WACO, Texas (KWKT) — A Baylor University tradition that’s been around for over six decades is going on the road for others to experience — with the goal of recruiting prospective high school students.
The Dr. Pepper beverage originated in Waco and became the university’s soft drink in 1997: continuing a tradition formerly know as “Coke Hour” which started in 1953. Baylor students enjoy a Dr. Pepper Hour every Tuesday in the Student Union Building Barfield Drawing Room — the same room where it began.
“Gosh, I think this is year number 68 for Dr. Pepper Hour,” Cook said. “We thought, ‘What better way to kind of extend that tradition off our campus to local high schools here in Waco?’ But then ultimately, around the state, as well.”
Baylor Vice President of Marketing and Communication Jason Cook says they did a soft launch of their mobile Dr. Pepper Hour at Midway High School and it was a success.
Over the next four weeks, the tour will visit 17 other high schools.
“This fall, we are targeting high schools in the Dallas area, Houston, Austin, San Antonio,” Cook said. “Obviously, the biggest cities in the state.”
He says the university wanted to create an experience for students to enjoy, while including social media.
“[We wanted to] Generate a lot of excitement about Baylor — that was kind of the genesis of what we were trying to do,” Cook said. “We’re not aware of any university across the country that’s trying to recruit future students with ice cream!”
Assistant Director of Admission Visit Experience Vincent Phillip says this initiative will allow the university to reach a larger audience.
“What we learned in this past year is that there is a demand for the Baylor experience,” Phillip said. “Not a demand just to come to Baylor to get the degree. There is a strong demand for this Baylor experience.”
Phillip says this year Baylor had the largest record-breaking class and it had a lot to do with meeting students where they are.
The bright yellow truck and trailer will park outside of schools, giving students the opportunity to meet with Undergraduate Admissions counselors.
Students will also receive a COVID-safe Dr. Pepper kit including Blue Bell Ice Cream, a mini-can of Dr. Pepper, and a gold Baylor-branded plastic cup.
Cook says with the help of partners like Dr. Pepper and Blue Bell, this unique experience is a reality for future Baylor Bears.
“You are not just going to a place to get an education,” Phillip said. “You are going to a place to make memories. To make lifelong friends. Connections to really be changed.”
The Dr. Pepper Spring Tour will include a list of Waco High Schools. If you are interested in tracking the tour, or having it stop at your school’s campus, you can visit the Dr. Pepper Hour Tour website.