.” “My time at Temple led me toward spearheading the business of vaccine development in the nonprofit sector –– how do you gather and distribute resources to fund these programs which advance research, education and policy for NTDs?,” Bottazzi said. “It’s not as easy as garnering venture capital or getting Big Pharma involved as with for-profit models.” Meanwhile, the efforts of Hotez, a pediatric physician and microbiologist, have included lobbying for changes and improvements to policy at the federal level since the late 1990s. Recently he authored “Blue Marble Health: A New Presidential Roadmap for Global Povertyrelated Diseases,” a research paper emphasizing the role of the economically powerful G20 nations in controlling NTDs and reducing global poverty. In January 2015, Hotez began serving as U.S. Science Envoy to Saudi Arabia and Morocco, advising the White House, the Department of State and the scientific community regarding potential opportunities



for cooperation, and exploring joint vaccine development for NTDs affecting that region. “Global health requires so many different skill sets,” said Stephanie Allen, who earned a BA in medical humanities and biology with honors from Baylor in 2013, an MS in reproductive and sexual health research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2014 and is currently a medical student at BCM. “One of the greatest aspects about global health, in my opinion, is that there is a place for everybody –– medicine, social work, law, vaccine development, policy, mathematics, epidemiology and so on. It’s something that’s so unique to the field and I hope these joint appointments will really fortify that idea for Baylor students.”

BENEFITS TO BAYLOR In Baylor’s Office of Prehealth Studies, program director Dr. Richard Sanker believes the addition of Hotez and Bottazzi to the biology department faculty will strengthen Baylor’s reputation as a leader in the area of biomedical research. “Dr. Hotez directs an incredibly advanced research group, and he and Dr. Bottazzi are worldrecognized leaders in global health and tropical disease medicine,” Sanker said. “As a consequence, that gravitas in this area is going to draw scholars and students who want to participate, engage and join

the Baylor community. They bring that dimension.” The joint agreement also provides the groundwork for a far-reaching and more reciprocal relationship between Baylor University and BCM — one that Sanker and others expect will offer new, collaborative experiences for current Baylor faculty, in addition to unique hands-on training opportunities for undergraduate prehealth students, particularly those in the premedical program. “Many of the faculty working with students through the Baylor prehealth office are scientists,” said Sanker, who holds an undergraduate degree in biology and a master's and doctorate in education. “With some noted exceptions such as Dr. Lisa Baker and Dr. Lauren Barron, who are both physicians, most of us are biologists, chemists, neuroscientists and so on. We can engage our students in conversations about global health, but as a rule for our rather robust premed population we can’t generate the opportunities that Dr. Hotez, his colleagues and the greater BCM and Texas Medical Center network can help us cultivate and develop for our students.” The interaction with Hotez and Bottazzi and the closer relationship with the NSTM will allow Baylor to build on significant research already being done by faculty in Waco to combat tropical diseases around the world. à

Profiles of Some Neglected Tropical Diseases Hookworm Disease (440 million people infected)

Hookworms are half-inch long parasitic worms that feed on human blood and cause intestinal blood loss leading to anemia. They’re found worldwide, most often in areas with warm, moist climates. Hookworm disease is one of Africa’s leading maternal and child health problems –– an estimated 7 million pregnancies in Africa are complicated by it. Hookworm is transmitted through contaminated soil, and an estimated 440 million people are infected.


(250 million people infected) More than 250 million people suffer from schistosomiasis, a disease caused by parasitic worms that may infect the urinary tract or intestines. It is spread by contact with water containing the parasites, typically in areas with poor sanitation where swimming or bathing water may be contaminated. Most of those infected live in either subSaharan Africa or Brazil. Female genital schistosomiasis is one of Africa’s most common gynecological conditions and is a major factor in Africa’s AIDS epidemic.

Chagas Disease

(8 million people infected) Chagas disease is a parasitic protozoan infection spread by contact with the feces of a blood-sucking insect known as “the kissing bug.” Almost 8 million people are believed to have the infection worldwide, with most victims living in Latin America. It’s estimated that more than 300,000 sufferers live in the United States, and Chagas disease causes an estimated $800-$900 million in economic losses in the U.S. each year.

West Nile Virus In 2013, 48 states within the U.S. reported cases of West Nile Virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control. West Nile Virus can cause neurological disease and death. It is most often spread as the result of being bitten by an infected mosquito, and approximately 80 percent of infected individuals will not show any symptoms. The disease is commonly found in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America and West Asia.

(Content material contributed by Dr. Peter Hotez)

Dr. Cheolho Sim, an assistant professor of biology who is a vector biologist and genomics expert, is developing vaccines designed to block transmission of the Brugia parasite, transmitted by mosquitoes. Molecular biologist Dr. Chris Kearney, associate professor of biology, is also doing research involving mosquitoes. He’s working on genetically engineered flowering plants known as impatiens that will kill mosquitoes carrying NTDs. Meanwhile, Dr. Mary Lynn Trawick, associate professor in chemistry and biochemistry, is developing a new drug designed to attack the parasite in Chagas disease. The drug would kill the parasite by blocking a certain enzyme it requires throughout its lifecycle.

A NEW CONCENTRATION By taking advantage of expertise such as this already at Baylor and combining it with the new interface with Hotez and Bottazzi, Dr. Robert Doyle, chair and professor of biology, said Baylor has been able to launch a new concentration in tropical disease medicine available to undergraduate biology majors beginning in fall 2015. “In the future, Dr. Hotez is very interested in developing a master’s degree program in tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine,” Doyle said. “We’ve developed this new concentration in tropical disease medicine so that later down the pipeline, when BCM’s tropical medicine school establishes their master’s degree, we’ll be able to prepare students with an inside track to success in that degree program.” This new bridge between Baylor University and BCM would not have been possible without the help of Baylor’s president and chancellor, Judge Ken Starr. “One thing that is very special about Baylor University in Waco is Judge Starr,” Hotez said. “He’s just a magnificent individual and was really fascinated by what we were doing. And of course, he’s on the board of BCM. Our new link to Baylor, in large part, reflects his personal involvement.”



