Portrait in Excellence 2003 [The Baylor Line]
by Hope Katz Gibbs
The Baylor Line
Photography by Danny Turner
At a black-tie banquet on January 31, 2003, the Baylor Alumni Association bestowed the Distinguished Alumni Award on four Baylor graduates, including Dr. Barbara Montgomery and Dr. Kenneth Carlile. Here’s why.
Dr. Barbara Montgomery, Class of 1965
Director, Holistic Nursing Consultants
In 1868, Florence Nightingale told the world, “Nursing is an art; and if it is to be made an art, it requires as exclusive a devotion, as hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or marble, compared with having to do with the living body-the temple of God’s spirit?”
The same statement could have come from the lips of one of today’s nursing pioneers, Dr. Barbara Montgomery Dossey, a registered nurse certified in holistic nursing and the author of “Florence Nightingale: Mystic, Visionary, Healer.”
“Holistic nursing is a philosophy and perspective that addresses the body, mind, and spirit of the patient,” explains Dossey, who has authored or co-authored nineteen books and recorded many audiotapes on the subject, including Holistic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice. “Holistic nursing isn’t a
specialty in nursing, but the essence of the profession.”
Dossey came to that conclusion after many years as a critical care nurse. “We were always being educated about the latest advancements in technology,” says Dossey, who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her husband, Larry, a physician and author. “Yes, technology provides us with wonderful lifesaving capabilities. But when someone is sick, say with heart disease, I want to ask what thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are also involved and to help patients heal by integrating complementary and alternative therapies.”
Dossey’s ideas have helped patients create healthier lifestyles by learning new skills to balance their spirituality, nutrition, and loving relationships. Many of Dossey’s ideas are grounded in her firsthand experience with an acute health crisis-a bout with food poisoning contracted while on vacation in Mexico in 1969 that resulted in an infection of the cornea, called dendritic keratitis, in her right eye.
Initially, a topical ointment cleared it up, but for eight years afterward the condition would flare up whenever Dossey was under stress. Scar tissue formed, and eventually the ailment blinded her. Dossey underwent a cornea transplant, which restored her sight, but rejection ensued-leaving her to suffer through steroid injections administered by a long needle directly into her cornea. “How I wish I had known more about distraction, relaxation, and rhythmic breathing exercises,” she jokes today. Fortunately, her eye condition is now stable.
In 1976 Dossey attended a biofeedback workshop with her husband. She learned to manage migraine headaches without medicine and began a biofeedback department in his internal medicine group practice, she devised a relaxation plan to manage her stress. She then developed holistic healing plans to help others.
Success with biofeedback led to years of study with other mind-body techniques, including relaxation, breath work, imagery, and the use of healing rituals. Dossey began sharing her knowledge with her colleagues, and she joined other nurses as the holistic nursing movement grew.
She was a founding member of the American Holistic Nurses’ Association—a group of nurses who develop standards, manuals, and position papers on holistic philosophy and the caring process-and began teaching and lecturing throughout the country. She also founded Holistic Nursing Consultants in Santa Fe, where she serves as director.
Dossey’s good deeds have won her dozens of awards, including the Nurse Healers Award from the Nurse Healers-Professional Associates in 1998. But the humble healer says she’s just honored to serve others.
“There is a big difference between curing and healing,” Dossey insists. “As nurses, our job is never to fix anyone. We simply facilitate the healing process and honor our patients and their families. A patient knows when a healer has walked into the room. I honor that knowing, and I hope to spend my life helping other nurses honor it, too.”
DR. KENNETH CARLILE DDS Class of 1973; PhD Class of 1996
Co-chair, The Carlile Companies
Dr. Kenneth Carlile loved the family business from his earliest years. During his teens, he worked in the oil fields of Marshall, Texas, where his father’s company, Marshall Exploration, Inc., was headquartered. But in the mid- 1960s, when it was time for him to head to college, the oil industry was in a slump. “My father thought maybe I should pursue another career,” remembers the 56-year-old Carlile today.
So instead of studying for a business degree at Baylor, Carlile opted for a profession that at least let him use his hands. He chose dentistry. “I always liked science, and dentistry intrigued me,” explains Carlile, who graduated from Baylor with a BA in 1969. In 1973 he completed his doctor of dental surgery degree at Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas.
He set up a practice in Marshall, and he soon had a steady following. Still, Carlile admits, his heart wasn’t in his career for many reasons. “I liked being a dentist; it really is a fine profession. But I missed the oil business,” says Carlile, who got around the dilemma by working as a dentist by day and investing in the oil business in his spare time. Eventually, he says, his investments started bringing in more income than his dental practice was generating. He knew it was time to make a change, and he sold his practice to a Baylor classmate.
Carlile promptly returned full time to the oil business. He went back to school to earn a BA and MA in geology from Centenary College. He then came back to Baylor to work on a PhD in geology, graduating in 1996.
Today, he is the co-chair of The Carlile Companies, a conglomerate that employs more than 400 people and includes five subsidiaries: Martex Drilling Company, Martex Well Services, Unitex Properties, Camterra Resources, and First Service Bank. He was the co-owner of Marshall Exploration, a company that merged in 1990 with Southern Natural Gas (Sonat) and then later merged with El Paso Gas. Since 1998, Carlile has been the co-owner of First Service Bank, a company that merged with Hibernia National Bank of New Orleans and currently has nine branches throughout East Texas.
Through all of his successes-especially his marriage to Celia Choate Carlile and the birth of his two sons—Baylor University has remained close to his heart. He currently sits on Baylor’s Geology Advisory Board, is the chair-elect of the Baylor Foundation, and serves on the Baylor Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. He’s also been chair of the Baylor Development Council and the Sesquicentennial Campaign, a member of the Student Life Complex Steering Committee, and a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board.
V\That makes him proudest, Carlile says, is that The Carlile Companies remains a family-owned business. “My father, brothers, and oldest son, Zachary, who graduated from Baylor, are all still running the place,” he says.
Plus, Carlile says he’s proud to report that dozens of Baylor graduates work for the firm. “It’s a real family affair.” Public service is also important to Carlile. From 1993 to 1995, he was appointed by the governor to serve as chair and commissioner of the Texas Department of Commerce. And in 1994 he was appointed by the governor as a member of the
Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.
Carlile admits he never would have guessed as a young man that he would have accomplished all he has in the last few decades. “You just never know where life is going to take you,” he says. “So far, it’s been a very exciting ride.”