Baylor Alumni
Baylor Alumni
Oct 11 2014
Heading to Morgantown for the Baylor-West Virginia Game?

Heading to Morgantown for the Baylor-West Virginia Game?

What a terrific, gutsy victory by the Bears today over TCU!  A terrific crowd was treated to a great game at the new stadium!

And now it’s on to West Virginia, where we’ll be part of Heart Health Awareness Day (I think all of us celebrated Heart Health Awareness Day earlier today).  Those of you who have traveled to Morgantown for football games as a visitor no doubt had a memorable experience.  The university is trying to change some negative memories with its Goodwill City Ambassadors, a group of volunteers who are trying to make the fans of visiting teams feel welcome.

Ambassadors Coordinator Sara Bishop dropped us a note this week with a few links that might be of interest to Baylor fans who will attend this coming week’s game in West Virginia:

Sara suggested a few restaurants that she likes:  Varsity Club, Keglers Sports Bar and Lounge, the Boston Beanery.  In Morgantown’s Wharf District, she says there are many restaurants including Table 9, Mountain State Brewing Company, and Oliverios.

We hope those of you who will be attending the game in Morgantown have a terrific time!

 


Oct 9 2014
The BAA Legacy Scholarship: Jennifer Thomson’s Story

The BAA Legacy Scholarship: Jennifer Thomson’s Story

My mom always joked about brainwashing me growing up.  She showed me old pictures of her moving into Baylor, thrust her green and gold hoodies at me, and sat me down each Saturday in the fall to watch the Bears play football.  I heard “That Good ‘Ol Baylor Line” more times than our national anthem.  It was all enjoyable, but it didn’t mean much to me until my senior year of high school, when college suddenly became a reality and not just a means to escape the tiny town I grew up in.  My mom and I toured several other colleges, and she spent those tours pointing out the benefits each school offered.  I knew she would love for me to attend Baylor, but she wanted me to make up my own mind about what college to attend.  The schools were nice, but when I toured Baylor, I just knew.  This was my place to be.

Junior Jennifer Thomson '16 (far right), with her grandmother, Doris Hooks BBA  '49 and cousin, Dayna Wiesmann.

Junior Jennifer Thomson ’16 (far right), with her grandmother, Doris Hooks BBA ’49 and cousin, Dayna Wiesmann.

My mom, grandma, aunt and several other family members all attended Baylor.  They’ve etched themselves in the history of this school — literally.  You can find my family’s names on bricks across campus and in the business school.  There’s even an engraving of my great uncle in the Student Union.  Baylor has been an important part of my family’s lives for several generations, and graduating high school, it was suddenly my turn to continue the tradition.  But it didn’t feel like an obligation.  It felt like coming home.

I can’t picture being at any school but Baylor.  However, it’s no secret that tuition costs more than is polite to say.  My sister is in college at this time as well, and money’s been tight.  God always provides what we need, but every little bit helps.  It was such a blessing to receive the BAA Legacy Scholarship last year; it (enabled us) to buy a ticket for me so I could come home for Christmas.  That was really great.

I sincerely thank all of you who donated to make the scholarship possible.  Your generosity is just another reminder that family is more than bloodlines; it’s the Baylor Bubble and all who come with it.

Thank you and God bless,

Jennifer Thomson

The Baylor Alumni Association has distributed more than $212,000 to 55 deserving Baylor legacy students since 2011, including $27,000+ to 42 students for the fall semester of 2014.  In this segment of our continuing series, we bring you Jennifer Thomson’s story — in part to remind you how terrific — and appreciative — our current crop of Bears are, in part to rekindle some memories and bring a smile to your face, and in part to encourage you to contribute to this important program.  Your donation will help us continue to offer these scholarships — hopefully with larger amounts for these legacy students.  If you’d like to donate, please click here.


Oct 7 2014
Litigation Update from BAA President Keith Starr

Litigation Update from BAA President Keith Starr

This e-mail was sent to the BAA’s mailing list on Tuesday, Oct. 7,  from President Keith Starr:

Dear Fellow Baylor Alumni Association Member,

I want to update you on developments with the BAA.  In my last note in June, I let our members know that Baylor University had sued the BAA to stop the Association from using the University’s names and trademarks.  I also told you that after an initial review of the lawsuit, we believe that the Board of Regents’ claims were without merit, and we continue to strongly believe that is the case.  For your convenience, here is a link to my June e-mail.

