Baylor Black Alumni Network Gala Dinner Honors ‘Firsts’ and Benefits the Dr. Vivienne Malone-Mayes Scholarship Endowment

November 7, 2017
Baylor Black Alumni Network Gala

The Baylor Black Alumni Network invites the public to join in the Nov. 17 commemoration of the first Black Baylor University graduates, the Rev. Robert Gilbert and Ms. Barbara Ann Walker

Media Contact: Marie Brown, Baylor Black Alumni Network, 972-569-0843
Follow Baylor Media Communications on Twitter: @BaylorUMedia

NOTE TO MEDIA: The media is welcome to attend the reception from 5:30 to 6 p.m.

WACO, Texas (Nov. 7, 2017) – More than 50 years ago, as the Civil Rights Movement unfolded across the United States of America, Baylor University also experienced the winds of change as it welcomed its first Black students. The Baylor Black Alumni Network will recognize Baylor University’s achievement toward social justice with the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the June 2, 1967, graduation of students – the Rev. Robert Gilbert and Ms. Barbara Ann Walker – at a Gala Scholarship Dinner from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Barfield Drawing Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center, 1311 S. Fifth St.

“It is an honor for us join with the University to recognize the first Black graduates and other firsts at Baylor University,” said Marie Brown, president of Baylor Black Alumni Network. “We stand on the shoulders of those who have paved the way before us and we want to leave a record honoring trailblazers for students that will follow us for years to come.”

The evening also will recognize the following first achievers or achievements:

  • The First Black Law School Graduate, Michael Heiskell
  • First Black Truett Seminary School Graduate, Joseph Parker
  • First Black Athlete, John Westbrook
  • First Black Scholarship Athlete, Tommy Bowman
  • First Black Cheerleader, Gayle Heiskell, M.D.
  • First Black Professor, Dr. Vivienne Malone-Mayes
  • First Black Male Professor, Willie Lunsford
  • First Black Regent, The Rev. Louie Belvet George Sr.
  • First Black Female Board of Regents Member, Dr. Alicia Monroe
  • First Black Sorority, Zeta Phi Beta
  • First Black Fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha

“This 50-year commemoration is truly a momentous occasion for the Baylor Family, as we celebrate the remarkable achievements of Baylor’s Black alumni, who transcended barriers and excelled in their respective scholastic and professional endeavors,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “We are a better and enriched institution for having been graced by Rev. Gilbert, Ms. Walker and Dr. Malone-Mayes and all of the Baylor Black alumni who have followed in their distinguished footsteps.”

The Baylor Black Alumni Network has presented more than $40,000 in scholarships to deserving students since the organization established the Dr. Vivienne Malone-Mayes Scholarship in 2000.

The public is invited to join the celebratory event or make contributions to further the work of the Baylor Black Alumni Network. Event sponsor levels are: Individual, $75; Premium, $1,000; Green Sponsor, $1,500; and Gold Sponsor, $2,500.

Tickets and sponsorship levels may be purchased at 866-281-9444 or online. (Click “Register Without Logging On” if you are not a member of Baylor University’s Alumni.) Tickets are complimentary for current students. Seating is limited.


Chartered in 1985, The Baylor Black Alumni Network’s mission is to aid and support Baylor University in its endeavors to improve and promote the matriculation of African-American scholars and to encourage the active participation of its African-American alumni.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.