Judge Ken Starr officially took office as the 14th president of Baylor University on June 1, but he began life as a Bear long before that.
Starr spent the three and a half months between his public introduction as president Feb. 16 and his first day in office getting acquainted with as many parts of the Baylor family as possible, beginning with alumni, students, faculty and staff, making not only three trips from Malibu to Waco this spring but also visiting Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio to meet with alumni.
"I have very much enjoyed being able to learn from so many passionate members of the Baylor family," Starr said. "A vast university, especially a Christian university like Baylor with its deep Baptist heritage, has a number of constituencies that should be heard, so I've been as involved as possible the last three months in doing just that."
The Waco trips, each lasting several days, provided Starr with the chance to begin building relationships on campus. He spent hours in meetings with deans, department chairs, the Faculty Senate and Staff Council. After a long career in the legal field, Starr also blocked out time to meet with Baylor Law School faculty to see how he can support or help there.
Before the spring semester concluded, he gathered Baylor's outgoing (2009-10) and incoming (2010-11) student government leaders to hear the priorities of students on campus. Starr also spent time with key administrators, including the Executive Council and outgoing Interim President David Garland.
During these visits, Starr -- an avid sports fan -- made sure to squeeze in a few Baylor sporting events as well, starting with home softball and tennis events. During March Madness, he traveled to Houston, Memphis and San Antonioto see the Baylor men's and women's basketball teams in their Sweet 16, Elite Eight and Final Four appearances.
Waco civic leaders, from then-Mayor Virginia DuPuy to the Chamber of Commerce, convened with Starr to continue the dialogue that has created a strong, meaningful partnership between Baylor and Waco.
Starr's wife, Alice, was able to accompany her husband to Waco during two of his trips. During those visits, she visited the Baylor Speech and Hearing Clinic on campus and was welcomed into meetings with the Waco Chamber of Commerce, Baylor's United Way team leaders, and other local foundations.
While in Dallas, Judge Starr convened with local pastors and leaders from the Baptist General Convention of Texas to discuss the importance of Baylor's Baptist heritage. Similar conversations took place with area pastors in Waco, where Starr has since joined Columbus Avenue Baptist Church.
Starr joined leaders from the Baylor Health Care System in Dallas to explorea the university's role there, and has plans to meet this summer with representatives from the Baylor College of Medicine about the university's continued involvement with the Houston-based school.
That wasn't the only meeting scheduled after Starr took office, either. He visited Washington, D.C., in June to meet with the Texas delegation in the nation's capital. At press time, the Baylor Network was working closely with the president's office to arrange opportunities for Starr to meet with alumni in cities across Texas and beyond over the coming months.
For more on Starr's first days as Baylor's president, visit www.baylor.edu/president.