“We look forward to…forging more hands-on research collaborations between Baylor faculty and ourselves as well as other faculty at Baylor College of Medicine.” “We’ve never had joint faculty appointments between Baylor University and BCM before,” said Dr. Lee Nordt, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “From the top down, starting with the Board of Regents, everyone has had a keen interest over the past few years in strengthening our relationships across all things Baylor — Baylor Healthcare in Dallas, BCM in Houston, Baylor University right here and Baylor Scott and White Health. Increasing faculty interaction between BCM and Baylor University is just one way to do that.” With one eye ever fixed on the horizon, Hotez believes the strengthened institutional relationship and new joint appointments are foundations for a number of exciting changes. “What I would love to see happen is a unique, iconic building at the Texas Medical Center that jointly houses Baylor University and BCM components, all devoted to diseases of poverty,” he said. “That would be the big vision.”

“The key word of the day is partnership,” Bottazzi said. “NSTM alone, Texas Children’s Hospital alone, BCM alone, Sabin Vaccine Institute alone, Baylor University alone — none of these organizations would be able to move alone in the way we can move together and tackle the global health problems caused by neglected tropical diseases. That’s why we value this partnership with Baylor. That’s the way to go.” n

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Heavy Metal Musician BY JULIE CARLSON

Arts & Sciences staffer Lynnette Geary fills the Baylor air with the ringing sounds of the McLane Carillon

The sound of bells ringing from Pat Neff Hall is as much a part of Baylor culture as live bear mascots, red brick buildings and the Sic ‘Em bear claw. But not everyone knows the woman who is responsible for creating those beautiful chiming melodies –– or the fact that she also plays an important part in the life of the College of Arts & Sciences. Lynnette Geary (BME ’75, MM ’82), Baylor University Carillonneur, serves as assistant to the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. She first became acquainted with carillons while attending Waco’s St. Alban’s Episcopal Church. A carillon is a set of stationary bells hung in a tower and sounded by using closed fists and feet to operate the levers and pedals of the mechanical keyboard. St. Alban’s carillon is a modest example with 36 bells. “I was fascinated with the carillon at St. Alban’s –– it is just such a different musical instrument. When I saw the carillon played I thought it was the greatest thing in the world, so I taught myself to play,” Geary said. “I was the carillonneur at St. Alban’s from 1980 to 1988.” In her days as a Baylor student, Geary majored in music and played the clarinet. After graduation in the 1970s she began her career at Baylor as administrative secretary for the history department, while at the same time starting work on a master’s degree in music history and literature. She left Baylor briefly to spend a year teaching elementary music at a private school, then put in a year as a full-time graduate student before returning to her position in the history department. Geary completed her master’s degree in 1982.

“I worked for history chairman Robert Reid for 15 years. Then I worked for the next chair, Wallace Daniel, for four years until he became dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and then for history chair Jim SoRelle,” Geary said. “In 1999, I moved to the College of Arts & Sciences as Dean Daniel’s assistant.” Geary has served as the assistant to the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Dr. Lee Nordt, for 10 years. She has a full range of duties helping support the administration of Baylor’s oldest and largest academic unit. “The core classes at Baylor are in the College of Arts & Sciences, so we have about 7,000 students at any given time,” Geary said. “As Dean Nordt’s assistant, I am responsible for his calendar and for making sure all documentation is present in tenure reviews and promotions. I interact a lot with the Provost’s Office and our 24 department chairs. I also schedule faculty candidate interviews and keep up with the documents for faculty evaluations, among other duties.” “Lynnette has been an indispensable part of the administrative staff of the Dean’s Office in the College of Arts & Sciences for more than 18 years,” Dean Nordt said. “Her duties require a considerable breadth and depth of knowledge across a broad range of disciplines and programs.” Geary began studying and playing the McLane Carillon in 1991 as a student under the tutelage of the late Dr. Herbert Colvin, Baylor’s first University Carillonneur. “I took lessons in Roxy Grove Hall during my lunch hour,” Geary said. “Dr. Colvin was a wonderful teacher. He taught me about the music and how to approach particular pieces –– the technique was almost secondary.” The McLane Carillon, a gift to Baylor from the Drayton McLane family of Temple, was dedicated on Nov. 4, 1988. The 48-bell carillon was built by the Paccard Bell Foundry in Annecy, France, and is among 119 carillons on the North American continent with a range of four octaves or more. It weighs around 22 tons. The tiny room containing the carillon keyboard is located just under the Pat Neff Hall belfry, and can only be reached by climbing several flights up a steep, narrow spiral staircase. The belfry housing the massive bronze bells is reached via a ladder, requiring yet another daunting climb.


With Colvin as her instructor, Geary played some recitals as his student and in 1996 passed her examination recital at Cohasset, Mass., for the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America. Becoming a carillonneur member is a laborintensive endeavor. The examination process entails recording a set of required advanced pieces, in addition to repertoire pieces, to comprise a 30-minute recital. The recording and scores are submitted to a jury who evaluate the performance, and make a recommendation whether or not the candidate will be invited to perform for the Guild membership at the annual summer congress. If the Guild candidate receives an invitation, their recital performed before the group is judged by a blind jury. If the jury approves the candidate for carillonnuer status, the recommendation is made to the entire Guild membership, who then votes whether or not to accept the candidate as a member. “I was very proud to pass the exam,” Geary said. “I served as a volunteer with Dr. Colvin for the next 10 years, and when he permanently retired in 2006 I was appointed to succeed him as University Carillonneur.” Geary wants to do her part to ensure that the art of the carillon is passed on to future generations. To that end, she typically teaches two students each semester, and even accepted a request by a University of Texas student to mentor him on the instrument. In August 2014, that student performed “That Good Old Baylor Line” on the UT carillon in memory of two Baylor students killed the month before in an automobile accident. To keep her skills sharp, Geary practices during her lunch hour each day, and gives approximately 12 to 14 recitals a year on campus in addition to guest recitals on other campuses or at the Guild conference. “I play carillon concerts the Friday before the winter, spring and summer commencement exercises,” she said. “I also play during Homecoming and Ring Out and give a Christmas concert and a July 4 concert. People will sit in lawn chairs or under the covered walkway of the Draper building to listen.” Baylor’s carillon has long served as a means to help the University family pause and reflect during times of both sadness and joy. “I will toll the bells when I learn about a death in the Baylor family or for national tragedies, such as the Sandy Hook shooting,” Geary said. “I also peal the bells in celebration, such as at Ring Out, and I have pealed the bells when a member of the Baylor family finishes cancer


