Give Light

Faces of Give Light

The alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students and friends who make up the more than 80,000 donors to the Give Light campaign each have a story to tell about what inspires their giving to Baylor. Every donor to the campaign has helped the University surpass its ambitious $1.1 billion initial goal designed to impact every aspect of campus life — academics, athletics, student life and service learning, while also bolstering financial support for our students and campus community. These donors have provided the momentum that will carry the campaign to even greater heights as we continue to support Baylor’s bright future. The following are a few of the stories of generosity and faithfulness of our Baylor Family.

Gary and Barbara Grisham Endowed Scholarship

For Gary and Barbara Grisham of Weaverville, North Carolina, their giving story is inspired by a desire to leave a legacy, and to help students become critical thinkers and educated citizens.

“I don’t know of a better Christian university that has that kind of potential to turn educated people out into the world,” Grisham said. “I like that a student will perpetually be able to have access at a top university with this scholarship.”

Gary, a graduate of Tulane University and the University of Houston, came to know and love Baylor through his wife Barbara, B.A. ’73, after the two met at their church, Second Baptist Church of Houston. The Grishams made Houston their home, serving their community and taking an active role within their congregation, later splitting their time between Texas and North Carolina.

In 2020, as Gary was reviewing his estate plans, Barbara and he decided to establish a scholarship at Baylor, leaving the university as a beneficiary within their estate. His father had paid for his own private education many years before, and as Gary and Barbara did not have children, they decided “perhaps we can help a few other young people get started” through their scholarship.

Once funded, the Gary and Barbara Grisham Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide full tuition support for students within the School of Engineering and Computer Science, opening wide the door to higher education for one Baylor student each year — in perpetuity. One by one, a line of Grisham scholarship recipients will join That Good Old Baylor Line for as long as it stretches ahead, with each student’s path to higher education made possible by Gary and Barbara’s generous provision. What an incredible legacy.

Healey Endowed Scholarship

Peyton, B.A. ’01, J.D. ’05, and Chrissy, M.B.A. ’05, Healey were honoring a friend when they decided to create a Baylor scholarship.

Both graduates had received scholarships themselves, and Peyton and Chrissy were excited for all of the normal reasons to establish the Melissa Burch Resilience Scholarship, a Hord Challenge Scholarship, through a gift of $25,000 to support students in the College of Arts and Sciences. Honoring their close friend Melissa Burch, B.S. ’02, in the midst of her cancer treatments was the inspiration that converted idea to action.

“We wanted to honor our friendship, what they have done for us in supporting us through the things we have gone through,” Peyton said. “We wanted to let her know we are here for her, and we wanted to recognize her strength in making it through all of that.”

Peyton and Chrissy had become friends with Melissa and Micah Burch through their church in Dallas, where they are members of the same small group and have spent the past 10 years supporting one another through life’s joys and challenges. Five children and many milestones later, Melissa was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that required intense treatment.

The decision to give to Baylor in her honor was two-fold: a point of connection for the close friends and an opportunity to create a lasting impact.

“We heard about the Give Light Campaign, and I just liked it,” Peyton said. “I thought it was great that you could establish a scholarship and that there would be matching funds, and it seemed like it would have an outsized impact. Her journey is similar to our journeys at Baylor, and if we could help other students on their own journeys, then we could pay that forward.”

As part of the Hord Scholarship Challenge, the Melissa Burch Resilience Scholarship is an endowed, permanent scholarship. The Burch Scholarship will be paired with University merit-based scholarships, extending scholarship support to students who have demonstrated academic success in high school.

Price Family Endowed Fund for Undergraduate Studies in Geology

In 2017, Baylor parents James and Christina Price of Sarasota, Florida, established the Price Family Endowed Fund for Undergraduate Studies in Geology. As part of the Give Light campaign, the Prices’ gift creates a permanent and enduring source of support for undergraduate students in Baylor’s Department of Geosciences.

“Part of the undergraduate degree requirement in the geosciences is a six-week summer field course where students receive field-based instruction within the natural laboratory of the American West,” geosciences professor Stacy C. Atchley, B.S. ’84, M.S. ’86, Ph.D., said. “The out-of-pocket travel, equipment and tuition expense to attend this course is prohibitive to many students, but funding provided through the generous endowment established by Jim and Christina Price helps remove the financial roadblock. This allows some students, who otherwise wouldn’t have the means, the opportunity to pursue an undergraduate degree within the geosciences.”

The Price Fund has supported cohorts of undergraduate geology students as they attend the department’s six-week summer field course, a requirement for their Bachelor of Science. In 2021, the Price Fund provided stipends, groceries, accommodations and other support for five of the program’s students.

Since the start of the Give Light campaign, the Baylor Family has given more than $481 million in gifts to endowment. The Price Fund is an example of the program funds, scholarships, faculty funds and other sources of support that are providing enduring, dependable resourcing for Baylor’s 126 undergraduate, 80 master’s and 47 doctoral programs.

Parents Advisory Council

Baylor parents support their children and their children’s classmates in many ways — through Parent Engagement’s Parents in Prayer program, through local parent engagement events and through the Baylor Parent Fund.

“The Baylor Parent Fund is a wonderful way for our Baylor parents to give to the programs and resources that most closely and directly enhance and enrich our Baylor students’ experiences,” Senior Director of Parent Engagement Molly Ferguson, B.A. ’82, said. “It has been exciting to see the Baylor Parent Fund grow over the last few years as our parents see the impact that comes when they join together and give, each as they can, to help our students thrive.”

While administered by the University, Baylor’s Parent Advisory Council, a group of parent volunteers and donors, meet annually, where they review funding requests from programs in Student Life, the Paul L. Foster Success Center and University Libraries, discussing and presenting their recommendations for project funding to the University for consideration.

“Our parents are critically important to the success of our students,” Ferguson said. “The Baylor Parent Fund and the Parent Advisory Council are among the many ways that our Baylor parents can support the University and speak into fulfilling the needs of our student body on campus.”

In 2021, the Baylor Parent Fund provided textbook scholarships and a financial literacy program through the Student Success Center, helped fund a Faith and Formation International Pilot Launch in Student Life, and provided textbook affordability scholarships for the creation of Open Educational Resources within University Libraries.