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Baylor searches for artist to create sculpture of the University's first two black graduates

Posted at 10:36 PM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 23:36:50-04

Baylor University has started a nationwide search for a sculptor to create statues of Baylor's first black graduates, Reverend Robert Gilbert and Barbara Walker.

The two became the first black students to graduate in 1967.

"Reverend Gilbert and Mrs. walker were truly pioneers here at Baylor," said Jason Cook, Co-Chair of the Campus Experience Project with Baylor University. "They came to the university at a time where they were the only black students."

Back in May the university announced plans for the statues to help diversify campus.

And starting Friday artists up for the task can apply to create this historic sculpture.

"When dealing with artists you don't want to give to many constraints on what you want to accomplish, but we want to make sure that we remember and recognize these two important graduates in a prominent and appropriate way on our campus," said Cook.

During a previous interview with Reverand Gilbert's son, Kenyatta R. Gilbert, he reflected on the man his father was.

"My father's legacy lives on in people and his commitment to community, restoration, his commitment to the spiritual well being of all," said Kenyatta R. Gilbert.

The location of the statues will play a special roll as Reverand Gilbert was a Religion Graduate, and Mrs. Walker was a Sociology Graduate and the Tidwell Building is the department for both.

"So just like finding out about that news earlier today has definitely been something that put a smile on my face... honestly," said upcoming Baylor Senior Forche Bridges.

For Bridges who is a film and digital media major representation is everything when looking through the lens of a person of color.

"When you have statues that kind of represent your heritage," said Bridges. "When you have faculty members who are able to identify with your culture, maybe even have a better understanding because they live that day-to-day. I think that's definitely important."

Bridges hopes the statues can motivate all students to reflect on the university's history.

And looks forward to her own graduation alongside statues of those who helped make it possible.

According to a press release by the University, qualified artists are invited to submit their information to receive the request for qualification (RFQ) document, which contains more information about the project and details for how to be considered.

RFQ submissions are due no later than Aug. 13. Minimum criteria for consideration are that the artist must:

  • Have successfully completed no less than three works in similar size, scale and method of fabrication within the last 10 years.
  • Evidence a capacity to self-perform required castings or manufacture of the finished work or can identify the firms or individuals that the respondent will retain to do so.

The selection committee will then identify finalists to submit maquettes and accompanying proposals, from which the winning selection will be made.


  • Pre-submission conference call: July 26
  • Deadline for questions: Aug. 6
  • Response to questions: Aug. 11
  • Submissions due: Aug. 13
  • Finalists identified: Aug. 27
  • Finalist interviews: October-November
  • Tentative contract awarded: October-November