treatment. I heard that M.D. Anderson Cancer Center does this, and I think it is a wonderful way to use the carillon. Dean Nordt has been very generous giving me the time to work with the carillon.” Nordt believes his assistant should be applauded for juggling her hectic job in the Dean’s Office with those of University Carrillonneur. “I don’t think many people realize how much work is required tending to all of the duties of the carillonneur. Lynnette is practicing, performing or giving lessons during her lunch hour and then again after work nearly every day,” Nordt said. “I honestly had not thought much about the carillon until she became our carillonneur. I have since learned a great deal about this art form, and I’ve joined the many students, faculty and alumni who enjoy listening to Lynnette play, especially on special occasions.” Besides being a way to serve the Baylor community, Geary considers her carillon duties a way to express her artistic side. “I play the carillon instead of keeping house,” she said. “Being the University Carilloneur is more than a part-time job, but it helps me keep things in perspective. The carillon is my creative outlet.” n


“When I saw the carillon played I thought it was the greatest thing in the world, so I taught myself to play.�



Beating the Odds After surviving pancreatic cancer, statistics professor Roger Kirk has gone on to become Baylor’s longest-serving faculty member

When Dr. Roger Kirk began teaching at Baylor, Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House, NASA was brand-new and Toyota had just begun selling cars in the United States. Kirk, who serves as Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Statistics and Master Teacher, joined the Baylor faculty in 1958 –– and his 47 years of service have earned him the distinction of being the longesttenured faculty member in Baylor history. “I am from Ohio originally, but I had friends who did business in Texas and I wanted to see the state,” Kirk said. “A job opened at Baylor, so I applied. I never intended to stay longer than a couple of years, but I fell in love with the University.” Kirk earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music and a PhD in experimental psychology from Ohio State University. He began his career working for the Baldwin Piano and Organ Company in Cincinnati as a senior psychoacoustic engineer –– helping to improve the sound quality of the company’s instruments. But he soon fell in love with teaching while serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Kentucky before coming to Baylor. à

“I have served with six Baylor presidents,” Kirk said. “When I first came to Baylor, the psychology department was housed in a former Air Force barracks building. I remember one time during class a student’s chair leg went through the floor. And now, we are in the marvelous (Baylor Sciences Building).” In those early days at Baylor, Kirk was told that as a new faculty hire he was needed to teach statistics. That early assignment helped him find his calling. He went on to author textbooks on statistics and experimental design, which continue to be updated and are considered cutting-edge reference texts. In fact, his first book –– Experimental Design: Procedures for the Behavioral Sciences –– continues to be the most frequently cited book in its field. In 1991, Kirk founded and served as the first director of Baylor’s Institute of Statistics, which eventually became the Department of Statistical Science. He is known for being innovative and creative when deriving new ways to analyze data,

and is one of the few professors, at Baylor or elsewhere, to have published research over seven consecutive decades. “Psychology is a science, and it is important to understand the role statistics plays in it,” he said. Dr. Charles A. Weaver II, chair and professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor, took a statistics class from Kirk as an undergraduate in the 1980s. “I remember most clearly the patience with which Dr. Kirk dealt with the students who were clearly math-phobic and scared to death of statistics,” Weaver said. “He never proceeded without allowing ample time for questions, and always began the class by reviewing the material covered in the previous lecture. I also remember his ever-present smile and gentleness. He was able to command respect in the classroom without engendering fear, which is much, much harder to do than it sounds.” Kirk has seen a number of changes take place in the fields of psychology and neuropsychology over the decades. He said that in the 1960s, male students made up the majority of psychology majors, and they were interested in experimental psychology and industrial psychology. Today, approximately 80 percent of psychology majors are female and hope to work in clinical settings. Class sizes have also changed. While in the 1960s and 1970s classes were never bigger than about 20 students, Kirk’s undergraduate statistics classes today might have as many as 100 students. And while class sizes have increased, Kirk believes that mathematical competence has declined among undergraduates because of deficiencies in high school instruction. To make sure they acquire the full set of skills needed to make statistical computations, a number of students take advantage of extra help offered at Baylor. “I have students complete a math skills assessment at the beginning of the semester, and those needing additional instruction in algebra receive it,” Kirk said. à

“Psychology is a science, and it is important to understand the role statistics plays in it.” 24 / BAYLOR ARTS & SCIENCES

