Five years ago, Judge Ken Starr officially began his service as president of Baylor University--by running the Bear Trail--as the distinguished academician, lawyer, public servant and sixth-generation Texan became only the 14th person to serve as president of Texas' oldest continually operating institution of higher education.
Since that day, President Starr has focused his energies on advancing Baylor's mission of an outstanding education that combines academic excellence and unwavering Christian commitment. Over the past five years, he has led the University and its students, faculty, staff and alumni to unprecedented heights in numerous areas.
His incredibly busy schedule is filled seven days a week with everything from enjoying a conversation with students at Dr Pepper Hour to discussing vital issues with the Faculty Senate, higher education leaders locally and throughout the United States and with legislators in Austin and Washington, D.C., from leading the Baylor Line onto the field at McLane Stadium to meeting with Baylor alumni at Baylor Alumni Network events throughout the country. However, President Starr also finds time to teach Constitutional Law at Baylor Law School and provide national commentary through opinion pieces and TV interviews about religious liberty, constitutional issues, costs of higher education and intercollegiate athletics.
Following are some of the University's accomplishments under the Top Five areas of his five-year presidency--Academics, Admissions/Campus Life, Athletics, Fundraising and Community Partnerships.
- Highest U.S. News ranking at No. 71 since U.S. News began ranking institutions beyond the top 50 in 2002
- Adoption of Pro Futuris, the University's strategic vision
- Worked with Regents to establish the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences and to strengthen the partnership with Baylor College of Medicine and Baylor Scott & White Health, bolstering Baylor's historic strength in health-related education and research
- Worked with faculty and Regents to grow doctoral programs from 33 to 40, including entrepreneurship (2015), K-12 educational leadership (2015) and environmental science (2014)
- Doubling of external funding for research to around $30 million a year
- Record enrollment from 14,900 in fall 2010 to 16,263 in fall 2014, including the largest freshman classes in University history, record fall-to-fall retention rates and rising academic quality and diversity
- Establishment of the Baylor Bound program that will help students transfer more easily from partner institutions McLennan Community College, Alamo Colleges, Blinn College, Collin College, Temple College and Tyler Junior College, with the expectation of 10 total
- New construction, including the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation (housing the Hankamer School of Business), East Village Residential Community and Dining Commons and Elliston Chapel; residence hall renovations as part of the University's master plan to renovate 10 existing residence halls over eight years; renovation of Penland and Memorial dining halls; renovation of Marrs McLean Science Building (housing the School of Education); and Fifth Street renovations with the addition of the Rosenbalm Memorial Fountain
- The purchase of the Baptist General Convention of Texas building in Dallas for use by Baylor’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing
- A who’s who of campus guests for On Topic with Ken Starr, including T. Boone Pickens, Condoleezza Rice, Sandra Day O’Connor, Akhil Reed Amar, George J. Mitchell, Os Guinness, Alan Dershowitz, Juan Williams, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy and Joe Lieberman, as well as an historic summit in Washington, D.C., on the challenges facing faith-based higher education with Catholic University of America President John Garvey and Yeshiva University President Richard Joel
- Establishment of Baylor In Washington to allow the University's leadership, faculty, and alumni who are engaged in work shaping solutions to some of the nation's most critical challenges, such as hunger, water quality and immigration, to capitalize on strategic partnerships
- Increased global and urban mission team opportunities for students to use the knowledge and skills they gain at Baylor to serve people in Waco and around the world
- For the fourth year in a row, named to The Chronicle of Higher Education's 2014 Honor Roll as one of the country' "Great Colleges to Work For"
From 2010-2015: 28 Big 12 team championships, three national team championships [women’s basketball (2012), equestrian (2012) and acrobatics & tumbling (2015)]
- Five consecutive bowl games for two-time defending Big 12 Champion Baylor football
- New facilities: McLane Stadium, Hart Track and Field Stadium, Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center, Carlile Equestrian Building, Beauchamp Athletic Nutrition Center (BANC), Williams Family Soccer and Olympic Sports Center, Getterman Indoor Hitting Facility and improvements to the Hurd Tennis Center
- Among the Big 12 university presidents taking a leadership role in strengthening the partnership and vision of the Big 12 Conference
- Baylor's most successful two-year period of fundraising ever of $345.3 million from Feb. 1, 2012, through Feb. 28, 2014, where more than 40,000 generous alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends, and more than 18,000 first-time donors supported capital projects, scholarships, faculty chairs, academic programs and athletics
- The vision of enhancing campus life through a dynamic on-campus McLane Stadium lifted fundraising for other important University objectives, including the successful early completion of Starr's first focus--the $100 million President's Scholarship Initiative, construction of the new Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation to house the Hankamer School of Business, and additional student scholarships, new faculty chairs and support for specific academic programs across the disciplines
- Strong city and Baylor partnership to build McLane Stadium that included a $35 million public contribution from the downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Zone board and the creation of the Baylor Waco Stadium Authority
- Phase 2 expansion of the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC), the cornerstone facility of the 21-acre Central Texas Technology and Research Park, which provides researchers, organizations and private companies with 300,000 square feet of physical space for labs, research centers, industry collaborative space and workforce training
- The move of the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work to its new home at 811 Washington Ave. in the "heart of the community" it serves
- Quarterly Presidents and Superintendents meeting with Baylor, MCC, TSTC, Waco and Midways ISDs
- Member of the board of directors of KWBU-FM, Waco's NPR affiliate