Behind each financial gift to the University are Baylor alumni and friends whose hearts beat for students to share in the experiences that shaped their own professional lives. These generous donors know that to incoming students, the new facilities—both for athletics and academics—are the walls that will house life-transforming opportunities that will take them from eager students to servant-hearted leaders.
Drayton McLane, BBA ’58, an avid sports-lover, faithful alumnus and Regent Emeritus, made the first of a series of gifts from Baylor alumni and friends that helped bring a longtime dream to fruition—moving Baylor football and subsequently Baylor track and field back to campus.
Now, on the heels of Baylor’s first Big 12 Football Championship, the new McLane Stadium stands on the banks of the Brazos. The $266-million, 45,000-seat facility is complete with an HD scoreboard that is more than 5-times the size of Floyd Casey’s and about 475 on-site tailgating areas, among many other exciting features. The 93-acre-lot is at the intersection of one of the nation’s busiest highways, I-35, and one of the longest rivers in Texas, the Brazos River. There has been a groundswell of support for this project, ranging from some of the largest gifts in Baylor’s history to smaller gifts through the McLane Stadium Brick Campaign.
More than 6,500 people made gifts from $175 to $1,250 to the brick campaign, raising more than $1.6 million and joining the effort to pave the way for this exciting new chapter. Now, their Baylor pride is etched into the thousands of bricks along the Bear Walk, an integral part of new gameday traditions.
Just a few months after McLane Stadium began taking shape, the Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium was announced. Alumni and friends rallied alongside Baylor track letterman Richard Woodall, BBA ’80, MSEco ’81, who made the lead gift in 2012 in support of the $18.1 million facility that is taking shape adjacent to McLane Stadium. Baylor’s track and field teams have produced nine Olympic gold medals, 36 NCAA championships and more than 600 All-American performances. The new facility is named in honor of Clyde Hart, a 1956 Baylor graduate who served 42 years as Baylor’s head track and field coach.
A number of former athletes also have joined the charge because they have seen firsthand the transformative power of Baylor athletics and the discipline that resulted in their lives. Because coaches, trainers, professors and advisors invested in them, they were able to fulfill God’s calling for their lives both on and off the field.
Kaz Kazadi, assistant athletic director for athletic performance (strength and conditioning), is one of the many Baylor coaches who train Baylor student-athletes in more than winning. To Kazadi, every encounter is an opportunity to teach students to become men and women who will make a difference in the world. “They motivate me,” says Kazadi. “I’m impacted every day to help them attain their goals.” Kazadi helps student athletes be better in class and better in their sport and to set the standard for excellence. A major part of that begins with simple disciplines like healthy eating.
Thanks to a $3 million gift from Bob and Laura Beauchamp for the Beauchamp Athletics Nutrition Center (BANC), holistic training will be more accessible. The on-campus dining facility soon to begin construction adjacent to the Simpson Athletics and Academic Center and the Allison Indoor Practice Facility will directly support proper nutrition by providing nutritional resources and professional staff.
“You train, you walk across the street and get something to eat; and then you head upstairs and get tutoring, if you need to, or watch film,” Kazadi said. “It really helps reduce the stress that you’re trying to get the athletes to avoid. It’s a big step, really. Getting the students on campus in the stadium is huge. Being able to train our guys at a high level and have a nutrition center right there, that goes right along with that.”
“Laura and I believe the attention created by a successful athletics program has an invaluable benefit to Baylor University by creating a platform that increases the awareness of Baylor as a leader in Christian higher education,” said Bob Beauchamp, a Baylor Regent. “Our hope is that this new facility enables Baylor’s outstanding student-athletes to thrive both on the field and off, propelling them to great performances in competition and excellence in their academic pursuits.”
Also changing the campus experience is the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation—which will expand the size and reach of Hankamer School of Business by nearly 40 percent. Over the years, the business school has produced many renowned alumni who have blazed new trails and transformed industries across the globe. That tradition of excellence in business will not only continue at Baylor, but will thrive in the new Foster Campus.