Kirk has received many accolades for his skills in the classroom. On the national level, the American Psychological Association chose him to receive the 2015 Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award. “A number of Dr. Kirk’s former students and colleagues wrote letters in support of his nomination for the award,” Weaver said. “One theme that runs through these letters is Dr. Kirk’s humility, kindness and dedication. His genuine love of the field of statistics and the enthusiasm with which he approaches teaching creates an ideal atmosphere for learning. He is tireless in working with students –– they enter his class with utmost respect for his accomplishments, but leave with a genuine affection for him as well.” In 1993, Baylor named Kirk a Master Teacher –– the highest permanent honor granted to its faculty members. In 2012 he was named Baylor’s Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year, an annual award presented to a faculty member who makes a superlative contribution to the learning environment. “Dr. Kirk teaches each class as if it is the first class he has ever taught,” said Dr. Jaime DiazGranados, a former chair of Baylor’s psychology and neuroscience department who now is an academic administrator in Washington, D.C. “He teaches with such an enthusiasm that he wins over even his most reluctant students. Students who steadfastly maintain that they are ‘not good with math’ inevitably leave his class with a solid grounding in statistical theory and practice.” Active in a number of professional organizations, Kirk is the 2005 recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Jacob Cohen Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Mentoring. He’s a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and has the rare distinction of being a Fellow of five divisions within the APA. Kirk serves as a Fellow of both the Association for Psychological Science and the American Educational Research Association. and is past president of the Society for Applied Multivariate Research and Division 5 of the American Psychological Association as well as the Southwestern Psychological Association. But Kirk hasn’t spent all his time in Waco teaching and researching. He met his wife Jane Abbott-Kirk, an associate professor of piano at Baylor, in the 1970s. The couple still celebrates special occasions at Waco’s Poppa Rollo’s Pizza, the site of their first date on Jan. 30, 1975. They also enjoy ballroom dancing and can be found dancing or competing at venues in Central Texas. The pair teaches ballroom dance as well, and Kirk has even been known to keep his students’ attention by executing some snazzy dance steps in class.


“Jane had never danced, but she is so musical that it wasn’t a difficult sell to get her to try it.”



“Jane had never danced, but she is so musical that it wasn’t a difficult sell to get her to try it,” Kirk said. In 2012, Kirk faced his toughest challenge when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He took a break from teaching as he underwent surgery and chemotherapy. “I am optimistic about my health, and I feel very fortunate that my doctor caught the cancer early,” he said. “I was able to get the newest treatment at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.” Even though he’s set Baylor’s record for academic longevity, Kirk has no thought of retiring from either teaching or research. “I work at being a good teacher, and I’m very fortunate that I love

to teach. I also find research very satisfying and I have six articles in press currently. I’m lucky that Baylor lets me combine those two passions,” he said. But Diaz-Granados thinks that Baylor and the students who have benefitted from Kirk’s wisdom are the lucky ones. “To hear Roger talk about his work is to know that he loves what he does. After all these years, he still gets giddy when talking about his research and his teaching. His approach to his scholarly work and his teaching craft has been a source of inspiration and aspiration for all who have called him colleague and teacher,” DiazGranados said. n




The never-before-told story of how faculty from the world’s largest Baptist university ended up getting to know the country’s most notorious atheist à


Five Baylor-related road trips made in the early 1970s must surely rank as some of the most unusual journeys ever taken in Texas. That’s because over a threemonth period, three Baylor professors and a graduate student traveled to Austin to record oral history interviews with a personable grandmother named Madalyn Murray O’Hair –– the outspoken atheist called “the most hated woman in America” by Life magazine. O’Hair was the daughter of churchgoing Presbyterians, but rejected religion at an early age. She gained national prominence in 1960 after filing suit against the Baltimore school system to protest the constitutionality of requiring her son to take part in Bible readings and recitations of The Lord’s Prayer. The case eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which voted overwhelmingly in 1963 to ban officially mandated Bible verse reading or prayer in public schools. Suddenly a media celebrity, O’Hair enjoyed acting as a national spokesperson for atheism. She gave a popular interview to Playboy magazine in which she called religion “a crutch” and an “irrational reliance on superstitions and nonsense,” and made national headlines again when she unsuccessfully sued the U.S. government in protest of the Biblical account of creation being broadcast from space in 1968 by the Apollo 8 astronauts. Following a series of moves across the United States and Mexico to outrun legal troubles, in 1965 the former Madalyn Murray landed in Austin, where she married her second husband, Richard O’Hair, and soon established the American Atheist Center.


SETTING THE STAGE The story of how O’Hair and Baylor came together for their historic meetings began in 1970, when a group of interested Baylor faculty members sparked the creation of the Program for Oral History –– the forerunner of today’s Baylor Institute for Oral History. Dr. Thomas Charlton, then an assistant professor of history who had just joined the Baylor faculty, was chosen as the program’s first director. “We had several themes we were trying to develop [at first],” Charlton said. “We had a Texas judicial history project in which we went out and interviewed former Texas Supreme Court justices and appellate court judges in Texas. Another was a business history project. We also had what we called the Religion and Culture Project, where we wanted to interview (concerning) all aspects of religion in Texas.” Indeed, religion was the focus of the oral history program’s very first completed project –– a series of eight interviews which began in January 1971 with Rev. Joseph Martin Dawson, a Baylor graduate who was the longtime pastor of Waco’s First Baptist Church. Around the time the oral history program was getting started, students doing work in Baylor’s J.M. Dawson Institute of ChurchState Studies had adopted some related research interests. “There were a number of graduate students who were thinking about writing their master’s thesis on church-state issues,” Charlton said. “One of them –– Kenneth King –– happened to come to work in the oral history office as a graduate assistant. He was madly collecting clippings from newspapers all over the world about Madalyn Murray O’Hair.” Around the same time on campus, some Baylor students became interested in a public exploration of the topic of atheism. They wanted a prominent atheist to come to Baylor to teach one of

the then-popular noncredit “Free University” classes that would examine the subject. Since O’Hair was only 90 miles away in Austin, the students tasked with coming up with ideas for class topics began making plans to invite her to be the instructor. But before any invitation went out, Baylor executive vice president Herbert H. Reynolds prohibited the atheism class from being offered. He claimed it would violate Baylor’s campus speaker policy, which prohibited any speakers who would “attack the basic tenets of Christianity or advocate atheism or…violent rebellion.” It was in this setting of conflicting desires and emotions that members of Baylor’s oral history program decided that exploring issues of church and state with America’s leading atheist was an opportunity they must seize. “We wrote [O’Hair] a letter, asking if we might conduct at least one oral history interview with her that would help her document her

position on church-state matters, and [said] we would be eager for her to tell her story about how she made it to Texas,” Charlton said. “To our great delight and surprise, she agreed.”