Once Baylor sued the BAA, we were forced to evaluate our options.  Our discussions and decisions were based on: our commitment and loyalty to Baylor University and our reluctance to bring it negative publicity; our frustration with the University’s approach, which we feel was designed to silence an organization that has delivered outstanding programs and services to the University community for 155 years; and our belief that an independent voice is important to the Baylor family.

These values were important to past BAA and University leaders and we shouldn’t forget them now.  Our values of independence and loyalty continue to be important to our members, and we believe it would be wrong not to defend the BAA and attempt to have rational, reasonable discussions with University representatives.

We spent much of the summer engaged in what we believed to be positive negotiations with the Board of Regents to try to resolve our differences.  But as the summer months came to a close, the University tried to force a membership vote in direct conflict with the BAA’s constitution and bylaws.

We then submitted one final settlement proposal to the University that we thought was fair and reasonable based on the talks we were having with them.  The BAA Board even took the unprecedented step of pre-approving this proposal before we submitted it to the University, because we felt it was in the context of our ongoing discussions — or at least it was in the ballpark — and because the University had complained that we were moving too slowly to bring this matter to a successful conclusion.  The regents have now rejected this proposal.

We did not ask for Baylor to sue us, but once they did, we had to defend ourselves and present our rightful counterclaims.  Furthermore, it is central to the BAA’s values as an organization to hold others accountable, just as members of the Association you hold us accountable.

If you would like to read the lawsuit and the counterclaim, you can do so at these links.

Baylor Lawsuit

BAA Counterclaim

Thank you for your ongoing support for the BAA as a loyal, independent voice within the Baylor family.  We intend to keep you informed of major developments as we proceed forward.

With strong resolve,

Keith Starr

BAA President

 P.S.  We have recently started a new feature in Line Notes that introduces alumni to recent recipients of the BAA Legacy Scholarship ($27,000 to 42 students during the current semester).  We did not entertain new applications this academic year, but we plan to reopen our application process for the 2015-16 academic year.

I encourage you to take a look at their stories and consider donating to support outstanding students like Chase, Amy, and Micah (and the others we’ll be posting in the weeks to come).

 


Oct 2 2014
The BAA Legacy Scholarship: Chase Fickling’s Story

The BAA Legacy Scholarship: Chase Fickling’s Story

The Baylor Alumni Association has distributed more than $212,000 to 55 deserving Baylor legacy students since 2011, including $27,000+ to 42 students for the fall semester of 2014.  In this segment of a continuing series, we bring you Chase Fickling’s story — in part to remind you how terrific — and appreciative — our current crop of Bears are, in part to rekindle some memories and bring a smile to your face, and in part to encourage you to contribute to this important program.  Your donation will help us continue to offer these scholarships — hopefully with larger amounts for these legacy students.  If you’d like to donate, please click here.

My name is Chase Fickling, and I am in my senior year at Baylor.  Over the summer, I decided that my passion is for teaching younger students, and so I want to teach Beginning Strings at the elementary level.  I am preparing to student teach in the spring, and I am very excited because my music education professor has found several great districts that have excellent Beginning Strings programs.  I am very close to graduating and it seems kind of strange, but I am really excited to enter the workforce and do what I love every day — teaching.

Like many Music Education majors, I am in my fifth year at Baylor.  Unfortunately, I have experienced many physical challenges that made that necessary.  In the fall of 2009, I developed some pain and swelling in my arms.  The doctor I saw told me to (just) rest and ice my arms.  My third semester at Baylor, the pain in my arms became unbearable and I sought another opinion, which resulted in the correct diagnosis of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome…I ended up having two separate surgeries in which they removed the front side of my left and right first ribs in order to improve circulation in my arms and begin healing the nerve damage caused from lack of blood.

As a result of the surgeries and some complications, I was unable to take a class that only meets every fourth semester.  I needed six months of rehabilitation and another six months of playing violin and continued rehab before I was able to build up the strength and endurance to move back to playing my primary instrument, viola.  This left me needing an extra semester so I could fulfill my viola lesson degree requirement as well.  I am in Cello Methods and viola lessons this semester and they are going great.  I am now set to do my student teaching in the spring of 2015.

