Baylor Regents Extend President's Contract, Add Chancellor Title

Nov. 11, 2013
Judge Ken StarrBaylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr (Robert Rogers/Baylor Marketing and Communications)

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WACO, Texas (Nov. 11, 2013) - In light of Baylor University's significant progress during the presidency of Judge Ken Starr, the Baylor Board of Regents has voted to extend the contract of President Starr. The Board has assigned Judge Starr the new title of "President and Chancellor." He will continue to serve as the University's chief executive officer. In providing the additional title, the Board has charged the President to work to increase Baylor's influence in the nation and around the world.

"For more than three years, President Starr has distinguished himself as a gifted and visionary leader committed to the highest ideals of Christian higher education," said Richard S Willis, BBA '81, MBA '82, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents. "The Board recognizes President Starr's exceptional leadership, reflected in his steadfast dedication to fostering unity within the Baylor family and his energetic support of our students, as powerfully illustrated by the priority he attached to successfully advancing the $100 million President's Scholarship Initiative.

"Under President Starr, we have elevated our standing as a comprehensive national research university, launched more than a dozen new degree programs and firmly established Baylor athletics as a program where student-athletes compete effectively both on the field of competition and in the classroom," Willis said. "With the title of President and Chancellor, we have expanded the President's role and challenged Judge Starr to seek creative ways to advance our University's mission and influence by increasing Baylor's standing on the national and international stage."

"I am deeply thankful for the actions taken by Chairman Willis and the Baylor Board of Regents," Judge Starr said. "It is a high honor to serve Baylor University. In addition to continuing to work energetically with Baylor's wonderful faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends, I plan to focus even more strongly on a variety of new initiatives to increase Baylor's impact here in the U.S. and around the globe. By God's grace, we will see the strengthening of Baylor's influence in American higher education as all of us in Baylor Nation continue to labor together in unity of purpose."

To assist Judge Starr in carrying out his expanded role, the President announced changes in the duties and scope of responsibilities of Karla Leeper, Ph.D., who will serve as Vice President for Board and Executive Affairs. In that capacity, Dr. Leeper will manage and coordinate Board affairs, lead Baylor's government relations activities, including its more prominent presence in the nation's capital, and direct the University's Campus Event Services operation. In addition, in a time of increased emphasis on enterprise risk management, she also will serve as Chief Compliance Officer to ensure that Baylor has the necessary policies and processes in place to comply with the myriad legal and ethical mandates to which American higher education is subject.

"Baylor has an outstanding opportunity to increase its participation in national policy discussions and deliberations that are impacting our world," Dr. Leeper said. "To fill that role effectively, we need to plan for, create and manage the infrastructure that will allow us to actively engage with world leaders and policy makers both beyond our campus and on it. Because our vision includes an even greater public role, our changes must also come with an absolute commitment to the highest standard of compliance to the laws and policies to which we are subject as an institution. With increased influence comes increased responsibility, and I am honored to have been asked to help guide Baylor in these important areas."


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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