GETTING ACQUAINTED Working with graduate assistant Kenneth King, Charlton and other oral history program members prepared meticulously for the interview. On Nov. 17, 1971, Charlton and King packed their research materials and drove down to Austin to meet O’Hair at her home. The small, one-story bungalow in an older residential area served as the headquarters of the American Atheists organization O’Hair directed. The unassuming woman who greeted the Baylor academics at the door was not the loud, argumentative Bible-basher they’d seen on television. “Rather than our finding her bristling or being inhospitable

toward us she took us in, seemed to smile and was warm to what we were doing,” Charlton said. “It was obvious that she was not exactly hooked on oral history, but she saw this as a chance to get her message out.” After setting up a large reelto-reel tape machine and a professional microphone, Charlton and King began the interview with a look back at O’Hair’s childhood and school days. She characterized her early religious training from her parents as “scar tissue on the brain” and said she decided she would not be ruled by what others believe. “We play religious games all the time,” she said. “One of these is that you don’t belong to yourself, you belong to ‘God.’ That’s not true. I belong to me!” Despite the changes brought about by her lawsuit filed a decade earlier, O’Hair told the Baylor interviewers she in fact wanted the Bible introduced into public schools in the fifth grade because she felt that if children actually read the Bible, they would abandon it for being so unbelievable. “The reason it hangs on is everybody has one and no one reads it,” she said. After two hours and 45 minutes of continuous dialogue about O’Hair’s early life and anti-religious beliefs, Charlton suggested to her that they bring that day’s interview to a close. “We were amazed that she wanted us to stay all day,” Charlton said. “In fact, it was an extremely uncomfortable situation, and I’m sure our bladders were at the painful stage at the end…without a single bathroom break.”

GROWING THE TEAM That wouldn’t be the last time a group from Baylor would sit down with O’Hair, as Charlton and King returned to the little house four more times. On the third and fourth visits they brought with

them a third interviewer, Baylor history professor Dr. Rufus B. Spain, who was struck by O’Hair’s frank and open demeanor. “She was just very down to earth –– she didn’t put on any airs,” Spain said. “She was not apologetic (but) she was not bragging about what she had done. She was just very matter-offact.” On the fifth and final visit to interview O’Hair, the team grew to five members with the addition of Dr. Robert Baird, a young Baylor philosophy professor. “They wanted somebody in on the interview who had some philosophical background, because at times (O’Hair) seemed to drop certain philosophers’ names,” Baird said. “I think that she said she had a minor in philosophy as an undergraduate, but I certainly don’t remember having any sense that she had any sort of systematic grasp of philosophy.”

SURPRISES AND DISTRACTIONS Over the course of the interviews, the Baylor team heard O’Hair’s opinions on a wide variety of topics –– everything from the war in Vietnam, women’s liberation and race relations to the best ways to raise young children and run a university. But sometimes, it was the events that took place outside the formal question and answer sessions that remain memorable to the interviewers. Although his voice appears infrequently on the recorded tapes, O’Hair’s husband Richard –– who was bedridden in a nearby room –– was a looming presence throughout all five interviews. “He was a gadfly (and) really wanted to interrupt. He was pulling her chain, and loved to tease her,” Charlton said. “We would be moving along smoothly, going from topic to topic and question to question, and out of the blue from the next room would come this à



stentorian voice (saying) ‘Madalyn, you know that’s a damn lie!’ And she would say, ‘Richard, shut up! This is my interview.” O’Hair told the Baylor interviewers that her husband was a retired Marine Corps gunnery sergeant who had a metal plate put in his head after suffering brain damage, and she claimed that some of his brain was still not functioning properly. Another occasional interruption was furnished by O’Hair’s six-yearold granddaughter Robin, whom O’Hair had adopted. “One time about three o’clock in the afternoon (Robin) got out of school, came bounding up on the front porch like kids do and (O’Hair) said ‘Excuse me,’” Charlton said. “I had to turn the recorder off. (O’Hair) got up and fed this young girl cookies and milk, like any grandmother would. After that I saw her in a different light –– I saw this grandmotherly side.” 32 / BAYLOR ARTS & SCIENCES

On another occasion when the team showed up at O’Hair’s house, they learned that although she was not feeling well she insisted on going ahead with that day’s interview session. “She was in her little cubbyhole (office with) a bottle of wine in front of her,” Charlton said. “She was sipping this bottle of wine and her voice was raspy…She said, ‘You’ll have to excuse me, my voice is not too good today. I have a little cold and I’m hoarse, but this bottle right here will help me get through this.’ She killed the whole bottle during the next four hours. By the end of the time her speech was slurred, but her mind was still pretty clear.” At another time, the Baylor team realized toward the end of their interview session that O’Hair was hungry. “I could tell she was sort of down a meal that day and she needed a little protein,” Charlton said. “I thought, well, we gave her

no gifts…and we were trying to keep this as pristine as we could, but she asked if we could grab a bite to eat.” The interviewers agreed, and soon they were all eating Mexican food together at a nearby restaurant.

A MOMENTARY CONCERN Meanwhile, the secrecy the researchers had enjoyed was shattered before the project’s end. On Jan. 25, 1972, the day after the fourth interview was completed, The Baylor Lariat ran a front-page story that revealed that Baylor professors had been doing oral history interviews with O’Hair, despite the university’s decision not to allow the famous atheist on campus. Charlton remembers that after the article ran, some of his students were concerned about whether Baylor’s administration would uphold his academic freedom, since he was an untenured assistant professor

tackling a controversial topic. Although he felt he was in no danger of a reprimand because the project dealt with legitimate research, Charlton paid a visit to Baylor President Abner McCall just to make sure. “(McCall) looked at me and smiled, and he said, ‘I’ve told you I want you to go out and bring in as much of this raw material as possible. Now I want you to go back out there and keep going,’” Charlton said. “He then told me the latest Aggie joke, which let me know that he was pretty relaxed about the whole thing.”