My fifth year at Baylor is allowing me more time to develop by fine-tuning my instrumental abilities and knowledge, honing my aural skills, and creating schedule space for more teaching experiences in places like the local Waco String Project.  I currently have a cumulative GPA of 3.95, and my dream job is to be a music educator.  I am grateful that my Baylor professors, faculty, and BAA have been so gracious by working with me to make this dream possible.  The Legacy Scholarship helped my family to feel more secure, by providing financial support, at a time where my future felt inhibited due to my diagnosis, surgeries, and recovery period.

Chase Fickling plays the viola with pianist Michael Womack in Jones Concert Hall last spring.

Chase Fickling plays the viola with pianist Michael    Womack in Jones Concert Hall last spring.

The recovery was long, but I am doing extremely well now.  I am playing in the Baylor Symphony Orchestra, Baylor’s Early Music Ensemble, and I also substitute in the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, a semi-professional orchestra.  This November, I will give my senior recital featuring works by Flackton, Beethoven, Vieuxtemps, and Piazzolla, and will perform on viola with piano and harpsichord!

Two summers ago, I had an opportunity of a lifetime — studying abroad in Florence, Italy, for six weeks.  While in Italy, I got to know several of the local shop owners pretty well.  They would wave to me on the way to class and one of them even added me on Facebook. I took my third semester of Italian in Italy, and our teacher took us out into the city once a week to teach us something about Italian culture.  We went to the open market and one of the vendors let our class sample cheeses, bread, and cured hams.  I hiked in Cinque Terre (a group of five coastal towns) and swam in the Grotta Azzurra, which is part of the island of Capri.  I also met some great people from Florida who helped me see life from a different perspective.  My personality is very “what if,” and they are much more “go with the flow” kind of people, and they’ve helped me shape my perspective to a happy medium between responsible and relaxed. The Legacy Scholarship was not directly responsible for funding my study abroad program, but it definitely freed up some funds that made it possible.

I am having an amazing semester at Baylor.  My schedule is a little crazy but I’m glad because it’s keeping me busy and preparing me to student teach and start my career next year.  Contributions like the Legacy Scholarship allow me to pursue my dreams and I am grateful for all the doors and opportunities that it has opened during my time at Baylor.

All the best,

Chase G. Fickling


Sep 29 2014
The BAA Legacy Scholarship: Amy Stone’s Story

The BAA Legacy Scholarship: Amy Stone’s Story

The Baylor Alumni Association has distributed more than $212,000 to 55 deserving Baylor legacy students since the Fall Semester of 2011, including $27,000+ to 42 students this year.  In this segment in a continuing series, we bring you Amy Stone’s story — in part to remind you how terrific — and appreciative — our current crops of Bears are, in part to rekindle some memories and bring a smile to your face, and in part to encourage you to contribute to this important program.  Your donation will help us continue to offer this program — hopefully with larger amounts.  If you’d like to donate, please click here.

Amy Stone's Family Weekend 2013: From left, Dad Randy, Sister Corrie, Mom Marine '88, and Amy '16.

Amy Stone’s Family Weekend 2013: Dad Randy, Sister Corrie, Mom Marnie ’88, and Amy ’16.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I always tell people my mom brainwashed me into going to Baylor.  The home screens on our computers were always Baylor athletics, even before RG3, which I believe proves we’re real Baylor fans.  She only gave me green and gold bath towels growing up, and every time I got college recruitment letters, she always put the Baylor letters on top.  My Baylor legacy roots run deep — my Granddad, my dad’s sister, his brother-in-law and other family members all attended Baylor.  My grandmother attended Baylor and my great grandmother was even a dorm mom for Memorial.  My dad opted to go the musician route and attend guitar school in California, so naturally, he had to to marry a Baylor student (my mom, Marnie ’88) so he could still be a part of the family.

Baylor has been a blessing in my life.  I have grown and matured in ways I never would’ve imagined.  I remember being so nervous just to ask the Penland food server if I could have a second helping of mashed potatoes my freshman year.  This fall, my junior year, a guy stopped me on the way to class the first week of school and said, “Excuse me, I was wondering if you could tell me where Draper is?”  To which I responded, “it’s right there, hon” and pointed.  I look back to the timid me I was before college and smaile because I know that Baylor has been essential to both my educational and personal growth — how I view life and people and have joy and passion.

