Just Be'Cos

October 13, 2003

After watching and listening to a continuous spate of news about the Baylor men's basketball program and the tragic death of player Patrick Dennehy this summer, one man decided to do something "to lift the spirits" of students, faculty and staff.
Bill Cosby, one of America's most-beloved comedians and TV stars, held a free rally Sept. 4 at Floyd Casey Stadium for a crowd of more than 20,000 students, faculty, employees and members of the Central Texas community. 
At the rally, Dr. Robert B. Sloan Jr. presented Cosby with an honorary doctorate of humane letters.
Cosby, who has an earned doctorate of education from the University of Massachusetts, called Dr. Sloan's office in mid-August during two weeks of nonstop Baylor media attention. He volunteered to help the University, "to let the world know what a great place this is," he said.
During the announcement of the rally Aug. 28, Cosby spoke to media representatives via a conference call. He addressed the "horrible, horrible tragedy" of Dennehy's death, stating that he in no way wanted to minimize that. But, in thinking about how he would feel if his own child or grandchild were attending Baylor, he said he felt he or she "might be besieged by this negative situation."
"I would want to tell them, these things happen, but you are going to a great school. What's important is that Baylor was founded to educate. So many great human beings have come out of here with a great, great education," said Cosby, who performed at Baylor in 1990 and at Parents Weekend in 2002.
"The name could be Swarthmore or Temple. There's a tragedy and news keeps coming, and it's like nobody remembers there are students there and professors there," he said. "They need to recognize that they are loved."
Dr. Sloan said, "When someone of his stature, who is really quite an icon of comedy in America, and someone who cares so deeply about education, calls Baylor with this kind of an offer, it's really quite an honor."