THE (NOT-SO) GREAT DEBATE The fifth and final interview took place on Feb. 22, 1972, but that would not the famous atheist’s last personal interaction with Baylor faculty. In the winter of 1975, Dr. Bob Patterson, then an associate professor of religion at Baylor, received an offer he couldn’t refuse. He was asked to go on a local television station and debate Madalyn Murray O’Hair on the topic of religion. The two met in the studios of KCEN-TV to tape a program that debuted on KCEN at noon on Sunday, Dec. 14, 1975. However, the formally moderated debate on religion that Patterson was promised turned out to be more of a no-holds barred attack led by O’Hair. “The moderator just sat there and did nothing and let the two of us go at it,” Patterson said. “(O’Hair) wrote a book while in Hawaii and came back and was selling it. That’s why they invited me in –– they just wanted a warm body to advertise the book. It wasn’t a debate. It was a setup.” Patterson said O’Hair told him off camera that her public debate strategy was not to argue with her opponents, but to “out shout” them. And he said her reluctance to argue the finer points of religion meant that they never really discussed the topic of whether God exists. “She was a terrible, terrible atheist. All she could point out were errors the church had made,

but she didn’t know I knew a lot more errors than she did,” Patterson said. “She had no idea what atheism was about, and no theistic or anti-theistic arguments –– just throwing rocks at the bad things the church had done…It was a personal thing with her… You could just sense the emotional baggage that she was bringing to this.” Despite their on-air jousting, Patterson said he and O’Hair got along well. “She and I sat down and had coffee after the thing was over and we agreed we’d get together and do this again, but somehow it didn’t work out,” Patterson said. “We had a wonderful time together…We stayed in correspondence and I may have sent her a book or two of mine.”

willingness to defend her beliefs. “I came away with a better opinion of her,” Spain said. “She was acting on principle.” “She knew that all of us there were practicing Christians…but she did not question us about that,” Charlton said. “There was never anything negative or sarcastic about that, which I thought commendable on her part. She took it seriously, and it made us want to respect her all the more, even if we did not agree with her theology.” n

THE FINAL CHAPTERS The five interviews Baylor recorded with O’Hair take up more than 12 hours of tape, and the transcribed versions fill two bound volumes totaling 442 pages. Those typed transcripts –– as well as the actual audio recordings of the O’Hair interviews –– are available online at The only restriction placed on the use of the interview materials was put there by O’Hair herself. Offended when she learned of Baylor’s refusal to let her and other atheists speak on campus, O’Hair insisted on a written warning that “no religious person or institution may make any kind of profit” from her memoirs. O’Hair died in 1995 when she was kidnapped and murdered along with her son, Jon Garth Murray, and her adopted granddaughter Robin Murray O’Hair –– the same person who had interrupted the Baylor interview sessions as a young girl. A former American Atheists employee was convicted of kidnapping, robbery and murder in the case. Looking back, the Baylor professors who interviewed O’Hair said that although they didn’t share her views on most topics, they were impressed with her

To access transcripts and audio recordings of oral history interviews, visit


Many television viewers fell in love with Baylor Arts & Sciences alumna Allison Tolman (BFA ’04) after they watched her portrayal of Deputy Molly Solverson on the FX series Fargo — a role that won Tolman a Critics’ Choice Award as well as an Emmy nomination. In this inaugural installment of A&S Q&A, Randy Fiedler talked with Allison about her time on Fargo, her Baylor Theatre experience and her most recent career moves.à


When you look back on your Fargo experience, what do you take away from it? This whole experience has been so life-altering to me. I’m still sort of pinching myself on a pretty regular basis. It was sort of unbelievable. I worked with such warm, kind and wonderful people. I not only got to make this really cool product, I got to show what I’ve been spending the past 10 years doing without any cameras pointed at me. I got to meet all these awesome people that I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life. It was kind of a perfect storm, but it was a very odd year.

What’s the deal with the next season of Fargo? We’ve heard that Season 2 has a completely different cast. It’s true, it’s a new cast. There is no carryover whatsoever, unless they’re keeping secrets from me, but I’m certainly not coming back. How did the original cast find out about this? Was it a big surprise? I wasn’t sure of why, but I knew they were going to hire a whole new cast. The morning that they made the announcement, [executive producer] Noah Hawley called me and said I want you to know before anybody else, we’re officially not going to bring you back. We’re going to do an origin story (and) go back to the 1970s, and so you’re two years old.


They didn’t talk to you about playing a two-year-old? Yes, I said I’m really good. You can keep me out of focus –– I’m sure I could play that! You must have been disappointed about the change in direction. I was –– it was sad. It was understandable, and I trust that Noah and the production team were just trying to keep the artistic integrity and maintain that for another season. It seems it was wiser to go another direction — do a different story rather than try to capture that same lightning in a bottle with the same characters. So I understand, (but) I was very heartbroken when I got the news. Now I feel better about it.

You won the Critics’ Choice Award in 2014, but the corresponding Emmy went to Kathy Bates for her role in “American Horror Story.” The Dallas Observer portrayed the Emmy voting as a battle between you — a Baylor girl — and Kathy, an SMU grad. Did you know about that? I did, I think, and I had more than one friend who was saying the same thing on Facebook or Twitter, which was pretty funny. I met Kathy Bates after the awards, and that’s why I said to her when I met her, “I’m a Texas girl, too, but I went to Baylor.” So I made sure she knew about that rivalry as well. She was a very nice woman, and was so sweet. But I was disappointed as well. I don’t think it would have occurred to me to be disappointed by not winning an Emmy if it hadn’t been so widely stacked in my favor ahead of time –– which I tried not to listen to, but it’s hard not to let that seep in. But then when I didn’t win, I was surprised by how much I wanted to win. But at the end of the day, losing the Emmy to Kathy Bates is still a pretty good day.

