Denver - October 22, 2021

Faith and Higher Education
You are cordially invited to a Give Light Campaign Celebration focused on:

Faith and Higher Education

Friday, October 22, 2021
6:30 p.m.
JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek
150 Clayton Lane, Denver 80206

For this evening, Baylor University’s Give Light Campaign brings together global leaders and scholars whose organizations address some of the most significant human issues. Be inspired as they discuss mission alignment, leadership and Kingdom-focused service. And be challenged as they delve into how research refines practical ministry. Panelists include Byron Johnson, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University and founding director of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion; Santiago "Jimmy" Mellado, President and CEO for Compassion International; and Edgar Sandoval, Sr., President and CEO for World Vision.

Developing research and programs that surround the idea of Human Flourishing is one of Baylor University's key initiatives outlined in its strategic plan, Illuminate.

About our Panelists

Byron R. Johnson, Ph.D.Byron R. Johnson, Ph.D.
Founding director of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion

Byron Johnson is Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at Baylor University. He is the founding director of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR). He is a Faculty Scholar in the Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health at Duke University, and is a Senior Advisor at the Religious Freedom Institute (Washington, DC).

He has been the principal investigator on grants from private foundations as well as the Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, and the United States Institute for Peace, totaling more than $77 million. He is recognized as a leading authority on the scientific study of religion, the efficacy of faith-based organizations, and criminal justice.

MHe has examined the impact of faith-based programs on offender treatment, drug addiction, recidivism reduction and prisoner reentry and is the subject of his book, More God, Less Crime (2011). Recent books include The Angola Prison Seminary (2016), The Quest for Purpose (2017), An Objective Look at Religion (2021), and The Restorative Prison (2021).

Johnson is currently the project director of the Global Flourishing Study, a longitudinal study which will survey 250,000 participants annually from 2021 to 2026.

Santiago “Jimmy” MelladoSantiago “Jimmy” Mellado
President and CEO of Compassion International

Compassion International President and Chief Executive Officer Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado has a deep love and passion for the beauty and potential of local churches fulfilling their Jesus-given mandate to redeem and restore this world for His name’s sake.

Born in El Salvador and raised in seven different countries, Jimmy has experienced firsthand the powerful impact thriving local churches can have on their communities, especially in under-resourced environments. Compassion’s church-based approach to delivering a holistic child development program resonates with Jimmy at a deep level.

Prior to joining Compassion in June of 2013, Jimmy was president of the Willow Creek Association (WCA) – a global ministry completely dedicated to helping local churches thrive. During his 20-year tenure leading the WCA, worldwide ministry income grew from $2 million to more than $20 million and membership grew from 860 churches to over 7,000 churches.

Jimmy’s educational background includes graduating cum laude with a Mechanical Engineering degree from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.

He is also an accomplished athlete. In college, Jimmy was a member of the 1983 NCAA Division I Indoor & Outdoor National Championship team at SMU where he competed in the decathlon and held the school record. After college, Jimmy went on to place 4th at the 1987 Pan American Games and 26th in the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, competing for the country of his birth, El Salvador. He has continued to stay engaged with the sport he loves by serving as a volunteer track and field coach.

Edgar Sandoval Sr.Edgar Sandoval Sr.
President and CEO of World Vision U.S.

Edgar Sandoval has an unstoppable passion to see that every child – especially the most vulnerable – can experience life in all its fullness. Born in Los Angeles, he grew up in Latin America, returning to the U.S. alone at age 18 with just $50 in his pocket.

He holds dual bachelor’s degrees in industrial engineering and sociology from Rutgers University and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business. Edgar has 20+ years of innovative leadership experience in corporate America, including directing the creation and launch of P&G’s internationally acclaimed #LikeAGirl campaign.

As World Vision U.S.’s President and CEO since 2018, Edgar places a strong emphasis on the organization’s Christian identity and mission. He travels to some of the world’s hardest places to see firsthand the challenges for children in poverty.

In 2019 he directed the launch of Chosen®, a new invitation into child sponsorship. Edgar and his wife, Leiza, have four children and live near Seattle, Washington.

Faith and Higher Education