From religion class, I have learned the background to my faith and been able to firmly ground my faith in Jesus Christ.  From singing in Baylor’s Heavenly Voices, I have worshipped with the students around me and hopefully blessed others in the process.  I have stepped out of my comfort zone when my nutritional education class required I go meet with a senior citizen one-on-one to address his nutritional needs.  I have de-stressed by going to the SLC and shooting baskets and playing in pickup games when the boys are so kind as to let me.  I have played and laughed and been a part of the community of Waco in attending Jubilee theater productions and the local farmer’s market.  I feel like Waco is where I belong when I walk into U-Swirl to get froyo and see a group of women from Church UnderTheBridge happy to interrupt their Bible study for a moment to say “hi” and ask me how I’ve been since they saw me last Sunday.  I feel excited when I walk into an athletic event and feel the energy of the fans and students rallying around our team.  I have loved the volunteer opportunities Baylor has provided, from packing lunches to Steppin’ Out to getting to provide a potluck meal for the Christian Women’s Job Corps to leading devotionals at the My Brother’s Keeper homeless shelter.

Baylor means so much to me.  It means friends who surprise me with sticky notes on the front door of my apartment.  It means working in the Baylor Business School as a receptionist and getting to decorate the birthday bulletin board for the faculty each month.  It means riding the cute trolley to the Baylor Social Work and taking their escalator up to my Human Behavior and Social Environment class every Tuesday and Thursday because those are some fun rides, people.  Baylor means I make way too many bear-related puns like “I’m bear-y happy to see you” and “Isn’t the new stadium “Oso” nice?”

Amy Stone '16 (right with best friends Caleigh Cole '16 and Karissa Martin '16 at the opening of the new stadium.

Amy Stone ’16 (right with best friends Caleigh Cole ’16 and Karissa Martin ’16 at the opening of the new stadium.

But most important, Baylor means family.  A family that includes my Baylor legacy and that includes my Granddad who took many a class in Hankamer.  Family includes my freshman roommate and a hall mate who are now my very best friends who have filled my life with so many giggles and baking projects.  Family includes my Spanish study group, sweet Dr. Weems, a caring Dr. Myers, and the Pi Phis next door.  Family not only includes my parents, who are so supportive of me going to Baylor and are paying my way, but my sister who I get to brainwash when she comes to sibling weekend.  Even my dog from home loves to come to Waco and sniff every sidewalk on campus.  And that, to me, is priceless.  Thank you, alumni, thank you for doing all you do, and giving all you give, and being positive influences that are allowing students like me to make Baylor my family.  I am bear-y grateful.

Sincerely,

Amy Stone ’16

Editor’s Note:  Don’t forget.  If you’d like to support the BAA’s Legacy Scholarship program you can click here.


Sep 25 2014
The BAA Legacy Scholarship: Micah Marroquin’s story

The BAA Legacy Scholarship: Micah Marroquin’s story

The Baylor Alumni Association has distributed more than $212,000 to 55 deserving Baylor legacy students since the Fall Semester of 2011, including $27,000+ to 42 students this semester.  In the first of what will be a continuing series, we’ll bring you their stories — in part to remind you how terrific our current crop of Bears are and in part to encourage you to contribute to this important program.  If you’d like to donate, please click here.

Micah Marroquin (second from left in back row) and members of his family -- all Baylor legacies -- gather on Fifth Street for the 2013 Homecoming Parade: (Back row): Joshua Rollins '14, Micah '17, Ben Faus ('12), Hannah Lindstrom Faus '12, Trey Rollins '12 (Front row): Marili Lindstrom '83, Caroline Lindstrom '15, Mollie Lindstrom '10, Brittany Rollins '16, Kim Rollins '87.  (Marili and Kim are the mothers of six of these legacies).

Micah Marroquin (second from left in back row) and members of his family — all Baylor legacies — gather on Fifth Street for the 2013 Homecoming Parade:
(Back row): Joshua Rollins ’14, Micah ’17, Ben Faus (’12), Hannah Lindstrom Faus ’12, Trey Rollins ’12
(Front row): Marili Lindstrom ’83, Caroline Lindstrom ’15, Mollie Lindstrom ’10, Brittany Rollins ’16, Kim Rollins ’87. (Marili and Kim are the mothers of six of these legacies).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was particularly pleased when you sent out your email looking for feedback regarding how the Baylor Alumni Association has helped students attend Baylor.  I was happy because this will give me the opportunity to share how this scholarship has blessed my experience at Baylor, and in many ways made it possible in the first place.

