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News Briefs

May 27, 2008

Baylor again named a "best value"

Baylor again ranks among the nation's "best values" when it comes to private colleges, according to a report in the April 2008 edition of Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine.

The publication ranked Baylor 38th out of the 1,000-plus universities considered for the survey. When it comes to "total costs"--tuition, fees, room/board, and estimated expenses for books--Baylor was the second-most affordable school among the survey's top 50. After need-based aid is factored in, Baylor ranked 13th.

Baylor was ranked as a better value than some of the other top universities on Kiplinger's list, including Carnegie Mellon, Miami, Syracuse, George Washington, Boston and NYU. Baylor also was one of only three Texas universities to make the top 50.

Student-managed investment

fund supports athletes

For the fifth consecutive year, the Baylor athletics department has received a generous financial contribution ($210,000) from the Philip M. Dorr Alumni & Friends Endowed Investment Fund.

More than $900,000 has been returned to the athletic department for scholarships over the last five years through the fund's performance, which is managed by Baylor students in the Hankamer School of Business Southwest Securities Financial Markets Center. The investment fund, established by Dorr in 2001 with a $250,000 endowment gift, ranks as one of the nation's largest student-managed portfolios. The fund has been supported by other donors, as well, and has a current market value of about $6.5 million.

Since the Fund's inception in 2001, the student-managed portfolio has beaten its benchmark, the S&P 500, on average by about 2.0 percent per year. Likewise, it has created over 25 percent more wealth than its benchmark. This outperformance has also been accomplished with lower risk (as measured by beta and standard deviation) than the S&P 500.

Barron's names two Baylor

alums among world's top CEOs

According to Barron's Magazine, the weekly financial publication put out by Dow Jones & Company, two of the world's top 30 corporate leaders are Baylor alumni.

Mark Hurd, a 1979 graduate and CEO of technology giant Hewlett-Packard, made the list for the first time; Bob Simpson, BBA '70 and MS '71, is CEO of XTO Energy and appears on Barron's list for the fourth straight year.

The list includes "company heads who've built reputations as excellent managers and have delivered for shareholders." The ranking is based on interviews with investors and analysts, financial and stock-market performance and intangibles such as leadership and industry stature.

To qualify for consideration, Barron's requires CEOs to hold the position for a minimum of three years.

Response 'exceptional' to Baylor's first public bond issue

Baylor refinanced $112 million of fixed long-term bonds in April, drawing exceptional response from the market.

Baylor received a long-term rating of AA- with stable outlook from both Standard and Poor's and Fitch on these bonds after the two agencies looked at the University's finances, the vitality of its current programs and the likely success of its future plans.

Lehman Brothers, which served as underwriter, attributed the response to the strength of the Baylor name, as well as Baylor bonds being available to the public for the first time. When the bonds were put on the market, demand was four times the supply, with requests totaling more than $600 million, according to Dr. Reagan M. Ramsower, BBA '74, MS '76, vice president for finance and administration.

The bonds will retire variable-rate demand bonds issued by Baylor in 2002 and 2006 that were insured by XL Capital. The sudden drop in the credit rating of XL Capital precipitated the need to refinance, Ramsower said.

Driese elected president of

prominent professional society

Dr. Steven Driese, professor and chair of the geology department, has been elected president of the Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM), which has a current membership of 4,000 people with a significant number of international members. Driese will serve one year as president-elect and a second year as president of SEPM.

"This is an internationally recognized 'flagship' society for sedimentary geologists, particularly in North America, and I am extremely honored to have been elected," Driese said.

Driese received his bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University and his master's and doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was a member of the faculty at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville for more than 20 years before coming to Baylor in 2004 as professor and chair of geology department. He has published more than 75 papers in peer-reviewed journals. His current research centers around the paleoclimate and paleolandscape records of soils preserved as paleosols in the geologic record.

Professors, alum earn Christianity Today book awards

Christianity Today announced the recipients of its annual CT Book Awards in March, which include Award of Merit recognition for books written by three Baylor University professors and one Baylor alumnus.

Dr. Roger Olson's Questions to All of Your Answers: A Journey from Folk Religion to Examined Faith, Dr. Thomas Kidd's The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America, and Dr. Rodney Stark's Discovering God: The Origins of the Great Religions and the Evolution of Belief were each honored.

Dr. D. Michael Lindsay, a 1994 Baylor graduate, was recognized for Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite.

The annual awards recognize "outstanding volumes that shed light on people, events and ideas that shape evangelical life, thought and mission." CT editors selected the top books in each category; panels of judges then voted to choose the honorees.

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