Remarkable Progress Toward Give Light Goals

As the month of August came to a close, the University celebrated the gifts of more than 60,274 alumni and friends to date in support of our Give Light campaign. Almost one year into the public campaign, which was launched in November 2018, gifts and pledges totaling $733.7 Million have been given to fund the key priorities of the University. 

The work is far from over. Reaching the ambitious $1.1 billion goal will only be possible if each member of the Baylor Family finds and supports areas of interest to them. From new programs, facilities and areas of student engagement to priorities of the University’s schools and colleges, there is an important place in the campaign for everyone and each gift, regardless of size, makes a tremendous impact. 

Key Markers of Progress in the Campaign

The 2018-2019 fiscal year marks the largest annual fundraising total in Baylor’s history. Even without the remarkable $100 million gift, this was the second largest fundraising year in history.

  • The 2018-2019 year reflects an 18.7 percent increase over the previous year in the total number of donors to the University.
  • The total value of gifts and pledges made to Baylor’s endowment — an important component of institutional strength — increased by 13 percent over the previous year.
  • The largest current gift in University history,  a $100 million gift by an anonymous donor, was announced in May.  
  • A significant portion of the $100 million gift created a matching fund to launch the Baylor Academic Challenge, incentivizing donors to establish endowed funds for strategic priorities of the University, including up to 17 new faculty positions.
  • The $100 million gift also provided a lead investment in the Baylor Basketball Pavilion, a state-of-the-art facility that will become the new home of the men’s and women’s basketball teams.
The Baylor Academic Challenge

This dollar-for-dollar matching fund was established by an anonymous Baylor family with the purpose of growing the number of endowed faculty positions that are significantly contributing to the research and teaching aspirations within Illuminate, Baylor’s strategic plan. The Academic Challenge positions the University to pursue research at an accelerated pace and supports the recruitment of faculty leaders who champion academic excellence, Christian character, solutions and ideas that advance society and opportunities that shape the whole person — hallmarks of a Baylor education.

The recruitment and retention of qualified, gifted, nationally renowned faculty who are committed to students is imperative to Baylor’s goals for the future. Competition among top-tier universities for accomplished faculty is extreme. Only through a robust faculty endowment can Baylor establish the kind of prestigious chair and professorship positions that attract outstanding Christian scholars from around the world. As today’s students seek universities where their opportunities for research add to their holistic engagement with subject matter, Baylor’s ability to provide these opportunities is vital.

In September, the first two endowed faculty positions were established as part of the Academic Challenge: The W. Grady Rosier Endowed Chair in Free Enterprise and the Jackson Family Chair for Baylor in Latin America.

Established by McLane Company President and CEO Grady Rosier, the Rosier Chair will create a faculty position within the Hankamer School of Business’s renowned Department of Entrepreneurship. The faculty member will help advance Baylor’s aspirations as a Tier 1/R1 university through innovative research and teaching that informs public policy, focusing specifically in the Free Enterprise system and its influence on the Free Market economy. Rosier, who holds a BA degree from the University of Florida, has been a generous supporter of Baylor through the McLane Company’s establishment of the McLane Scholars Reading Program at the Hankamer School of Business.

John, BBA ’79, and Nancy, BSEd ’79, Jackson established the Jackson Family Chair for Baylor in Latin America in support of the Latin America initiative within Illuminate. John and Nancy, who also are co-chairs of the National Campaign Steering Committee, provided funding for the chair in order to expand Baylor’s international footprint and advance the priorities of the Baylor in Latin America initiative, as they are determined by the University’s Provost. The chair will initially focus on Latin American water constraints, while serving as a leader in the University’s strategic growth and contributing research toward Baylor’s goal of becoming a Tier 1/R1 university.

Inaugural holder of The Lynda and Robert Copple Endowed Chair in Christian School Leadership Announced

Filling an important role in the development of Christian School leaders, Jon Eckert, EdD, has joined Baylor’s School of Education as the inaugural holder of The Lynda and Robert Copple Endowed Chair in Christian School Leadership. The newly established chair was made possible through a gift from Lynda, BSEd ’79, and Robert, BBA ’80, MPA ’81, Copple of Frisco. 

Reflecting Baylor’s Christian mission, the Center for Christian Education (CCE) is dedicated to advancing evidence-based approaches to educational improvement and values-driven leadership through a range of programming and resources. The CCE exists to equip leaders for impactful, innovative, mission-minded service promoting excellence and effectiveness in faith-based schools in the United States and around the world. The CCE also is working to launch a series of professional development “academies” tailored to help cultivate leader effectiveness through the sharpening of leaders’ knowledge bases, skill sets and professional identities. 

Eckert previously served as professor of education at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Prior to his career in higher education, Eckert taught at the primary and secondary levels and served as a Washington Teaching Ambassador Fellow for the U.S. Department of Education in both the Bush and Obama administrations, working on teaching-quality issues. As the inaugural chair holder, Eckert will help lay the academic foundations of the CCE and will serve as the intellectual cornerstone for many of its programs.