I am a third-generation Baylor student with my late grandfather being the first one in my family to attend Baylor University.  With my grandfather paving the way for her, my mom was able to attend Baylor University where she met my dad who was also a Baylor student.  In addition to this, I’ve had two aunts and an uncle attend and graduate from this great university.  Currently I am attending with two cousins here now, while four more have graduated within the last four years.  Last year, as I spent my first year at Baylor, my three cousins and I had every grade accounted for as we ranged from freshman to senior.  In fact, at the end of the school year, each of us was awarded a place on the Dean’s List for our spring semester grades.

Baylor has been a part of the family for as long as I can remember, but the reality of attending this school would most likely not be possible without aids and grants such as the generous contributions from the Alumni Association.  Though my parents are both native Texans, they moved out of the state shortly after they graduated as my dad was attending seminary in California.  Being from California, my decision to attend Baylor was a difficult one because I knew I would not be receiving the Cal Grant, which offers $3,000 to students attending college within the state of California.  Even with my mom getting a second job to help pay for my tuition, the reality of me joining my cousins and adding to the legacy within my family of attending was not looking promising until the Alumni Association offered its scholarship to me.  Since then, and along with numerous other blessings and miracles along the way, I am proud to say that I am well into my second year as a Baylor student and I am loving it more each and every day.

I try and give back to the University as much as I can because I know that if it were not for the grace of God and the amazing generosity of people and associations such as this one I would not even be here to experience any of it.  For this very reason, I appliled and was accepted as a Line Camp leader this past summer as well as a leader for Freshman Class Council.  I want to genuinely thank you for listening to my story and for being a part of it as this scholarship has helped allow me to put my own piece of the legacy within Baylor University.  Every Homecoming, all of the aunts and uncles, cousins and fiancees come back to the school they used to call home as we stake out our annual spot on Fifth Street for the parade.  Last year, I got to be a part of that tradition for the first time, and I hope to continue to be a part of it for years to come.

Sincerely,

Micah Marroquin


Sep 8 2014
BAA Board of Directors Votes to Submit Final Settlement Offer to Baylor University

BAA Board of Directors Votes to Submit Final Settlement Offer to Baylor University

The Baylor Alumni Association issued the following press release today, following its Sept. 6 Board of Directors meeting:

In Last Ditch Effort to Avoid Protracted Litigation
BAA Board of Directors Votes to Submit Final Settlement Offer to Baylor University

WACO, Texas (Sept. 8, 2014) – The Baylor Alumni Association (BAA) Board of Directors on Saturday, Sept 6, voted to submit a final settlement offer to the Baylor Board of Regents in a last-ditch effort to avoid protracted litigation with the university.

“We thought we had a framework that would work for both parties but the university has been reluctant to move forward,” BAA President Keith Starr said. “So we’ve decided to offer one final streamlined proposal.”
Details of the settlement offer remain confidential at this time pending a response by the Baylor Board of Regents.

“The BAA believes it is important for the entire Board of Regents to have an opportunity to proceed in a deliberative manner with regard to our settlement proposal with no outside influence,” Starr said. “We believe that is what is in the best interests of the entire Baylor family.”

The university sued the BAA on June 6, seeking to stop the 155-year-old alumni association from using its trademarks and from offering certain services to alumni. The university created an Office of Alumni Services and began publishing the Baylor Magazine in 2002, and has since restricted the alumni association’s access to member names, on-campus events, long-standing recognition programs, and university services, including its call center for membership drives.

“We believe that the Baylor Board of Regents does not have the right to unilaterally terminate long-standing, formal agreements that make the BAA the officially recognized alumni association on campus, and that the Regents’ effort to do so wrongfully undermines the association’s ability to function,” Starr said. “We have made every effort to find a way to resolve our differences, but if pressed, we intend to prevail if the case goes to trial.”

Starr said both parties spent much of the summer seeking to find a framework that will work for both parties.

“We are all gratified that Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr was an active participant in this summer’s meetings and that he appeared to support a settlement,” Starr said.

“The vote (Saturday) indicates that we want to settle without further pain,” Starr added. “We want to move toward a brighter future for all of us — united as the Baylor family.”

