Gift from David and Shirley Lake Will Create Chair for Congregational and Community Health
WACO, Texas (Dec. 7, 2017) – Baylor University today announced a gift from David and Shirley Lake of Tyler to create the Lake Family Endowed Chair in Congregational and Community Health at the University. The gift will create a unique joint venture between the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work and George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor by supporting the work of a distinguished faculty member who will develop and implement a strategic initiative related to congregational and community health and will teach in both academic units.
“Shirley and I have become increasingly aware of the growing need for churches to offer congregational and community health services, which is often currently being unmet,” said David Lake, a 1960 Baylor graduate. “Pastors are so busy leading their churches, preaching and managing their staffs that they don’t have time to become trained in how to provide the range of guidance and counseling services that members of their congregations need. We hope our gift will help get more people out in the field, in churches and communities, who can pursue their Christian calling and serve those in our broken world.”
The Lakes’ gift will uniquely equip a distinguished Christian scholar and educator at Baylor to teach in both a social work and seminary setting. The inaugural holder of the Chair will be Gaynor Yancey, D.S.W., professor, Master Teacher and director of the Center for Church and Community Impact in the Garland School of Social Work. In addition to providing leadership on campus, Yancey will be a leading voice for congregational and community health within the local community and in churches near and far through teaching and applied research.
“Shirley and David Lake are dear to our hearts as members of the Baylor Family and visionary philanthropists,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “In today’s society, the church often becomes extended family for those facing trauma, crisis, illness and other major changes in life. Through their remarkable generosity, the Lakes will increase the presence of skilled professionals in our churches and communities who are equipped to respond to those in need of help, including those serving in the ministry.”
The Diana R. Garland School of Social Work offers both baccalaureate and graduate social work degrees and is home to the Center for Church and Community Impact. The school has a national reputation as the leading institution for preparing professional social workers for work with congregations and faith-based organizations. The school’s faculty maintains a rigorous research agenda that is based on developing effective and promising strategies for addressing social problems such as poverty, illiteracy and care for the aging.
“The generosity of the Lake family in support of Truett Seminary and the Garland School of Social Work helps align our shared mission in support of the work of churches in their communities” said Jon E. Singletary, Ph.D., dean of the Garland School of Social Work. “Our students are committed to creative ways of demonstrating a love for their neighbors. This generous gift supports a faculty member to guide these students and to conduct research on the most effective ways churches can make a difference in their communities.”
George W. Truett Theological Seminary is one of the nation’s fastest-growing accredited theological schools. Since welcoming its first class in 1994 with one master of divinity program, Truett Seminary now offers a doctor of ministry program along with a master of theological studies degree and concentrations and joint degrees in social work, music, education, business administration and law. More than 1,300 Truett graduates are serving in a variety of ministries throughout the world.
“Jesus taught that to love God with every fiber of one’s being is the first and foremost commandment. Due to the generosity of David and Shirley Lake, more people will be made whole in heart, mind, body and soul and will thereby be increasingly able to fulfill the Great Commandment,” said Todd D. Still, Ph.D., The Charles J. and Eleanor McLerran Delancey Chair of the Dean of Truett Seminary. “The Lord has blessed Truett Seminary with many faithful friends and strong supporters, and among them the Lakes are truly exemplary. We are extremely grateful for their transformative gift.”
In her role as the Lake Family Endowed Chair in Congregational and Community Health, Yancey will teach and mentor students in Truett Seminary and the Garland School of Social Work and will help to create a seminary specialization in congregational and community health. Yancey also will facilitate the creation of a dual-degree program that will be unique in American higher education and conduct applied research that will provide resources for church leadership and strengthen Baylor’s standing as an institution committed to addressing concrete needs in a hurting world.
“The role of pastors has greatly expanded in recent decades,” Shirley Lake said. “We want to help equip leaders in our churches and communities with the ability to get people the assistance they need. Our sincere hope is that other alumni and friends of Baylor will come alongside us in supporting this new initiative.”
David and Shirley Lake met when David’s Baylor roommate set them up on a blind date more than 50 years ago. At one point, all four of their children – Joel, B.A. ’92; Jonathan, B.B.A. ’93; Kyle, B.A. ’94; M.Div. ’97; and Kristi Lake Fuller, B.A. ’95, M.S.G. ’96 – attended Baylor at the same time. The Lakes have lived for more than 40 years in Tyler, Texas, where David has practiced law as a licensed attorney primarily in the areas of real estate and transactional law. A graduate of Texas A&M University at Commerce, Shirley Lake volunteers in the Tyler area and serves as a member of the Brook Hill School Board of Trustees. The family has worked together for more than 30 years to support excellence in senior living, most recently opening The Abbey at Westminster Plaza in Houston.
The Lakes previously established the Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching in Truett Seminary, named in memory of their late son who served as pastor at University Baptist Church in Waco. They also previously created the Kyle Lake Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund at Truett Seminary and the Kyle Lake Memorial Endowed Scholarship in Communication Studies at Baylor.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 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.
ABOUT THE DIANA R. GARLAND SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK
Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work is home to one of the leading graduate social work programs in the nation with a research agenda focused on the integration of faith and practice. Upholding its mission of preparing social workers in a Christian context for worldwide service and leadership, the School offers a baccalaureate degree (BSW), a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree and three joint-degree options (MSW/Master of Business Administration, MSW/Master of Divinity and MSW/Master of Theological Studies) through a partnership with Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business and George W. Truett Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. program. Visit www.baylor.edu/social_work to learn more.
ABOUT GEORGE W. TRUETT THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary provides theological education leading to the Master of Divinity, the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, the Master of Theological Studies or the Doctor of Ministry degrees that are centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ and consistent with historic Baptist commitments to prepare persons to carry this gospel to the churches and the world. Within the M.Div. degree program, students can choose concentrations in Biblical Studies and Languages, Family Ministries, Ministry Leadership, World Christianity, Worship Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Sports Ministry and Theology. Truett Seminary also offers five joint degree programs – an M.Div./M.S.W. and M.T.S./M.S.W. through a partnership with Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, an M.Div./M.M. through a partnership with Baylor’s School of Music, an M.Div./M.B.A. through a partnership with Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, an M.Div./J.D. degree through a partnership with Baylor Law School and an M.Div./M.Ed. and M.Div./M.A. through a partnership with Baylor’s School of Education. Visit www.baylor.edu/truett to learn more.