National Business Leaders Bring Expertise to Strategic Planning Discussions During Baylor Regents July Retreat

July 23, 2010

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Regents also welcome new members, thank alumni lawmakers, approve funds to complete Phase I of Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative and establish Ph.D. in history

A panel of national business leaders participating in a wide-ranging discussion of university strategic planning highlighted the annual summer retreat of the Baylor University Board of Regents. The meeting was held July 20-23 at Baylor Law School.

Regents attended six sessions over the course of three days that focused on various aspects of strategic planning. Panelists included:

    • Paul L. Foster, BBA '79, Executive Chairman, Western Refining Co.
    • J. Cary Gray, BA '79, BAcc '80, JD '83, President, Looper Reed & McGraw P.C.
    • Larry Heard, BBA '80, President and CEO, Transwestern
    • Mark Hurd, BBA '79, Chairman of the Board, CEO and President, Hewlett-Packard
    • Mark McCollum, BBA '80, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Halliburton

Among the topics discussed were the preservation of the university's core mission, disciplined decision-making, financial prioritization, national competitiveness in athletics, Baylor's role in the health sciences and the strength of the Baylor brand.

A special feature of the meeting was a Wednesday dinner for Regents and special guests at Armstrong Browning Library. During the dinner, the University honored Texas lawmakers, with most of Baylor's alumni legislators in attendance. Those honored for their service to the state, Central Texas and Baylor included:

    • State Sen. Brian Birdwell
    • State Sen. Chris Harris, JD '71
    • State Sen. Kirk Watson, BA '80, JD '81
    • State Sent. Royce West
    • State Rep. Charles "Doc" Anderson
    • State Rep. Valinda Bolton, BA '81
    • State Rep. Dan Branch, chair of the House Higher Education Committee
    • State Rep. Linda Harper Brown
    • State Rep. John Davis, BBA '82
    • State Rep. Jim Dunnam, BBA '86, JD '87
    • State Rep. Craig Eiland, BBA '84, JD '87
    • State Rep. Kelly Hancock, BBA '86
    • State Rep. Bryan Hughes, JD '95
    • State Rep. Carol Kent, BA '75, MA '76
    • State Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, JD '81
    • State Rep. Tryon Lewis, JD '73
    • State Rep. Diane Patrick, BA '66
    • State Rep. Ken Paxton, BA '85, MBA '86
    • State Rep. Larry Phillips, BBA '88
    • State Rep. Mark Shelton, BS '79
    • State Rep. Larry Taylor, BBA '82
    • State Rep. Allen Vaught, BBA '95
    • Former Gov. Mark White, BBA '62, JD '65
    • U.S. Congressman Chet Edwards

The four-day Regents retreat also included an orientation on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning for five new Baylor Regents - Jeffrey D. Reeter, BBA '84, of Houston, William K. Robbins Jr., BA '52, LLB '54, JD '69, of Houston, Philip W. Stewart, BA '73, JD '76, of La Jolla, Calif., Richard S Willis, BBA '81, MBA '82, of Colleyville, Texas, and Dr. Ronald L. Wilson, BA '71, MD '74,of Waco - who joined the board on June 1. New regents met with Baylor President Ken Starr and vice presidents of the university's various divisions and toured university facilities, including the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC). They also attended a dinner in their honor hosted by President Starr at Allbritton House.

In regular business, Regents approved the final $7.14 million in funds needed to complete the $32 million Phase I of the BRIC. The first project of the Central Texas Technology and Research Park, the BRIC will be housed in the former General Tire facility on South Loop Drive in Waco. Phase I of the work on the 300,000-square-foot building includes:

    • Building clean-up
    • Installation of code-related items
    • New building envelope (brick, windows and roof)
    • New atrium and building entrance
    • Site work and landscaping

Last October, Baylor joined forces with a number of community partners on the research park to provide facilities and support that will allow private companies and other educational institutions, including Baylor, to collaborate on advanced scientific research in areas such as aviation, alternative fuels and the manufacture of complex materials, including bulletproof and security components.

The BRIC was established to provide graduate research space for Baylor's School of Engineering and Computer Science and for select Baylor interdisciplinary research centers and institutes. It also will provide space for advanced technology training and workforce development for Texas State Technical College and McLennan Community College programs, space for anchor industry partners already located in or newly recruited to McLennan County, and space for joint research symposia and educational meetings.

With Regents' approval of a new Ph.D. in history, Baylor's department of history is poised to have one of the strongest doctoral programs in religion and culture in the English-speaking North Atlantic, with much of that due to the scholarly resources in religion and culture the university already has in place. Baylor currently has eight full-time scholars teaching and publishing regularly in either religion and American culture, religion in Great Britain, or some aspect of American culture that complements these areas, as well as a visiting distinguished professor in Dr. David Bebbington, who is among the most prolific and well recognized scholars in the world in the area of religion and culture. In addition, Dr. Philip Jenkins, one of the world's leading scholars on global Christianity, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion, where he is co-director of the program on historical studies of religion.

"We believe that Baylor's resources in this niche area of specialization are unmatched in all but a very few Ph.D. programs in America," said Dr. Jeffrey S. Hamilton, professor and chair of the department of history. "While there are many history Ph.D. programs across the nation, Baylor's program will be able to provide excellent graduate education in a setting that is hospitable to the Christian faith with scholars willing to consider how Christian commitments intersect with scholarship. In addition to our distinctive mission, Baylor's long tradition as an exceptional teaching university will provide an excellent culture for the training of teaching scholars who will be attractive faculty candidates at Christian colleges and universities, as well as research institutions."

The history Ph.D. program also will include a teaching mentorship program and ample classroom opportunities for Ph.D. students in their third year in the program. The program is expected to begin in fall 2011 or 2012.

"I extend my deepest thanks to the board for the valuable contribution of their time and talent over the past four days on behalf of their beloved Baylor University. We welcomed new board members, attended to important issues and engaged in very active and enthusiastic discussions about our future," President Starr said. "Appropriately, we took time to honor some of our wonderful alumni lawmakers who make us so proud in their dedicated service to the state of Texas, and we hosted a variety of distinguished alumni guests who contributed powerfully to conversations about Baylor's future direction and plans. On behalf of the university, I congratulate board chairman Stone, and the rest of our regents, on their very successful and tremendously helpful meetings this week."

"This week, as the board gathered to plan for the beginning of another academic year and to thoughtfully and strategically set the university's course for the future, it was also important that we took time to recognize the significant accomplishments of the past year," said R. Dary Stone, JD '77, chair of the Board of Regents. "In the past six months alone, we've preserved and begun to look for ways to expand Baylor's historic partnership with the Baylor College of Medicine, we've hired a remarkably talented new President and assured that Baylor remains an active member of the powerhouse athletic conference of the Big 12. Even as we are putting forward aggressive plans for the coming year, we couldn't be happier with where we are right now or more excited about Baylor's potential and prospects for the future."

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275

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