The Baylor Academic Challenge

The Baylor Academic Challenge

Throughout the Give Light campaign, Baylor alumni, parents and friends have come together to find new ways of supporting faculty, students and staff. In the spring of 2020, the call went out for support for students who saw their year disrupted from a worldwide pandemic. Students’ stresses changed overnight from classes and papers to virus protection and how to get home to family.

Time and time again, the Baylor Family has given to support the University’s needs and priorities; once again, they have answered that call through the Baylor Academic Challenge (BAC). In May 2019, Baylor received the largest current gift in University history when an anonymous Baylor family pledged $100 million in support of the Give Light campaign. From this historic gift, the BAC was created, providing a dollar-for-dollar match for qualifying gifts providing faculty support to Baylor.

The program’s target is 17 new endowed faculty positions, helping the University generate new, dedicated endowment support for faculty research and to continue a storied tradition of gifted scholars who invest in their students through intentional teaching. Two new chairs were created last fall through the BAC, both illustrating the many ways the Baylor Family comes together in support of students, faculty and staff.

Dr. James R. Schofield, a Baylor alumnus and former visiting professor, had a long career of teaching and service. As a proud “double alumnus,” he fostered strong ties with his alma maters at Baylor and the Baylor College of Medicine. Schofield, who died in 2007, chose to create a lasting legacy at Baylor by leaving a portion of his estate to the University, which was received from his estate in 2020. In keeping with Schofield’s wishes, Baylor created two BAC chairs to support studies in health — one of five priority areas of focus as the University works to grow key areas of strength as identified by Illuminate, Baylor’s strategic plan.


James R. Schofield Endowed Professorship in Biochemistry

The James R. Schofield Endowed Professorship in Biochemistry enhances the resourcing of innovative research and scholarly activity and teaching within the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The Schofield Professor will provide leadership and meaningful contributions to research in the priority area of health. 

Molecular Biology
James R. SchofieldEndowed Professorship of Molecular Biology

The James R. Schofield Endowed Professorship in Molecular Biology supports a faculty member’s research and teaching within the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Biology. The Schofield Professor will provide leadership and meaningful contributions to research in the priority area of health.

Lauren Barron
Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Selma DeBakey, and Lois DeBakey Chair for Medical Humanities

The Give Light campaign has raised significant awareness among the Baylor community about the need for endowed faculty support. The University announced a $2 million gift from The DeBakey Medical Foundation of Houston to create the Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Selma DeBakey, and Lois DeBakey Chair for Medical Humanities within the College of Arts and Sciences. The DeBakey Chair’s purpose is to attract, retain and support a distinguished faculty member within the medical humanities program who will further Baylor’s mission through teaching and research in the medical humanities field. As the inaugural chairholder, Dr. Lauren Barron, B.A. ’88, will take an active role in matters related to curriculum, course development and strategic planning for the program. She will also engage in student recruitment and in mentoring of students, a hallmark of Baylor’s pre-health program.

Michael, Selma and Lois DeBakey were siblings who are renowned for their contributions during their lifetimes to the field of medicine. Dr. Michael E. DeBakey was a founder of cardiovascular surgery, known for innovations within coronary bypass operations, carotid endarterectomy, artificial hearts and ventricular assist devices. Selma and Lois were professors of scientific communication at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston who developed a curriculum to teach doctors to think, read and write critically and to express their ideas in clear, concise and cohesive language.