The Baylor University Board of Regents' annual summer retreat began July 21 with a dinner in Waco recognizing the "Pro Texana" part of Baylor's mission and honoring the Texas lawmakers who serve Baylor, Central Texas and the entire state.
Seventeen Baylor graduates currently serve in the state legislature, and most were able to attend the dinner. President Ken Starr, Regents Chair Dary Stone, JD '77, and Regent Buddy Jones, BA '73, JD '75, publicly thanked the Baylor contingent for their active and dedicated service to the people of Texas and for so effectively and responsibly exercising the authority invested in them by the citizens of the state -- authority that not only played an important role in preserving the Big 12 Conference, but that daily seeks the betterment of communities and the lives of Texans across the state.
The Board's three-day retreat continued with a panel of Baylor graduates who are national business leaders participating in a wide range of discussions that focused on various aspects of strategic planning. Panelists included Paul L. Foster, BBA '79, executive chairman of Western Refining Co.; J. Cary Gray, BA '79, BAcc '80, JD '83, president of Looper Reed & McGraw P.C.; Larry Heard, BBA '80, president and CEO of Transwestern; Mark Hurd, BBA '79, then president at Hewlett-Packard and now president of Oracle; and Mark McCollum, BBA '80, executive vice president and chief financial officer for 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.
The retreat also included an orientation for five new Baylor Regents who joined the board on June 1: Jeffrey D. Reeter, BBA '84, William K. Robbins Jr., BA '52, LLB '54, JD '69, Philip W. Stewart, BA '73, JD '76, Richard S Willis, BBA '81, MBA '82, and Dr. Ronald L. Wilson, BA '71, MD '74.
In regular business, Regents approved the final $7.14 million in funds needed to complete the $32 million Phase I of the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC). The first phase includes building clean-up, installation of code-related items, new building envelope (brick, windows and roof), a new atrium and building entrance and site work and landscaping
The Board also approved a new Ph.D. program in history, setting the stage for Baylor's department of history to become one of the strongest doctoral programs in religion and culture in the English-speaking North Atlantic. The program is expected to begin in fall 2011 or 2012.