Baylor & BAA Leadership Resolved to Move Forward TogetherJuly 11, 2013
Dear Baylor Nation:
As I shared with Baylor Nation last month, Baylor University and the Baylor Alumni Association worked collaboratively and cooperatively for ten months to bring about a new day at Baylor -- to agree on a pathway that would re-unite the Baylor family and allow all of Baylor Nation to come together. While we rejoiced that such unity of purpose was reached, we recognize the sadness of some that, as an essential part of the path forward, the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center would need to come down to make way for the entryway for our new on-campus football stadium. Both the Baylor Alumni Association and Baylor University have been communicating information about these two agreements in anticipation of a September 7 vote by the membership of the Baylor Alumni Association to ratify these historic documents.
Unfortunately, a single alumnus, Kurt Dorr of Chicago, Illinois, has filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Waco against both the leadership of the Baylor Alumni Association and Baylor University to prevent implementation of these agreements. On July 2, a temporary restraining order preventing demolition -- at this time -- of the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center was issued by the federal district court. Just yesterday, the Judge held a hearing on the temporary order. The Judge issued no final ruling, but directed the Baylor Alumni Association and Baylor University to seek to mediate the dispute with Mr. Dorr. We will, of course, fully obey the District Judge's order as we earnestly seek to put the conflicts of the past behind us. As I have heard from countless alumni, our University needs to look to the future.
We are deeply disappointed that Mr. Dorr has elected to challenge the two agreements so painstakingly constructed by the leadership of both Baylor University and the Baylor Alumni Association. Moreover, these two agreements have been fully supported by the BAA's executive committee of the Board of Directors and the Baylor Board of Regents. Although Mr. Dorr was not present at yesterday's hearing, we are confident that his litigation position does not represent the view of the vast majority of Baylor alumni.
This action by a single individual effectively brings to a halt -- temporarily -- a significant element of construction on Baylor Stadium. We remain excited about the prospect of completion of the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Bridge and landing connecting our riverfront stadium to the Baylor campus. We are doing everything we can to have the new facility ready for the 2014 football season.
During my three years of service, Baylor alumni around the country have made clear their enthusiasm for an on-campus stadium. We are thankful that that dream can now become a reality. We estimate that, on game day, approximately 30,000 people will access Baylor Stadium from campus on the south side of the Brazos River. The land on which Hughes-Dillard currently sits will, under the University's plan, serve as the entrance point for these 30,000 people as they walk from campus -- across University Parks Drive (which will be closed to vehicular traffic) and across the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Bridge to Baylor Stadium. Populous, our renowned architectural firm, has been insistent in its judgment that Baylor Stadium needs to include a grand pathway large enough to accommodate the tens of thousands of Baylor Bears who will enter the riverfront stadium from campus. A sidewalk circumventing Hughes-Dillard is not functional because it would not accommodate the large number of people walking to and from the stadium.
In consultation with our litigation counsel, and in collaboration with the BAA's elected leadership, we are presently determining our next steps. But, we in the Administration view with utmost seriousness our solemn responsibility to the tens of thousands of Baylor alumni and friends who have generously supported this transformational project. We intend to do everything we possibly can -- even with the admittedly challenging circumstances of the litigation brought against us -- to remain on schedule to open in the fall of 2014, and to preserve the integrity of the entire plan for Baylor's new on-campus stadium.
We will provide you with more information as we are able to do so.