Endowing a dean

March 22, 2012

Estate gift from longtime supporters establishes endowed chair at Baylor's Truett seminary

C.J. McLerran attended Baylor a century ago, but was never able to complete his degree after leaving early to care for his ailing mother. When it came time for his daughter Eleanor to attend college, he made sure she was able to finish her studies.

Eleanor McLerran DeLancey graduated from Baylor in 1938 with a degree in journalism and Spanish. Her tenure at Baylor served not only to realize her father's dream, but also to lay the foundation for a lifetime of dedication to the university.

In early March, Baylor University announced that a gift from the estate of Charles DeLancey would establish the Charles J. and Eleanor McLerran DeLancey Endowed Chair for the Dean of Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

"Baylor University is abundantly grateful to the DeLanceys for their generosity through this significant gift," said President Ken Starr. "This first endowed chair for the dean at Truett Seminary is a testament to the vision and forethought of our faithful Baylor friends. Through their estate, the DeLanceys assure generations of students the opportunity to learn from distinguished faculty as they prepare to live out their ministerial calling."

Throughout their lives, Charles and Eleanor DeLancey gave faithfully to Baylor, supporting the university in numerous areas. Charles passed away on April 4, 2011, at the age of 92. He was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Eleanor, on Nov. 3, 2004. Their philanthropy made an impact campus-wide, but will be felt most deeply at the George W. Truett Theological Seminary, whose mission profoundly resonated with both Charles and Eleanor.

"The DeLanceys were faithful supporters of Truett Seminary from its beginning," said Dr. David Garland, dean of Truett Seminary. "We
have always been grateful for their inspiring financial commitment to train future ministers. This bequest is simply amazing and adds to their wonderful legacy of Christian stewardship."

The Charles J. and Eleanor McLerran DeLancey Endowed Chair for the Dean of the George W. Truett Theological Seminary, which was funded by the Delanceys' gift in excess of $3 million, furthers the seminary's purpose to prepare ministers to live and proclaim the word of God. The chair also adds prestige and reputation that will enhance the university's ability to attract and retain leading faculty and equip students with informed, coherent Baptist theology.

Charles DeLancey, a University of Texas and California Institute of Technology graduate, was serving as a cadet in the United States Army in 1943 when he met Eleanor while traveling by train on New Years' Eve in 1943; the couple married in 1949. Charles began a career with Humble Oil & Refining Company (now ExxonMobil) as an exploration geologist in 1946, moving to Houston in 1959 where he enjoyed a long career with ExxonMobil before retiring in 1985.

In addition to Truett Seminary, the DeLanceys demonstrated their commitment to Baylor University through gifts to the President's Fund, the McLane Student Life Center and many other areas across the university. For their decades of support to Baylor, they were recognized in the 1845 Society, Old Main Society, Endowed Scholarship Society and Friends of Truett.

"The DeLanceys' lasting legacy was the result of their thoughtful estate planning," said Larry Smith, assistant vice president for gift planning. "We are deeply grateful for their foresight and their desire to invest in the lives of future Truett Seminary students."