My Baylor Blunder: Presidential Style

Waco: September 16, 2010

Tonight I attended the inaugural dinner on the campus of Baylor University for its new president Kenneth Winston Starr. My wife and I are alumni and looked forward to this homecoming with great anticipation. Frankly during our days at Baylor we would have never dreamed we would have been part of such an historic gathering.

When the invitation arrived several weeks ago, I read closely the instructions about when and where the dinner would be held. In addition, the invitation stressed the dinner would be a “dressy affair.” I must admit in the circles I run in “dressy” typically means “Sunday–go to meeting” clothes, but since it was Baylor I assumed it meant “black tie”–so in an effort to blend in, I brought my bow tie and formal wear.

When we arrived on campus and parked I began to scout out the crowd entering the dinner. I noticed that most of the men were in suits and ties, but I hoped they were the ones under dressed. As we entered the Barfield drawing room we were greeted by young Baylor students dressed in tuxedos, so at first I felt relieved until I entered the room and realized I was the only guest dressed in formal wear.

At this point, it was too late to turn back. Once again I had made a freshman blunder at good ole Baylor. So I painted on my smile and tried to look like wearing a tux was natural to me as a worn pair of jeans. Of course one of my biggest fears was that someone was going to hand me a tray and ask me to serve drinks or bus tables.

Finally, I was able to sneak into the room hoping and praying that I could sit in the back of the room. Of course, the room was full of the “rich and famous” of Baylor circles. Things were going well until the chairman of the board made his way to our table to greet us. When he came to me he mistook me for a musician who would be performing later in the gala. When I introduced myself to him I wish you could have seen the look on his face. It was embarrassing for both of us.

In many ways my return to Baylor reminded me so much of my freshman year when I so wanted to fit in only to stick out. As the evening closed, we said our goodbyes to our table guests, and quickly made our way for the door only to be greeted by two lines of Baylor students dressed in black tuxedos. It gave a whole new definition of the good ole Baylor line to me on this special evening.

It is funny how clothes can create so many different emotions. I dressed up to try to make myself blend into a crowd I was intimidated by–I think on this evening the LORD used my social blunder to teach me a simple lesson. I learned clothes do not make a man–Jesus does. I need to stop trying to be someone I am not, and I need to start simply being the person I was created to be.

In closing I want to thank President Ken Starr for inviting me to this very special event–I can promise you it will be a night I will laugh about for years to come. Sic’em Bears!!

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5 Comments

Filed under BGCT Presidential Journal

5 responses to “My Baylor Blunder: Presidential Style

  1. Larry Lyon

    I thought you looked very distinguished, David.

    The title of the book we talked about is “In Praise of Doubt, ” co-authored by Peter Berger, who now holds a Distinguished Faculty position at Baylor.

  2. Pingback: Friday fun « We Are Texas Baptists

  3. Arelee

    Being well dressed is never a waste.

  4. Frances Waldrip

    David:

  5. Frances Waldrip

    Having dealt with many distinguished people in my adult life, I always felt honored to be recognized.
    Through the years, I’ve found that it’s better to dress to be my best for the person being honored, as well as, for my own self esteem. You and Robyn look
    great!

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