Dr. John M. Lilley served as the 13th president of Baylor University from January 1, 2006 to July 24, 2008.
A native of Louisiana and the son of a Baptist minister, Dr. Lilley earned three degrees from Baylor in the 1960s. He went on to earn his doctorate from the University of Southern California in 1971. He received a certificate from the Harvard Business School in 1978. The Baylor Alumni Association awarded him its 2005 Distinguished Alumnus Award.
During his term as president, Baylor was recognized as one of the most productive research universities in the nation by Academic Analytics. The Center for College Affordability & Productivity ranks Baylor at No. 34 in the nation, and Kiplinger's ranks Baylor among the nation's top 50 "Best Values in Private Colleges" in 2008.
Dr. Lilley also oversaw the growth of Baylor's endowment to $1.1 billion. During 2007-08, Baylor received more than $80 million in gifts and pledges, including $22 million given specifically to its endowment.
New construction or major renovations on campus during Dr. Lilley's presidency include the Brooks Village Residential Community, the Paul L. Foster Success Center, the Lt. Jack Whetsel Jr. Basketball Practice Facility, the Alwin O. and Dorothy Highers Athletics Complex and the Simpson Athletics and Academic Center, the McMullen-Connally Faculty Center and the Immortal Ten Memorial.
Prior to returning to his alma mater, Dr. Lilley served for more than four years as the 14th president of the University of Nevada, Reno. He led that major research and land-grant institution through a comprehensive strategic planning process and presided over an expansion of the institution's external funding and the creation of new research centers and institutes to further its scientific outreach. Through private fundraising and in collaboration with the state government and the student body, he achieved the approval of approximately $400 million in new buildings to the campus.
Before assuming the presidency at Nevada, Reno, Dr. Lilley was the head of Penn State Erie. Over a 21-year period, he led the four-year and graduate campus of The Pennsylvania State University through a period of dramatic growth.
During his tenure, enrollment doubled, admissions standards rose, and the college's physical campus grew from 400 to 750 acres. Under his leadership, the institution created four-year and graduate programs in science, engineering, and business. He presided over the creation of an honors program and secured a $20 million private endowment for its School of Business. He led in the creation of centers for economic development and a 200-acre Knowledge Park on campus, bringing business and industry into close collaboration with the university.
He helped to found the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference for athletics. Penn State Erie's athletics program grew from nine intercollegiate sports to 21 teams in full compliance with Title IX.
In July 2002, Penn State's trustees voted to name the Erie campus' new library in Dr. Lilley's honor. At the same time, he received Penn State Erie's top honor, the Behrend Medallion, for outstanding service to Penn State and the Erie community.
Dr. Lilley began his academic career as a faculty member at The Claremont Colleges in California. In 1976, he was named assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Kansas State University, where he chaired the college's curricular affairs committee, led a reform of the college's general education requirements, and supervised the student advising program.
A great believer in community service and engagement, Dr. Lilley served on the boards of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, the Reno Philharmonic, and the Education Collaborative.
While at Penn State, he served as president of the Rotary Club and chair of the United Way board. His other board memberships included the Erie Philharmonic; WQLN, Northwest Pennsylvania's public radio and TV stations; the Americans for the Competitive Enterprise System; the Northwestern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Council; and the Erie Plastics Corp.
Professionally, he served on the board of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and on the boards of the Big 12 Conference and the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities. He also served as convener of the Texas Baptist University presidents.
Dr. Lilley and his wife, Geraldine (Gerrie), have four grown children and three grandchildren.