Regents Unanimously Elect Kenneth Winston Starr 14th President of Baylor University

February 12, 2010
Baylor University announced that Kenneth Winston Starr, J.D., current dean of the School of Law at Pepperdine University, will be the 14th president of Baylor University. Starr was the unanimous choice of both the 14-member Presidential Search Committee and the 10-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee, and was elected unanimously by the Baylor Board of Regents on Feb. 12.

"We are delighted to announce the appointment of Judge Ken Starr as the 14th president of Baylor University," said Baylor Regents Chair R. Dary Stone, J.D. '77. "His depth of experience and exceptional record as a university dean and legal scholar, his dedication to the highest ideals of the Christian faith, and his profound commitment to public service and visionary leadership make him the ideal person to lead Baylor at this remarkable time in the university's history."

Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben weighed in about Starr's selection.

"Judge Starr has it all - a commanding intellect, a gracious and affirming demeanor, a distinguished record not only in the legal profession, but also higher education at Pepperdine, and a faith commitment that is demonstrable," Toben said. "He has had a career of high office and distinction, and we were fortunate to have him here at the Law School to speak and judge moot court on a prior occasion when he was Solicitor General.

"People will find upon meeting and interacting with him that he has a winsome personality and genuine caring demeanor. I fervently hope that all give him the opportunity to forge strong and productive bonds. He also is a person who has had experience in an environment in which not all agreed with him, something important to note in the context of leading any university. Moreover, we teach our students the importance of the lawyer representing clients even when the client or the cause may not meet the approval or endorsement of many voices, and Judge Starr has done just what we preach to our students. Furthermore, needless to say, Judge Starr has access to many sectors that can be very beneficial to advancing our University and Law School.

"Strictly on the decanal and law school side, I have a friendly and warm relationship with Judge Starr and he very much appreciates and admires our Law School. We're - as you might expect -- gratified that he's a lawyer, understands what a law school is, and respects our profile in the Baylor, legal and legal education communities. Judge Starr and I recently were on a panel together on the future of legal education and Judge Starr then shared warm and complimentary remarks on our program, just as he did at multiple gatherings during the week of his selection and announcement as our new president. I believe good things lie ahead for our Law School and the University under the leadership of Judge Starr."

With a distinguished career in education, the law and public service, Starr has served since 2004 as the Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and Professor of Law at Pepperdine University. He also is of counsel to the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where he was a partner from 1993 to 2004, specializing in appellate work, antitrust, federal courts, federal jurisdiction and constitutional law.

As Solicitor General of the United States from 1989 to 1993, Starr argued 25 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also served as United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1981 to 1983, as law clerk to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger from 1975 to 1977 and as law clerk to Fifth Circuit Judge David W. Dyer from 1973 to 1974. Starr was appointed to serve as Independent Counsel for five investigations, including Whitewater, from 1994 to 1999.

Starr previously taught constitutional law as an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law and was a distinguished visiting professor at George Mason University School of Law and Chapman Law School. After graduating from San Antonio's Sam Houston High School, he earned his B.A. from George Washington University in 1968, his M.A. from Brown University in 1969 and his J.D. degree from Duke University Law School in 1973. He is admitted to practice in California, the District of Columbia, Virginia and the U.S. Supreme Court.

He is the author of more than 25 publications, and his book, First Among Equals: The Supreme Court in American Life, published in 2002, was praised by U.S. Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle as "eminently readable and informative...not just the best treatment to-date of the Court after (Chief Justice Earl) Warren, it is likely to have that distinction for a long, long time."

Starr has received a multitude of honors and awards, including the J. Reuben Clark Law Society 2005 Distinguished Service Award, the 2004 Capital Book Award, the Jefferson Cup award from the FBI, the Edmund Randolph Award for Outstanding Service in the Department of Justice and the Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service.

Starr and his wife Alice have have made their home in Malibu, Calif., since 2004, and lived in McLean, Va., from 1978 to 2004. They have three children and four grandchildren: a son, Randall Postley Starr, and his wife Melina Svengos Starr; a daughter, Cynthia Anne Starr; and a daughter, Carolyn Starr Doolittle, and her husband Cameron Doolittle, who are the parents of Grace Elizabeth Doolittle, age 5; Christiana Renee Doolittle, age 3; Hewson Chase Doolittle, age 18 months; and Sandhana Michelle Doolittle, age 3 months.

Starr succeeds David E. Garland, who has served as interim president of Baylor University since August 2008 and who will continue in the role he has maintained as dean of George W. Truett Theological Seminary.
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