In February 1885, the mantle of leadership of the University was placed on the shoulders of native Texan Reddin Andrews, a Civil War veteran and 1871 Baylor valedictorian. He lived in President Crane's home as a student and had served as vice president prior to accepting the pastorate of Tyler Baptist Church.
Andrews intended to remain president only until Texas Baptists agreed to unify the various conventions and organizations scattered across the state and decide the fates of Baylor and Waco Universities. Over his first several months in office, as proposals regarding the removal of the Independence schools were being considered by various Baptist bodies, Andrews directed the activities of the University under what could best be described as "adverse circumstances."
In his first report to the trustees, Andrews stated that "I have done what I could to carry on the work. There have been 64 students during the scholastic year, with perhaps a daily average of 40. The order has been tolerably good. . . . I have made no arrangements for teachers next year. I did not feel justified in doing so without knowledge of the financial condition of the university. Of this I know nothing. . . . My own support has been only partially attended to since I came into my present position. . . .We have one graduate for this year."
During the summer of 1885, along with fragmented dialogue on what actions should be taken to consolidate Baptist organizations and institutions, Baylor supporters urgently requested the trustees to address the pressing needs of the institution, particularly the presidency. Trustees recognized the difficulty of selecting someone new, especially under the tenuous economic situation and unsure future regarding Baylor's location. They, therefore, asked Andrews to direct the operations a while longer, giving him permission to keep all tuition fees, incidental taxes, library fees, and interest accruing from the endowment fund, the sum not to exceed $2,000. Out of these sources, however, he was expected to pay all salaries and operational expenses.
Andrews reluctantly agreed but resigned after the fall term to accept a vice presidency at Waco University, claiming a "real sense of depression caught me in its grasp. I said little, suffered much and did all that I could in the face of a forlorn hope." Some accused him of conspiring with Rufus Burleson, president of the Waco school, and deliberately sabotaging Baylor with his leaving, but most believed no one could have turned back the rising tide for moving the University away from Independence. Indeed, he served on the unification committee that merged the Baptist State Convention and Baptist General Association into the Baptist General Convention of Texas in 1886.
Reddin Andrews, Jr., was born January 18, 1848, in LaGrange, Texas, to Reddin and Mary Jane Talbert Andrews. He was orphaned early in life and was raised by his sister. He married Elizabeth Eddins in 1874. They had nine children of whom seven survived. He died August 16, 1923, in Lawton, Oklahoma.