For more information about the ongoing issues between the BAA and Baylor University, please read the Spring 2014 issue of The Baylor Line, a BAA publication.


Jun 11 2014
BAA Statement Regarding University’s Lawsuit Against Association

BAA Statement Regarding University’s Lawsuit Against Association

Baylor Alumni Association (BAA) President Keith Starr today issued the following statement in response to a lawsuit filed against the Association by Baylor University:

“We are disappointed that Baylor University has elected to file a lawsuit against the Baylor Alumni Association.

“We have tried for several years now to reach an agreement with the University that enables us to preserve our name; the title of our magazine, The Baylor Line; and keeps our commitment to thousands of Baylor alumni.  However, the University has rejected our attempts at peace for over a decade and has chosen to continue its efforts to marginalize the BAA, up to and including suing its officially recognized alumni association.

“The BAA now will defend its legal rights, present its counterclaims, and oppose Baylor University’s relentless effort to silence the Association, which has served as an independent yet supportive voice of Baylor alumni for more than 150 years.”


Jun 2 2014
New Members Elected to BAA Board of Directors

New Members Elected to BAA Board of Directors

The Baylor Alumni Association (BAA) today announced the election of 10 members to its Board of Directors.  Keith Starr (’83) was elected to a one-year term as president of the alumni association.

“On behalf of the BAA, I am pleased to welcome these new and returning members to the board who will guide the organization as we chart our future course,” Starr said.  “As an independent voice for Baylor University’s alumni, the BAA’s commitment is, and always has been, the advancement of Baylor University.  Our ideals can only be achieved through the collective efforts of leaders like these who are committed to realizing the BAA’s mission and goals.”

In addition to Starr, the BAA’s newly elected officers are:

  • James Nelson, III (’04) — Treasurer
  • Emily George Tinsley (’61) — Secretary

Newly elected board members:

  • Sharon McDonald Barnes (’78, ’80)
  • Babs Baugh (’64)
  • Matt Miller (’57)
  • Jim Nelson (’68, JD ’75)
  • Stan Schlueter (’69)
  • Stacy Sharp (’76)
  • L. Wayne Tucker (’85, MBA ’86)

A full list of board members can be found here.

Directors on the BAA board serve three-year terms, and are elected by the membership.  These terms are effective as of June 1, 2014.

In other business, the board of directors recommended, and the members approved, a thoughtful, deliberative, and inclusive process to chart the future course of the BAA.

Among the options under consideration:

  • Adopt the awarding of financial assistance to Baylor students as the primary function of the organization.
  • Adopt communications with members as the primary function of the organization; or
  • Adopt both communication with members and awarding of financial assistance to Baylor students as the primary functions of the organization.

According to Starr, the BAA has worked diligently in the last few months to improve transparency with all members and has amended the association’s bylaws to give members the flexibility to vote electronically on certain BAA matters, in addition to BAA’s longstanding practice of in-person voting at meetings.

“We plan to have an open, inclusive dialogue over the summer about the options outlined today, which will prepare the membership to decide this fall on the future course of the BAA,” Starr said.  “The BAA remains committed to an open, transparent dialogue about constructive, mutually beneficial results for our members and the University.  We believe that such dialogue is the best course to pursue in determining the BAA’s future and its continued commitment to Baylor alumni.”


Sep 6 2013
Bears Backing Bears—Baylor alumni help Holly Tucker shoot for the stars

Bears Backing Bears—Baylor alumni help Holly Tucker shoot for the stars

By Julie Copenhaver
Photos by Taylor Lord

Waco Hall was oddly dark for a Thursday afternoon, but off in the faint distance a flutter of alumni activity creaked across the stage. A lone spotlight illuminated dozens of cables, cameras, and tripods, and a tattered American flag hung from the rafters. This was Holly Tucker’s promotional photo shoot.

In a world of fifteen-second YouTube fame and here-today, gone-tomorrow reality TV shows, capitalizing on talent and fame can be a challenge. But one of the greatest assets Tucker has in her corner, besides her incredible voice, is the determination and passion of Baylor alumni Jenne Blackburn, Anthony Carrillo, Taylor Lord, and Lindley Atkinson.

