Regents Accept Illuminate and New Grad Programs, Set Budget, More

In May, Baylor’s Board of Regents unanimously accepted the University moving forward with the implementation of Illuminate, Baylor’s Academic Strategic Plan, and took action to approve a $660.1 million operating budget for 2018-2019, five new academic degree programs, and new Board members. 

Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, PhD, presented Regents with an overview of Illuminate that included the plan’s foundational Four Pillars, five Signature Academic Initiatives and a multi-year comprehensive fundraising campaign to provide the resources necessary to achieve the strategic plan’s objectives.

The Board approved five new graduate degree programs: PhD in Preaching, U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing (USAGPAN), Master of Arts in Teaching and Joint Bachelor of Science in Education/Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Arts in Classics and Joint Bachelor of Arts/Master Arts in Classics, and Doctor of Occupational Therapy.

Leadership and New Regents

Following last year’s implementation of improvements and best-practice recommendations to the Board’s structure and governance, Regents voted to approve officers and committee chairs, who also will serve on the Executive Committee, for 2018-2019. Terms of service began June 1, along with the new fiscal year.

The Board elected Joel T. Allison, BA ’70, of Dallas, chair; Daniel H. Chapman, BBA ’66, MBA ’73, of Dallas, vice chair; Jerry K. Clements, JD ’81, of Austin, vice chair; and Mark Hurd, BBA ’79, of Redwood Shores, California, vice chair.

“I am appreciative of the confidence the Board has placed in me as chairman over the past year, and certainly as we look forward to the future,” Allison said. “My love for Baylor runs deep, and I am willing to serve this great institution however called. We have made great progress over the past year, and there is much more to be done as we unify the Baylor Family behind the Illuminate strategic plan, which will benefit our students, faculty and the University overall.” 

Livingstone said, “Chairman Allison has guided the Board over the past year with a steady hand and, as the statesman he is, worked tirelessly to bring unity and healing to the Baylor Family. He has stayed true to his four ‘non-negotiables’ on decision-making adopted by the Board: Will this decision keep Baylor a Christ-centered University? Will this decision stay true to our mission? Will this reflect our core convictions of what Baylor stands for? Is this the right thing to do for the right reason?’ I look forward to continuing to work over the next year with Joel and our Board of Regents as we implement our academic strategic plan and strategically advance the University.” 

The Regents elected two at-large Regents to three-year terms: Michael McFarland, BBA ’93, EdD ’05, of Crowley, Texas, and Todd Reppert, BBA ’91, of Houston. 

Two alumni-elected Regents were welcomed to the Board: Katie Jo Baumgardner Luningham, BA ’11, of Atlanta, Georgia, and Gordon Wilkerson, BBA ’82, of Lubbock. 

Three Regents were appointed/reappointed by the Baptist General Convention of Texas last fall and confirmed by the Board: René Maciel, MSEd ’91, of McGregor, Texas, Chairman Allison, and Jennifer Walker Elrod, BA ’88, of Houston. 

Two Honoris Causa Student Regents were approved by the Board for one-year terms: Will Cassara, a sophomore pre-business major, of Keller, Texas, and Malcolm B. Foley, doctoral candidate in religion, of Rockville, Maryland.

“This past year has included many significant governance changes for the Baylor Board of Regents, and we have remained resolutely committed to living out Baylor’s mission in all decisions that we make,” Allison said. “We welcome our new Regents and look forward to having them share their experience, insight and passion for Baylor University as we focus on supporting President Livingstone, the administration and faculty and providing strategic guidance on the needs of the University and our Baylor Family.” 

The Board also expressed its appreciation to Regents who have completed their terms of service: Bob Beauchamp of Houston; Linda Brian, BA ’69, of Amarillo; Wayne Fisher, BBA ’61, LLB ’61, of Houston; David H. Harper, BBA ’88, of Dallas; past chair Ronald D. Murff, BBA ’75, of Dallas; and Student Regent Hannah Vecseri, who graduated in May with a BA as a University Scholar.

For more information about the Regents, visit