Students at Baylor, 1951-1960

During the 1950s, Baylor University was being influenced by a shifting nation that featured changes in political pressures, athletic regulations, social environments, and gender expectations. The lives of students and the roles of administration were impacted as a result of these external factors.

Causes and Effects of the Constitutional Convention of 1953 by Megan Harper – At Baylor University, the Student Council had been operating for almost 38 years when the Constitutional Convention of 1953 occurred. The continual emphasis on democracy by President W.R. White and the tensions building around communism throughout the country were both highly influential on the transition from the single branch student council into a three branch Student Government. The increase of student involvement on campus and the dedication to this constitutional convention brought about great changes to the organization and Baylor University as a whole.

Baylor Football Recruitment and Scholarships in the 1950s by Megan Michener – Student-athlete recruitment and compensation has been a constant debate in the world of collegiate sports since the beginning of intercollegiate athletics. Multiple changes occurred in national policies between 1948 and 1960, and these changes were evident in the National Collegiate Athletic Conference, Southwestern Athletic Conference, and at Baylor University. The national policies being implemented influenced the freedom of individual institutions to offer athletic scholarships and financial aid for their student-athletes. Recruitment practices were greatly controlled by the ability or inability to offer financial aid.

Late Night and Weekend Programming for College Students by Chelsey Art – With the completion of the Student Union Building in 1946, students at Baylor University were hopeful that they would have a place on campus available to them during the day. However, students were using evenings and weekends during the 1950s as a time to leave campus in order to engage in non-sanctioned events. As a result of on-campus opportunities, staff members worked together to incorporate various late night programming that included a weekly movie, roller-skating, bowling, and more. Their hope was that providing these activities would sway students to remain on-campus and participate in sanctioned events, rather than leave campus in search of alternative entertainment.

Baylor Women in the Media by Carly Zerr – The Baylor media, specifically the Baylor Lariat and press releases, emphasized particular stereotypes when addressing women. These stereotypes included; attending school to find a husband, being needy in the dating scene and having to be cared for by both men and the university. The headlines and sexist comments did not accurately represent the role Baylor women were playing on campus in the 1950s. Some of Baylor’s organized activities and rules actively enhanced these stereotypes.  Nevertheless, both male and female allies worked to create a more respected and equal view of women during this time. Certain individuals began addressing the problems regarding female stereotypes and aimed to bring women’s accomplishments to the forefront.

Throughout these different facets of Baylor University, national societal changes had an impact. These not only affected operational procedures and programmatic efforts, but also the mindsets and attitudes of individuals on campus. It is clear that the enhancement of student life plays a critical role on campus and reaches further than just the college students.



Causes and Effects of the Constitutional Convention of 1953 by Megan Harper

Baylor Football Recruitment and Scholarships in the 1950s by Megan Michener

Late Night and Weekend Programming for College Students by Chelsey Art

Baylor Women in the Media by Carly Zerr