February 13, 2004
Sue Mayborn doesn't like to talk about herself, but her generosity speaks volumes.
She speaks warmly about the time her late husband tried to teach her to fly-fish. She also talks about places in the world she has enjoyed visiting and the people in her community who selflessly serve others. But when it comes to her involvement in the University's new museum complex that bears her name, she has little to say.
"I really don't like to talk about giving," says Mayborn, who lives in Temple, Texas. "Giving is a personal thing, whether you give a little or a lot." For her, being recognized for her philanthropy can be overwhelming. "It's OK for everyone else. I'm not saying it's wrong. It's wrong for me."
Still, as president, editor and publisher of the Temple Daily Telegram and Killeen Daily Herald and president of Channel 6 Inc., Mayborn recognizes a good story when she hears one. When asked whether she considered the museum's completion newsworthy, she smiles and concedes, "Probably."
The Sue and Frank Mayborn Natural Science and Cultural History Museum Complex opens to the public in May, completing years of fund raising and construction. And although Mayborn acknowledges the sense of accomplishment in seeing the project completed, she quickly downplays her role in it.
"I'm such a small part of that museum," she says. "The framework, the foundation work was there. ... They had all the elements, but they just needed to expand it. Now it has a beautiful home, thanks to the [Harry and Anna] Jeaneses and so many other people. ... It will be fun to go and experience it and to see the kids, but I don't have to see that to have satisfaction."
In summer 2000, Mayborn made a substantial pledge from The Frank W. & Sue Mayborn Foundation for the complex. It was not the first time the University had benefited from the Mayborns' generosity. After Frank -- a Central Texas media icon -- died in 1987, Sue Mayborn established a scholarship in his name in the journalism department and also funds a program for political science students to intern in Washington, D.C. In 2000, she was presented with the Herbert H. Reynolds Award for Exemplary Service, and in 2001, she was named an Alumna Honoris Causa for her ongoing support for Baylor.
Belinda Miller Branstetter, a former gift officer with Baylor who worked with her from 1995 to 2001, says Mayborn cares deeply about children, young people and education -- passions that have been fully realized in the creation of the museum complex.
"She sees the museum as being an investment she can make for the future, and she definitely has a loyalty to Central Texas," Branstetter says. "I really look up to her as how you can live your life and make a difference in your community, and I respect her for her leadership and business 'smarts.' She's such a capable business woman, and yet, she balances that with this very compassionate heart."
Mayborn says it was easy for her to support the museum complex because she knew Baylor would do a first-class job with it. "I just thought it was a wonderful project, that it would be so good for our area and for children. But not only children -- all of us."