Baylor Regents Announce Lead Gift, Approve Phase One of Golf Practice Facility

  • Full-Size Image: Rosenbalm Fountain
    Rosenbalm Fountain, the centerpiece of a major beautification and improvement project, has transformed historic Fifth Street and Fountain Mall on the Baylor campus. The fountain is named in honor of Clarence and Claudia Rosenbalm, the parents of Dr. Thomas J. Rosenbalm, whose generous gift made the project possible.
  • Full-Size Image: Eternal Flame
    The six-foot by nine-foot artistic structure of iron and steel, created by Stanton Studios and Nickell Metalsmiths, immortalizes Baylor's Eternal Flame tradition.
Oct. 23, 2015

Board also hears about “faith animating” initiative, celebrates dedication of Rosenbalm Fountain, Eternal Flame addition, Meritorious Alumni Award recipients

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WACO, Texas (Oct. 23, 2015) – At its annual Homecoming meeting, Baylor University’s Board of Regents today celebrated the announcement of a lead gift and approved the first phase of a planned golf practice facility near campus for Baylor’s nationally recognized men’s and women’s golf teams.

Regents announced that the golf practice facility will be named in honor of Billy Williams, B.B.A. ’63, and his family of Naples, Florida, who provided a multimillion dollar gift for the project. The practice facility will be located on a 14-acre site on University Parks Drive next to the Willis Family Equestrian Center and will include an on-site practice course, a driving range and a clubhouse. Fundraising for the project is ongoing.

“We are deeply grateful to Billy Williams and his family, who stepped boldly forward to support our golf programs and outstanding student-athletes at this truly special time in Baylor athletics,” said Ian McCaw, Vice President and Director of Athletics. “The golf practice facility, which will be located very close to campus, will help both programs continue to compete at the highest level, and we are very appreciative of the Williams family, their continued commitment to Baylor University and the vision we share for excellence in all of our endeavors.”

Williams lettered in football in 1962 on a John Bridgers-coached team that included star quarterback Don Trull, who was Williams’ roommate. After graduating with a degree in finance, Williams joined the First National Bank of Fort Worth’s executive training program and earned an M.B.A. from TCU in 1965. He went on to a 26-year career at Owens Corning, working his way up from field salesman to executive vice president for the building materials division at the company’s headquarters in Toledo, Ohio. In 1991, Williams and two associates purchased Liquid Container, a packaging company in Chicago. As its president for 19 years, he oversaw the company’s expansion into a 14-plant, $400-million venture before he sold the company in 2011.

In 2012, Williams was named by the Baylor “B” Association to its Wall of Honor, which recognizes Baylor letterwinners and graduates whose meritorious accomplishments in public or private life following graduation have brought positive public recognition, credit and honor to Baylor and its athletic department. In 2013, Williams and his wife, Elaine, provided the lead gift for the Williams Family Soccer and Olympic Sports Center, which opened this fall and houses Baylor’s soccer program and other Olympic sports. They also previously established two endowed scholarships at Baylor, the A.J. and Marie Williams Endowed Athletic Scholarship Fund in Football and the Bill and Elaine Williams Family Endowed Athletic Scholarship Fund.

With ongoing fundraising success, construction on the course could begin as early as January 2016.

In other board action, Regents approved restoring the Dallas-based Louise Herrington School of Nursing as a freestanding academic unit. After serving as inaugural dean of the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences (CHHS), Shelley Conroy, Ed.D., will focus on her role as dean of the nursing school, while Rodney G. Bowden, Ph.D., professor of health education and Brown Foundation Endowed Chair, will serve as interim dean of the College.

“We recognize the strength of the nursing school as a distinct asset of Baylor University and its historic commitment to health-related education and research,” said Ed Trevathan, M.D., M.P.H., executive vice president and provost. “With its campus on the Baylor University Medical Center near downtown Dallas, it is of practical importance – and in keeping with the industry standard – that they are identified as their own school, able to focus on preparing baccalaureate and graduate level nurses, within a Christian community, for professional practice, health care leadership and worldwide service.”

The anchor units that collaborated in May 2014 to form the CHHS – Communication Sciences and Disorders, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Health, Human Performance and Recreation – remain at the heart of the new College, Trevathan said. The CCHS draws upon Baylor’s Christian mission and tradition in health care to prepare scholars and leaders who can translate theory into practice and advance knowledge of health, human behavior and quality of life.

“Faith Animating … Project”

Regents also heard from Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr, whose report to the board included the announcement from Darin Davis, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Faith and Learning (IFL) at Baylor – about the “Faith Animating … Project.” The project, directed under the auspices of IFL, will develop a set of initiatives to encourage deeper shared reflection on Baylor’s mission throughout the university community.

L. Gregory Jones – Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams Jr. Professor of Theology and Christian Ministry at Duke University and senior strategist for Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School, will serve as senior advisor in IFL and assist Dr. Davis in the development of these new initiatives.

“For nearly two decades, the Institute for Faith and Learning has been a leading light in expressing Baylor’s vital Christian mission,” President Starr said. “I am delighted and grateful that Greg Jones, someone much admired in American higher education for his creativity and wisdom, will join our own Darin Davis and his colleagues in IFL as they cultivate Christian scholarship, teaching and reflection at Baylor and beyond. These kinds of efforts are essential if Baylor is to realize its unique place as a keystone institution of higher learning.” (Read more about the project here.)