Last spring, Baylor Bears everywhere fell in love with Baylor sophomore Holly Tucker as she stepped out onto the national stage of “The Voice,” the highly rated NBC singing competition. Fans watched her belt out more than seven songs as she made it through eight out of ten rounds on Season 4. But even after a grueling schedule, the adventure of a lifetime, newfound fame, and an army of fans, Tucker knows that the real work begins back in Waco.

Jenne Blackburn ’09, a social media and branding consultant, immediately recognized Tucker’s marketing potential. “I saw Holly on ‘The Voice’ and followed her on Twitter, and said to myself, ‘Her current brand does not represent the young country star that she is,’” Blackburn said. Owner of Branding and Consulting by Jenne, Blackburn has a talent for helping people achieve success and understands the difficulty of juggling a person’s natural talent with packaging and promotion. “Each person is incredible and unique,” said Blackburn. “Individual brand and voice is so important in this digital age. The objective was to help convey what makes Holly different and unique to a national audience.”

Tucker was a seasoned performer before her appearance on “The Voice,” playing the saxophone in the Baylor band, singing at Waco festivals and celebrations, and even collaborating on her first full-length country album with Chris Wommack in 2007. But the fame associated with a national TV show skyrocketed Tucker to the next level.

“The Tuckers understood the importance of promoting Holly’s talents and success from ‘The Voice,’” said Blackburn. For a burgeoning musician, it can be difficult to meet the heavy demands of Hollywood and Nashville, so the Tuckers hired Blackburn to create a website for the rising star. “Holly had been wanting desperately to remodel her website for close to two years,” said Johnny Tucker, Holly’s father. “Jenne saw the website and realized that she and Anthony could be the catalyst for improvement.”

Blackburn was thrilled at the chance to help a fellow Bear reach for the stars. “I felt this was an opportunity to help Holly explore the next level. Her future is Nashville, so let’s get her ready with the resources that are available,” Blackburn explained.

Blackburn and industry partner Anthony Carrillo ’09 started conceptualizing ideas for Tucker’s new site. In addition to incorporating basic functionality and fan engagement, Blackburn and Carrillo wanted the site to mirror Tucker’s passion and drive. “We wanted to tell her story—a behind-the-scenes look at Holly before she goes on to great things,” said Blackburn.

In July, Blackburn organized a full photo and video shoot in Waco for Tucker’s promotional package. With two Baylor Bears already on board, Blackburn saw the opportunity to utilize the talents of former classmates Taylor Lord ’10 and Lindley Atkinson ’10. “I love using creative juices and bringing our friends alongside,” said Blackburn. Lord, a wedding photographer based out of Austin, and Atkinson, a Texas cinematographer and owner of Unwritten Pictures, were the perfect blend of green-and-gold creativity.

“It’s all about helping other Bears,” said Lord. “We want to make sure Holly feels like she has a really good start.” As lead photographer for the promotional shoot, Lord meticulously fine-tuned props, lighting, and backdrops, capturing images and moments unique to Tucker’s personality. “We’re trying to tell a story: Holly waiting in the wings before it happens,” said Lord. “She’s going to be a huge success.”

To accompany dozens of photos, a behind-the-scenes video was filmed to capture the energy and excitement of Holly’s new beginning. “We’re Bears backing Bears,” said Atkinson, lead cinematographer for the project. “Holly is one of the many talented young Bears who has a bright future ahead of her and is getting started in her pursuit early. It’s great getting to work with Baylor alumni who are excellent in their professional fields at such an early age.”

Throughout the long summer day in July, the Baylor alumni crew, accompanied by a handful of interns, shot stills and video in Waco Hall, the concrete alleys of downtown Waco, and the fields in McLennan County. With each location, magic moments were captured as Tucker’s project transcended shutter sounds and memory cards. “Being out there with the horses and running around with the flag and my guitar — I really came into my confidence,” said Holly Tucker. “I felt like a real, true music star.”

Now, armed with valuable promotional materials to go hand-in-hand with her incredible talent, Tucker recently published her new website and brand. Striking photos and a captivatingly exclusive video lure fans in for a sublime look at this Waco superstar. “For so long, I had a website that really didn’t look professional and made me self-conscious about it,” Holly said. “The whole experience with the promotion of the website really helped me to look at myself as more of a professional and come into my own.”

To see Holly Tucker’s new website: HollyTucker.com.
Find out more about Jenne Blackburn, Taylor Lord, and Lindley Atkinson.


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