The 275,000-square-foot business facility will allow new opportunities for student and faculty collaboration in business, science and technology in a variety of learning spaces that incorporate the latest classroom technology. A 350-seat auditorium will accommodate a wide range of guest lectures and events while an adjacent conference center will host seminars, symposia and conferences for business professionals. Construction is progressing and classes are expected to begin in the facility in fall 2015.
While new buildings and facilities are the most evident signs of this remarkable period of generosity, the gifts behind the scenes also are transforming the face of the Baylor experience. Because alumni and friends have chosen to invest in the area of their passions, current programs are growing and new opportunities are emerging. For today’s Baylor students, the world is their backyard, and Baylor is committed to providing ways for them to engage in national and global conversations.
The Texas Hunger Initiative (THI), originally developed through Baylor’s School of Social Work, has benefited greatly from faithful supporters. THI has expanded its reach with offices across Texas. Gifts to THI have helped provide means to serve more meals to Texas children, provide up-to-date, accurate research and increase opportunities to engage in addressing systemic change to reduce hunger.
THI strategizes reformation in policy and empowers community leaders to increase the availability of food in the state.
The USDA, Texas Department of Agriculture and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission have joined with THI to coordinate efforts to reduce hunger. THI also is committed to helping organizations and local community leaders establish Food Planning Associations (FPAs) across the state, which assess local food systems, identify resources and gaps, make plans to address the gaps using existing resources and evaluate the process in order to move forward toward food security in their communities.
Since the establishment in 2009, the program and its partners have taken significant steps toward ending hunger in Texas—decreasing food insecurity and building sustainable models for a long-term hunger solution. 2,100 summer meal sites have been added in Texas, allowing more than 63,000 additional Texas children to receive summer meals. THI also has seen an increase of 60 million more school breakfasts served than in 2009.
Baylor students engage with THI and bring passion and energy to the cause as they learn ways to create lasting change through both their careers and volunteerism. THI has employed 34 graduate research assistants and regularly provides internship experiences for students—many of which have led to full-time employment with THI. Baylor’s Honors College and THI are partnering to offer a 1-hour course this fall in hunger interventions and policy, and THI is in the early stages of piloting a specialization, Hunger Scholars, within the School of Social Work’s master’s program. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a course, Hunger in America, that includes a mission trip to a city in need. This past summer, students went to Washington, D.C., to explore the different types of interventions used to improve the national food-insecure households rate of 14.5 percent and to learn effective methods that could be useful in their own communities. Through programs like THI, Baylor is changing lives in Texas and around the world.
The University’s partnership with the Baylor College of Medicine also is making global impact by supporting the mission of the College’s National School of Tropical Medicine (NSTM) to develop cutting edge research that will help the more than 1 billion people who suffer from tropical diseases.
Together, NSTM and Baylor University have created an introductory program designed to help undergraduate and baccalaureate students determine whether or not they should pursue a career in tropical medicine. The two-week Summer Institute Program introduces students to the field through explorations of global health, epidemiology, public health, infectious diseases, parasitic diseases and neglected tropical diseases. After graduation from Baylor, many of these students will go on to the Baylor College of Medicine in pursuit of world-changing research and development.
Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr believes that as a research institution with a strong Christian commitment, Baylor has a distinct role and a responsibility to offer insight into issues that affect our nation and our world. It’s no surprise that he also has led the charge for Baylor to join discussions on key issues in Washington, D.C.
In February, Judge Starr led a group of Baylor students to the nation’s capitol for a week of meetings with Georgetown University, the well-respected Gallup Poll, legislators from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and officials from the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. They discussed issues of American foreign policy and faith-based organizations, Pell Grant funding and eligibility and other important topics, with plans to continue these conversations each year. President Starr followed in March with an On Topic discussion in Washington with Alan Dershowitz on the eve of the Supreme Court’s consideration of the Hobby Lobby case.
