Recognizing extraordinary support and service

March 20, 2013

McLane honored as Baylor Founder, receives Lamar Medal for contributions to higher education

Baylor University presented the Baylor Founders Medallion to Regent Emeritus and alumnus Drayton McLane Jr., BBA '58, during the Founders Day ceremony on Feb. 11. As one of the university's most distinguished awards, the Founders Medal was established in 1969 to recognize men and women whose service and contributions have been unusually significant to the life and future of the university.

Reserved for those whose lives have been a testimony to their love of the university and the Baylor family, these "founders" have come to represent what is best about Baylor in their respective communities.

"Baylor's three principal founders were men of courage and of conscience. They were leaders, they were visionaries, and they sacrificed," said Baylor President Ken Starr, as he briefly recounted Baylor's history at the Founders Day ceremony. "What makes a Founder? First, and close to the great success of Drayton McLane, leadership; second, vision; and third, sacrifice to accomplish what needs to be done. If there is anyone deserving of the distinction of Baylor Founder, it's Drayton McLane."

McLane's enduring relationship with Baylor University began during his years as a Baylor student. After graduating in 1958 with a bachelor of business administration degree, McLane went on to earn a master's degree from Michigan State University before beginning his career as an entrepreneur. In the spirit of the verse, "to whom much is given, much is required," McLane has remained a determined advocate for the growing needs of his alma mater and has advanced the university's mission through generous support.

As an expression of their own distinct passions and desire to propel students forward, McLane and his wife, Elizabeth, have supported several areas across campus. Their unwavering generosity is evidenced from the McLane Student Life Center to the gold leaf finish upon the dome of Pat Neff Hall. Their wholehearted support of Baylor's future was most recently demonstrated through the lead gift for Baylor Stadium, which is the largest capital gift in Baylor's history.

McLane, who was recognized as a Baylor Regent Emeritus for his visionary guidance and years of service on the Board, has received many honors, including the Herbert H. Reynolds Award for Exemplary Service and the W.R. White Service Award.

"We have the foundation we have here today and a glorious future in front of us," McLane said, as he accepted the honor of the Baylor Founders Medal. "For myself, my wife, Elizabeth, and our family, it is an honor to be associated with Baylor -- to help move it forward and hand it off to the next generation better than we found it."

In January, McLane was also presented with the prestigious Mirabeau B. Lamar Medal -- awarded annually to individuals, foundations and organizations who have made extraordinary contributions to higher education in Texas.

Created in 1977, the Lamar Medal is presented each year by members of the Council of Public University Presidents and Chancellors, the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas and the Texas Association of Community Colleges.

In addition to his generous support of Baylor and UMHB, McLane is a benefactor of Austin College, Baylor College of Medicine, Dallas Baptist University and Temple College. He also is a Board Director for the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, a member of the Board of Trustees for Baylor College of Medicine and a member of The University Cancer Foundation Board of Visitors with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

In the nomination letter, Baylor President Ken Starr noted, "One of Mr. McLane's great strengths is his ability to connect with others and inspire them to join in philanthropic support of higher education. To this end, his participation in several higher education initiatives at Baylor University resulted in increased support for everything from scholarships to capital building projects to academic programs."

Previous recipients of the Lamar Medal include such notable Baylor names as former university president Abner McCall, JD '38, BA '42, Texas Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock, JD '58, and Louise H. Ornelas, namesake of Baylor's Louise Herrington School of Nursing.

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