Student Safety and Security

In other board news, Reagan M. Ramsower, B.B.A. ’74, M.S. ’76, Ph.D., senior vice president for operations and chief financial officer, gave Regents a progress report on student safety and security. Ramsower reported on the university’s concerted efforts over the past several years to implement clear actions to create a safe environment for students, faculty and staff, both on and off campus.

These actions include strengthened response protocols and procedures for the Baylor Police Department and in partnership with the Waco Police Department; uniting campus safety offices under one organizational public safety unit; Title IX recommendations, including the creation and staffing of Baylor’s Title IX Office beginning in 2014, the development of a new Title IX policy, university-wide Title IX training, and reinforced options for interim measures as Title IX investigations proceed; continued development of a senior ethics officer position; and an ongoing external review by Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP, with results expected to include a set of recommendations regarding the university’s response to interpersonal violence.

“Baylor’s ongoing commitment to prevent and investigate evidence of violence on our own campus – and to provide those who are victims the necessary support and services to feel safe and be academically successful – is integral to our character as a university. Ensuring the highest degree of safety on our campus is one of the most important ways we fulfill our fundamental promise of a caring community,” Ramsower’s report noted.

Regents celebrate Rosenbalm Fountain, Eternal Flame

Also on Friday, Regents celebrated the dedication of the Rosenbalm Fountain, the centerpiece of a major beautification and improvement project that has transformed historic Fifth Street and Fountain Mall from the Bill Daniel Student Center down Fifth Street to the circular drive in front of the McMullen-Connally Faculty Center.

The project was made possible by an $8 million gift announced in July 2014 by Dr. Thomas J. Rosenbalm, B.A. ’50, M.A. ’51, of Houston, in honor of his late parents, Clarence and Claudia Rosenbalm, of Bartlett, Texas. Dr. Rosenbalm’s parents and sister, Dorothy, shaped his life and helped support his path to success as a prominent Houston physician.

“We are deeply grateful to Dr. Rosenbalm for his remarkable act of generosity that has so beautifully transformed our campus,” said President Starr. “Fifth Street is home to our most cherished university traditions and has now been rejuvenated as an extraordinarily meaningful gathering space on our campus – a source of inspiration, a quiet place for reflection and a destination for the Baylor family to join together. It is fitting that the signature fountain honors the memory of Dr. Rosenbalm’s parents and the value they attached to hard work, integrity and higher education.”

In addition, the university and the Baylor Chamber of Commerce unveiled a six-foot by nine-foot artistic structure to immortalize the university’s Eternal Flame tradition. A revered part of Homecoming, the Eternal Flame tradition honors the lives of Baylor basketball players, known as the Immortal Ten, who were killed in a bus-train accident in 1927. (Watch video of the Eternal Flame structure.)

The structure was made possible by generous financial support from Bob, B.B.A. ’79, J.D. ’80, and Brenda Barkley; Sue Getterman, B.A. ’50; Andy, B.B.A. ’87, and Kathy Spencer; and the Baylor Chamber of Commerce. The sculpture is the result of more than 300 hours of design and craftsmanship from Bryant Stanton of Stanton Studios and John Nickell of Nickell Metalsmiths. The 1,600-pound structure combines iron and sculpted steel to create three artistic flames surrounding a propane-fueled center torch. The design symbolizes the relationship between the past, present and future of this tradition.

Baylor Meritorious Achievement Awards Recipients Honored

On Thursday night, Regents and special guests recognized the recipients of the 2015 Baylor Meritorious Achievement Awards at a dinner in the Meyer Conference Center in the new Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation. The awards acknowledge Baylor’s vital role in American higher education and recognize those who have made significant contributions in a variety of areas which reflect the University’s mission of excellence, service and faith.

“This week, our regents heard a variety of valuable reports that demonstrate important university progress,” said Richard Willis, B.B.A. ’81, M.B.A. ’82, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents. “We also celebrated the essential role of our 165,000 alumni, who come alongside their alma mater in enthusiastic partnership, as donors, volunteers, employers, fans and ambassadors, to propel our university to new heights. We were inspired by our remarkable Meritorious Achievement Award recipients and their dedication to the ideals of Baylor University. It is always an honor to recognize alumni for lives and vocations that exemplify the university’s distinct mission and make us all proud to be a part of Baylor.”

Six individuals and six couples were selected to receive the 2015 Baylor Meritorious Achievement Awards:

Chip, B.B.A. ’98, and Joanna, B.A. ’01, Gaines, stars of the hit HGTV show Fixer Upper

Victor Boutros, B.A. ’98, trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit

Billy, B.A. ’95, and Dawn, BS.Ed. ’98, Ray, mission workers in the Middle East with World Orphans

Sue Mayborn, A.H.C. ’01, president/owner of Mayborn Enterprises

Michael Attas, B.A. ’69, cardiologist, including more than 20 years as chief cardiologist at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center, and founding director of Baylor’s Medical Humanities program

Harry “Fred” Tibbals III, B.S. ’65, researcher who designed complex systems, from imaging systems to life support sensors for space suits and vehicles

Grant and Donell Teaff, A.B.C. ’86

David, B.A. ’60, and Shirley Lake
George, B.A. ’60, L.L.B. ’62, and Martha, B.A. ’61, Chandler
Winston Wolfe, Class of ’64
Matt, B.B.A. ’57, and Dot, B.B.A. ’57, Miller

Louise Herrington Ornelas, A.H.C. ’92, B.S.N., a lifelong champion of nurses and nursing education and namesake of Baylor’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing


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 16,000 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 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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