Students from around the world find their place at Baylor. Paul Conteh, a student from Sierra Leone, came to Waco to be a part of Baylor School of Social Work’s Global Mission Leadership Initiative (GML), a program through which students pursue graduate education that prepares them to return to their home countries and positively impact societal issues of importance there. Conteh is driven to become a catalyst for change in his home nation.
“When I go back, I want to use the media as a platform to engage policy makers on issues affecting poverty in my country,” Conteh said. “I think we need to be a voice to bridge the gap between the people and the political world, and I think Baylor is giving me the right tools to engage in those conversations.”
As part of his degree, Paul had the opportunity to return home this summer and complete an internship, which focused on developing educational programs for orphans. When Paul graduates in 2016, he will be equipped to bridge the gap for people in his nation.
All of these students have benefited from distinct experiences because alumni and friends have chosen to invest in programs, faculty, scholarships and experiences that shape their future and empower them to engage in the world in ways that create lasting change.
Jolene Damoiseaux, a 2014 graduate of Baylor’s Honors College, found her calling because of the generosity of donors to the Honors College and Baylor Interdisciplinary Poverty Initiative. During college, she had lived with Kenyan women for six weeks and had seen the dire circumstances they face in childbirth. When Jolene returned to America, she was determined to create a sustainable solution.
In Kenya, the closest health center is an average three-mile hike away. Though the women and birth attendants know delivery in a hospital or health clinic is the safest method, the painfully long walk, while in labor, force many to choose a home birth. Sadly, 360 out of every 100,000 women die during childbirth due to complications in labor. Jolene had begun researching pregnancy mortality rates for her Honors Thesis during her sophomore year in the Honors College, but her experiences in Kenya brought the data to life.
“Childbirth is an experience that every woman should have, that should be positive and fulfilling, but in Kenya that’s not the case,” Jolene said. “That turned the research into so much more because I got to know these women. That’s the purpose of research—to bring (the information) back, not to graduate with an honors thesis.”
With the help of a $1,500 grant from the Baylor Interdisciplinary Poverty Initiative, Jolene transformed her thesis research into a charitable organization called Mothers on the Move in June 2013. The charity provides a hotline for Kenyan mothers in labor to call for free transportation to the health center—and for a car ride to a regional hospital for mothers who need a C-section. In the last year, 231 women called the program for help, including 18 who later had to be transported to the hospital.
The support of generous donors empowered Jolene to translate her thesis into action and become a change agent in Kenya. Similarly, gifts to Baylor Missions in 2014 empowered 405 students, faculty, staff and alumni to serve in 13 countries as part of 25 mission trips. Through their Baylor Missions experiences, students connected faith, learning and service by working alongside Baylor’s global partners in discipline-specific ways that met community needs and illuminated the calling of each participant.
One of those trips was to Haiti. A team of 12 students and two faculty members traveled to Ferrier, Haiti, to partner with Mission Waco’s work there. Recovery efforts have continued since the 7.0 earthquake in 2010, which left 1.5 million people without homes. The Engineers with a Mission team used their skills and classroom training to provide electricity and clean water in the Haitian community. Working alongside professors and professional engineers, they assembled and installed a solar photovoltaic system to provide electricity to a community training center. They also performed water quality tests and made GPS maps of electric power lines.
Caleb Traylor, a senior on the trip, was deeply impacted by the opportunity to translate his equipping in engineering into a vessel to help a community. “From solar power projects to working on water wells, I saw how engineering skills helped create a better life for the people in Ferrier,” Traylor said. “My conversations with my professors, Brian Thomas and Bill Jordan, were maybe even more influential though. It was clear to everyone that Dr. Jordan was fulfilling his calling. As I watched him, I thought, ‘I want to serve like that.’ I want to live a life where my talents are being used for God’s glory and I’m loving it.”
These trips have lasting impact on both the communities and the students. From these hands-on experiences, many students learn who they are and discern their long-term career paths.