Let’s talk about some of your other recent projects. You appeared in two episodes of the TV series “The Mindy Project” as a character named Abby Berman. Tell us about that. Abby is a historical romance novelist who writes steamy novels about the Civil War. She did an excerpt (from her works) in the episode which was really silly. She’s a love interest for a character named Dr. Peter Prentice, a reformed frat boy. It was fun to play. It also appears that you are involved with another production titled after a city with a name beginning in “F.” Is it true you play the character of Ruby in a comedy called Fresno? Yes that’s true. It’s a small independent film, a little comedy with a fantastic cast –– Natasha Lyonne, Judy Greer and Fred Armison, to name a few. They wanted an actress to come in for a day who had some improv background who could hang with Fred Armison, who is a really strong improviser and loves to go off script. (My character) is kind of a rockabilly chick. She’s got tattoos, and I’m like, “Yes, please!” In another life I would be covered with tattoos, but I can’t do that because I’m an actress. But it was fun to be able to play for a day and have these temporary tattoos.

Speaking of your background in theatre, how did your years of training in Baylor Theatre help you in the ventures you’re involved with now? It’s instrumental. I’ve always wanted to be an actress, ever since I was a little kid. The thing Baylor gave me was the opportunity to perform as much as possible, which to me is the best way to learn. The number of opportunities you have to perform, especially in a department of its size, is really fantastic. There are always student productions going on, and every Friday there is a workshop. There are so many chances to get on stage –– which is really important, especially for someone like me who only gets a certain amount out of an acting class. I really needed to put it in front of an audience to hone my skills and see where my interests were. I loved my time at Baylor Theatre. How did you choose Baylor? I went to Baylor kind of by accident. At first I didn’t think it was going to end up being the school for me. I was just going to be there for a year, but I fell in love with the theatre department. I thought, “I don’t want to leave –– this is where I’m supposed to be. This is where I want to study. I want to have a degree from this institution.” So I took chapel my second year, and that sealed the

Do you prefer roles where the director allows you to do a little improvisation, as opposed to a strictly scripted role? My basis is in theatre, so I love a script. I like the guidelines, but I think any situation where you have a little bit of freedom at the end of the page is always nice. Sometimes you find really great things that way. It’s always nice to have directors that want to have that sense of play. That’s important and helpful when you’re making comedy. But for me, I don’t mind a strong script.


deal. If you’re taking chapel, you’re not leaving, you know. So then I was there to stay. I had some fantastic teachers and directors during my time at Baylor. Any good stories about theatre arts department chair Stan Denman that you can share with us? I loved Stan. I really felt like he made the department what it was. He taught me so much about directing. Originally I was going to direct, but then I left school and started acting. But Stan is a fantastic director. He was very, very good and I was lucky to be able to work under him at a young age. What’s on your plate in 2015? I’m doing my first film, my first big studio film. I’m really excited that I stumbled across a project that’s perfect for me and my sentiments. I love horror movies, and this is a horror comedy –– a Christmas horror comedy with a very funny, sort of grotesque, over-the-top fantastic script. They were as interested in me as I was in them. If all goes well I’ll be in New Zealand in 2015 filming this movie, called “Krampus.” It’s an Americanproduced film being made in New Zealand because they’re going to be working with the Peter Jackson production company for the set. The plan is for it to come out at Christmas in 2015. n

First Person


On May 16, 2015

, 22-year-old Holly Tucker of Lorena will receive her BA degree in communication from Baylor University. Holly first stepped onto the national stage in April 2013, when she became a contestant on the popular NBC-TV show The Voice. Under the tutelage of coach Blake Shelton, Holly thrilled audiences with her vocal performances, including an inspiring rendition of “How Great Thou Art.” She made it all the way to the Top Six in the competition, and along the way got to teach her famous coach to do a Baylor “Sic ‘Em” on national television. Since her time on The Voice, Holly has maintained a busy performing career while keeping up with her studies at the same time. In this First Person essay, she shares what her Baylor experience has been like and talks about her future plans.

I value many things in life –– my faith, my family, friendships and strong morals –– but among those most important to me is my education. Baylor University has played a huge role in my life –– helping me to grow in my faith, testing my knowledge and endurance, and discovering my purpose. I’ve always dreamed of attending Baylor because I have a legacy of family members who have gone here before me (I’m a third generation Bear). So important was it that during my time on The Voice, I did not take any time off from college –– I was an enrolled, part-time sophomore the entire time. Yes, I did my homework and exams just like any other student, except that I was temporarily located a thousand miles away. I’m just not a quitter. If I start something, I do everything I can to finish it out, simple as that. Most of all, I love that I didn’t have to give up my education for my dream of music — Baylor made it possible for me to have both. I was blessed with wonderful professors who worked with me and encouraged me, not because they felt pressured or obligated, but because they really believed in me. I can’t assume that everyone’s heard my story, so let me take a little trip down memory lane. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. I grew up watching my mom and dad sing together, mostly in church services and at weddings. They met in college through music when my dad started his Christian band, Revised Edition. Traveling on the road for six years together taught them a great deal about the music business –– the good, the bad and the ugly. Through it all, they stayed strong and ended up falling in love, getting

married and starting a family. My two older brothers came along, first Travis and then Shane, and then myself. Some of my best childhood memories were Sunday mornings spent sitting on the front row pew of some Baptist church with my brothers, dad leading the congregation on guitar, and mom playing piano to “Amazing Grace” while giving us kids the “you’d better behave” look because she knew we’d get into some kind of mischief (not me, of course –– I was an angel). We were raised always knowing we were loved by our parents and supremely loved by our Creator. I am very grateful to have been raised by two such wonderful people. Something about seeing them perform on stage always tugged at a little part of my heart. At age 7, I got on stage for the first time singing a cute little song called “I Am A Promise” with my dad in “big church” at FBC Woodway. That performance lit a fire in me. From that point on, music consumed me. Country music especially drew me in because there were so many powerful females on the radio who presented wholesome messages, women I could really look up to. My parents really saw my passion and thought I had a gift, so they took me all over Texas to just about every opry, county fair, restaurant, talent show and karaoke place they could find. When I was 14 years old I recorded my first album independently. In addition to school and gigs, I recorded three more albums in the next five years. And then came The Voice. I had tried out many times before for every television show there is –– American Idol, America’s Got Talent, X Factor, even The Voice’s first season –– but I always got a “no,” or “you’re not ready yet,” or “we’ve seen a

