Baylor University Announces Success for Scholarship Initiative

April 23, 2013

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Less than three years after launch, Baylor exceeds $100 million goal for The President's Scholarship Initiative

WACO, Texas (April 23, 2013) - Beneath streams of green and gold confetti, Baylor University announced today the successful culmination of a three-year effort to raise $100 million in scholarship support for Baylor students. The President's Scholarship Initiative was launched by Baylor President Ken Starr after taking office in 2010.

At a very special Dr Pepper Hour in the Bill Daniel Student Center, Starr welcomed a lively crowd of Baylor faculty, staff, students, alumni and other friends of the university, and after a brief presentation, announced the completion of the Initiative, which raised $101.4 million in less than three years, exceeding the lofty goal.

(VIDEO: Watch the April 23, 2013, celebration announcement about the President's Scholarship Initiative.)

More than 11,000 scholarship donors contributed to the effort with 5,240 making their first-ever gift to the University. Across Baylor Nation, alumni, faculty and staff, students, parents and friends gave sacrificially to invest in the future of Baylor and its students.

"Right now is a time to say, 'Thank you, Baylor Nation,'" Starr said. "The goal was $100 million and to do that by the end of this calendar year. My dear friends, here it is, still April, and we've raised $101.4 million."

One of his first priorities in office, The President's Scholarship Initiative was launched by Starr to address concerns expressed by the Baylor University student body regarding the rising cost of higher education, citing that this effort would be a top concern. In a matter of weeks, he rallied university leadership and a dedicated volunteer steering committee to come alongside Baylor in building momentum for an increased emphasis on scholarship support.

"What happened when we issued the call, is that we were simply transmitting a message that we received from you, the students," Starr said. "We received it loud and clear and that message was: 'We need help.'"

The fundraising initiative focused on building a robust scholarship program that will provide access to a Baylor education to those with need, help recruit to Baylor some of the best and brightest young minds, attract the most talented student-athletes and extend opportunities for students who can benefit from academic enrichment opportunities beyond the borders of Baylor's campus in Waco.

Richard Willis, chairman of the Baylor Board of Regents and a longtime scholarship donor with seven endowed scholarships under his family name, helped to spearhead the effort.

"When Judge Starr started here three years ago, the first thing he did was listen to the students, and that's really been a hallmark for Judge throughout his time here," Willis said. "And after he listens, he takes action."

The success of the initiative came as a result of a tremendous response from the Baylor community. Starr called upon all members of Baylor Nation to respond by giving - as they are able - to support Baylor students, acknowledging that the collective effort of many would be essential to reaching the goal. The message resonated with donors as 86 percent of those who gave to the Initiative gave $1,000 or less.

"This was the effort of the entire community coming together, and we will continue by God's grace and with a whole lot of hard work," Starr said.

While more than 80 percent of Baylor students receive some form of financial assistance and Baylor is ranked a "best buy" by numerous college guides, the cost of higher education continues to rise across the nation and students and their families struggle to afford a quality education.

"Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to interact with University leaders and to hear about their passion for Baylor students," Student Body President Kelly Rapp said. "As epitomized by The President's Scholarship Initiative, I'm absolutely confident that the leaders of Baylor University are chiefly focused on providing the best experiences possible for students."

The President's Scholarship Initiative is an important first step in Starr's commitment to continue placing emphasis on scholarship assistance for current and future generations of students. Even as this effort comes to a close, Starr emphasized the need that still exists and encouraged the Baylor community to remain steadfast in supporting Baylor students.

To learn more about The President's Scholarship Initiative and see the "extraordinary" stories of Baylor students, alumni and donors, please visit


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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