Academic Challenge Fund Providing Momentum

With $845.8 million raised to date, the Give Light campaign has been profoundly enhanced and its trajectory accelerated by the $100 million investment in the future of the institution made by an anonymous Baylor family in May 2019.

A portion of this transformational gift created the Baylor Academic Challenge (BAC), a fund that matches dollar-for-dollar qualifying gifts made by other members of the Baylor Family. Due to its dynamic structure, the BAC encourages donors to establish endowed funds for strategic academic initiatives, such as increasing the number of endowed faculty positions, and other priorities of the University.

Academic Challenge

In particular, the program seeks to endow as many as 17 new faculty positions, helping Baylor generate needed funding to sustain and grow teaching and research in key areas by bringing additional outstanding scholar-teachers to campus. By broadening the depth and breadth of research and academic inquiry at Baylor, the BAC offers alumni, parents, friends, and corporate and foundation partners the unprecedented opportunity to build Baylor’s future on the foundation of its unique mission.

By spring 2020, seven endowed faculty positions have been added to the University’s future academic ranks through the BAC.

  • The Jackson Family Chair for Baylor in Latin America will expand Baylor’s international footprint and advance the priorities of the Baylor in Latin America initiative.
  • The Mearse Endowed Chair in Biological and Biomedical Engineering will promote the growth and development of research and scholarly activity in biological and biomedical engineering, a priority falling within the Materials Science and Health Initiatives of Baylor’s Illuminate strategic plan.
  • The W. Grady Rosier Endowed Chair in Free Enterprise will advance innovative research and teaching that informs public policy, focusing specifically on the free enterprise system and its influence on the free market economy.
  • The Kenneth and Celia Carlile Chairs (2) in Materials Science will focus on research within the priority initiative of Materials Science, which will include inter- and intradepartmental collaboration and coordination across the University.
  • The William E. Crenshaw Endowed Chairs (2) will enable the Hankamer School of Business to attract and retain distinguished faculty members who will be significant contributors in advancing the School’s position as a national leader in business education, especially strengthening curriculum and research in such areas as Data Sciences and Human Flourishing, Leadership, and Ethics.

The ongoing momentum created by the Baylor Academic Challenge is vital to funding the research and teaching aspirations within Illuminate, Baylor’s strategic plan, and attaining R1/Tier 1 recognition for the University. 

To learn more about the Baylor Academic Challenge, visit