million of you.” Harsh, right? After that, I thought that maybe being on a reality TV show wasn’t in the cards for me. However, I was in Dallas one weekend and saw that auditions for The Voice were in town. I figured I’d go for it, so I sang for some casting agents and made it through a couple of pre-screening rounds. They told me they’d fly me out to California for one more round of auditions for the producers, and from there I was to go on to the blind auditions. I felt like I had finally made it, and I couldn’t believe it. Out of 40,000 auditioners on Season 4 of The Voice, I was the Top Six finalist on Blake Shelton’s team. For three straight months, 14 million people watched me sing. Season 4 won an Emmy award –– the only season of The Voice since then to win. While Season 4 aired and afterward my hometown poured out their love and support. I received countless emails, texts, phone calls and care packages, as well as hearing from our local radio and TV news stations. Baylor students tweeted me like crazy and helped me gain a large social media following. Coming home to Central Texas was a sweet moment because I finally got to see all of that in person. I will never be able to say “thank you” enough to Baylor and the city of Waco. Since the show, things have picked up for me quite a bit. I have performed more than 200 shows, both in Texas and out of state. I am a traditional, full-time student again and am currently finishing up the last semester of my senior year here at Baylor (woo-hoo!) and I gotta tell you, I cannot wait to have that degree in my hands. I have also visited Nashville regularly and have made some strong connections in the music industry. As for what’s ahead for me in 2015, I will be writing new songs, touring the state of Texas with my band, and I am committed to having a brandnew, full-length independent album out this year. It’s a heavy load, but my passion keeps me going. For all of these crazy beautiful things that are happening, I am in total awe of God’s grace and guidance over my life. I am forever thankful and humbled –– I know I owe it all to Him. n


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Backroads Scholar Americans who win the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University are among the brightest and hardest-working students in the country. But Baylor’s first Rhodes scholar was not some stereotypical bookworm who remained indoors in quiet reflection. Instead, he was a rough-and-tumble Renaissance man who combined a brilliant mind with a determination to live life on his own terms. Ernest Tolbert “Bull” Adams, who grew up on a farm near Glen Rose, Texas, became Baylor’s first Rhodes Scholarship recipient during his graduation year of 1911. But merely saying that Adams graduated from Baylor doesn’t begin to describe his achievements. A natural scholar with a passion for learning, Adams spoke six languages –– including Greek, Latin and Comanche. Supporting himself at Baylor by mowing lawns, milking cows and washing dishes, Adams was a large, athletic man who lettered in football, basketball and track. He scored the lone Baylor touchdown in the legendary 1910 football game against the University of Texas, in which the Baylor coach called his team off the field in protest of a referee’s ruling and the game was awarded to Texas on a forfeit. A legend eventually surfaced in connection with that game, which said that Adams refused to vacate the field and challenged Texas to run their entire team against him –– the result being that Adams singlehandedly held the Longhorns to five yards on two plays. While the legend is almost assuredly untrue, it suggests the kind of reputation that “Bull” built at Baylor. Adams had a lifelong passion for archaeology, and starting in boyhood he began building a large collection of fossils and Indian artifacts he had discovered while exploring caves, hills and Indian burial grounds. He sometimes wrote

up reports of his findings and sent them to the Smithsonian Institution. Once, when someone from that organization dared to write him back to say his report was a bit too unscholarly, Adams sent in a revised version –– written in perfect Greek. While Adams had grown up in an educated household headed by his attorney father, he seemed to value living a simple life unaffected by pretension. One account claims that Adams had a motto on his wall at Baylor which read, “No Dignity to Uphold, No Pride to Sustain.” At Oxford, Adams excelled in sports including cricket, rugby and rowing, and ended up wining the university’s highest athletic award. He earned a bachelor’s degree in jurisprudence from Oxford in 1914 and married Mable Wayland, a fellow student at Baylor, in 1915. Back home in Texas after his time in England, Adams settled on the family farm near Glen Rose and proceeded to build a one-room home of native rock for himself and his bride. He began teaching in a rural school, then moved to Glen Rose and for years was the only practicing attorney in town.

Learning that he would need to pass the Texas bar exam to run for county attorney, Adams thought such a requirement was ridiculous for an Oxford-trained lawyer. True to form, he complied with the requirement and passed the exam, despite answering all the questions in Latin. He then won the job of county attorney and became famous during Prohibition for prosecuting bootleggers. To relax, Adams might pack up his Model T and spend months roaming the countryside in West Texas or New Mexico, looking for archeological treasures. Or he might just while away the hours at home dressed in informal clothes –– playing checkers with friends, chopping wood, teaching youngsters about fossils or reading a book. Adams died in Glen Rose in 1961 at age 73, five years after suffering a stroke that left him completely paralyzed on one side and unable to speak clearly. Since he won the Rhodes in 1911, four more Baylor students have gone on to earn the prestigious scholarship –– Robert Lee Guthrie in 1924, Dixon Wecter in 1928, Elmer Hawkins in 1934 and Brad Carson in 1989. n



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Filed on the shelves deep within Carroll Library are the more than 5,500 interviews recorded since 1971 by the Baylor Institute for Oral History. Topics range from Baylor and Texas history to religion, gospel and folk music, state judicial history and the Civil Rights movement. Interviews are accessible at