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Along 5th Street

Longtime Buckner CEO answers Baylor call

Dec. 18, 2012

Ken_hall

Longtime Buckner CEO answers Baylor call

Veteran Baptist leader named vice-president for university development and strategic initiatives

As a high school student almost 50 years ago, Ken Hall wanted to attend Baylor, but instead went elsewhere because "my family and I needed the scholarship money offered by another university to make my attending college an affordable reality."

As Baylor's newly appointed senior vice president for university development and strategic initiatives, one of Dr. Kenneth Hall's priorities will be to make sure that scholarship support is available to help every student who is academically qualified experience Baylor University.

Hall brings a lifetime of fundraising and leadership experience to Baylor, having only recently retired after almost two decades leading Buckner International, one of the largest private social care agencies in the United States and one of Texas' oldest Baptist organizations.

"We are pleased that Ken Hall has agreed to bring his years of experience and dynamic sense of servant leadership to Baylor," said University President Ken Starr. "He is widely respected here in Texas for his remarkable service to Buckner International, where he served as president and CEO. In his travels to extend the good work of Buckner, Dr. Hall has established a powerful network of contacts that reach around the globe. He is a natural addition to our leadership team, and we are fully confident in his abilities to help us build Baylor University in the years to come."

"I had a profound sense of calling to Buckner International, an organization I have loved and served for many years, and I would not have agreed to join Baylor in this new position unless I felt the same powerful call to serve," Hall said. "I am honored and humbled to have been offered the opportunity to serve Baylor as we stand at the threshold of a new period in the university's 167-year history."

Looking back, that sense of calling to Baylor has followed Hall throughout his life, from pastors who encouraged him to attend Baylor as a youth; to Baylor alumni he met as a student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and while serving as a pastor in Gatesville, Midland and Longview, Texas; to his interactions with Baylor while serving as president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

Hall's latest association with the university began in 2009 when he was appointed chair of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee that eventually recommended Judge Ken Starr as president. A year ago, he began providing Starr with counsel related to fundraising initiatives, and he was elected to the Baylor Board of Regents in May -- a role he has resigned to take this new position, effective Jan. 1, 2013.

"I've discovered that there's a bit of a pattern," Hall laughs. "Every time Baylor calls, you want to say 'yes.' I think Baylor University is one of the greatest assets of the Kingdom enterprise, and so when Judge Starr and the Regents asked me to consider this role, it was very difficult to say no."

In his 19 years at Buckner, Hall helped the organization grow into one of the nation's showcase social service non-governmental organizations, annually serving more than 450,000 people through an array of diverse services for orphans, vulnerable children and families, and elder adults. Hall oversaw the expansion of Buckner to include more than $200 million in capital improvements in the past 15 years and the growth of the Buckner endowment to $200 million.

At Baylor, he will be tasked with building relationships with individuals and groups both inside and outside of the university to help support Baylor's mission and aid students today and into the future.

"I see Baylor as a unique laboratory for proving out the totality of the Gospel," Hall says. "Intellectual, emotional, spiritual, relational -- this is a place and an entity that can deal with the whole of a being. And it's not just for students: it's for all of us. We use the term 'the Baylor family' a lot, and that's a very good description of what we are.

"But I think we have to be candid that the participation rate of our donor base, our alumni base, is not where it should be. We need our alumni and our friends to know that it is only with their help that we can carry Baylor into a strong future. Many people would view this as a challenge, but I see it as an opportunity. There are myriad reasons alumni have not engaged philanthropically in the life of the university, including the state of the economy. But it is critical that we illustrate both the needs of the university and our stewardship of each gift. We must come together to build a robust endowment and a thriving culture of giving among alumni of all ages around the cause of Pro Futuris.

"Each person has a different capacity to give, but all of us ought to be giving something. I would ask alums to come along and collaborate with us on our important and distinct mission of providing quality Christian education."

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