In 1995, Robert Bryan Sloan, Jr., became the 12th man to serve as president of Baylor when he left his position as founding dean of the University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary. He remained at the institution's helm until 2005 when he was named chancellor. In August 2006, Houston Baptist University tapped Sloan to be the Baptist school's third president.
In 1949, young Robert was born in Coleman, Texas, to Maggie and Bryan Sloan but was raised in Abilene, Texas, where he graduated in 1967 from Cooper High School, which was named for Baylor president Oscar Henry Cooper. He attended Baylor, playing baseball his freshman year. A member of Alpha Chi, he graduated ahead of his class, earning a bachelor of arts cum laude with distinction in the Honors Program in 1970. He then entered Princeton Theological Seminary, where he received the master of divinity degree magna cum laude in 1973. He conducted post-baccalaureate research in church history at the University of Bristol, England, from 1973-74. He earned the Doktor der Theologie degree insigni cum laude from the University of Basel, Switzerland, in 1978.
Sloan joined the faculty of Baylor's Department of Religion in 1983 after teaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth and Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. In 1990, he became the first holder of the George W. Truett Chair in Evangelism at Baylor, and in 1993, he was appointed dean of Truett Seminary. Baylor regents named Sloan to succeed Herbert H. Reynolds in February 1995. New construction on campus during Sloan's tenure included the McLane Student Life Center and the Baylor Sciences Building.
Prior to his presidency, Sloan served as pastor or interim pastor of more than 20 churches throughout Texas plus one in Oklahoma, most while holding full-time academic appointments. In 1991, Sloan preached the annual sermon for the Baptist General Convention of Texas, which met that year in Waco.
From 1991-92, he was president of the Southwest Commission on Religious Studies and held membership in numerous professional societies, including the Society of Biblical Literature, the Southwest Biblical Seminar, the Institute for Biblical Research, the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion, and Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas. He authored two books and published more than 50 articles and chapters for scholarly or ecumenical journals and publications. Sloan involved himself in the community as school board president of the Lorena Independent School District and member of the Cooper Foundation Board, Tadpole Foundation Board, and the Waco Big 12 Task Force. In 1996, the former baseball player was inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence.
In 1970, Robert Sloan married the former Sue Collier of Cisco, who earned her B.A. from Baylor that year. The couple has seven children-Charissa, Bryan, Eraina, Michael, Alathea, Sophie, and Paul-all of whom are Baylor graduates.