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Friends of Baylor donates $1 million

Sept. 5, 2003

By Sandi Villarreal, reporter

Despite the scandals and perceived negativity surrounding Baylor over the past few months, a group of alumni, Waco businesses and other devoted Waco citizens donated $1 million to Baylor's endowment in a rally held Friday.

The Friends of Baylor University donated the money to show their commitment to supporting the continued success and well-being of the school, President Robert B. Sloan Jr. and the Baylor Board of Regents.

The organization was formed in response to recent opposition to Baylor's leadership and is headed by Clifton Robinson, chairman and CEO of National Lloyd's Insurance Co.

'Our primary purpose is to show support for Baylor, President Sloan and the Board of Regents,' Russell Trippeta, Friends of Baylor member, said. 'We certainly want to support the school in any way we can, including continued financial support.'

And the group's support does not only come in the form of financial donations. The organization put a full-page advertisement explaining the group's commitment in the Aug. 30 issue of the Waco Tribune-Herald with a list of approximately 200 local supporters and members.

The names include many prominent businessmen in the community who said they recognize Baylor's contribution to the Waco economy.

'Whether you measure it in economic terms, the addition to the quality of life it provides, or by the contribution it makes by sending students all over the world, Baylor is good and has to be seen as an institution that does the right thing,' Willard Still, a local businessman, said.

The Friends of Baylor University also is planning to show support during Parents' Weekend and through publishing more ads, Trippet said.

The group is trying to push the point that recent events in the media are not a reflection of the leadership or the standing of the university.

'I think that it is really unfortunate that the events are being connected. Everyone is grieved about a basketball player being killed, and everyone is grieved about the scandal involving Dave Bliss, but that is life and it happens all over the country,' Still said. 'It has nothing to do with Baylor as a university. It is a tragedy that is beyond the control of Board of Regents and Robert Sloan.'

On the other side of the controversy is a group of faculty and some others who have expressed distrust in the way the university is being run.

This group is pushing for a no-confidence vote in the faculty senate, which meets Tuesday.

'I don't know that there will be a motion,' Dr. Charles Weaver, faculty senate member and professor of psychology and neuroscience, said, 'but if there is one, the senate will discuss, debate and make a decision.'

The no-confidence vote is simply a symbolic act to acknowledge whether or not the faculty express trust in the current administration, Weaver said. If passed the motion will be sent to the Board of Regents for review.

The outcome of the senate meeting will be announced Tuesday, Sept. 9.