Houston Couple Donate $5 Million Gift for Baylor's Truett Seminary

Nov. 19, 1997

Baylor University President Robert B. Sloan Jr. recently announced a $5 million lead gift from John and Eula Mae Baugh of Houston to fund construction of a permanent facility for George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

The announcement was made during the Friends of Truett Seminary Dinner at the Baptist General Convention of Texas annual meeting in Austin on Nov. 10.

A formal campaign for the new facility has not been launched, but Baugh said he wanted his family's gift to challenge others to help fund the $15 million, multi-phase project. Baugh, founder and retired chairman of Sysco Corp. and a Baylor regent emeritus, was instrumental along with his wife, Eula Mae, in the establishment of Truett Seminary, providing generous gifts for the school's start-up.

"Now more than ever, theological education needs to be propelled forward in Texas Baptist life," Baugh said. "The time has come for Truett to have a most fitting facility, not only for the training of theological students, but also to foster continuing education opportunities for all Texas Baptist pastors, whether they be bi-vocational or full time. We have a tremendous job to be done and it needs to be done fairly quickly. Now's the time to get with it."

The Seminary, which began classes in Fall 1994, is currently housed in an education wing of Waco's First Baptist Church.

"The Baugh name has been synonymous with Truett Seminary since the early days of its formation," said President Robert B. Sloan Jr., who was Truett's first dean. "It is entirely appropriate and consistent with their generous spirit and their unwavering support of the seminary that they provide the lead gift for this new facility.

"We are extremely grateful to First Baptist Church for providing space for the seminary, but construction of a permanent home for Truett's faculty, staff and students will be a major step forward in the seminary's development."

A campus site for the seminary complex has not yet been determined and architectural work has not begun, but the gift will accelerate the planning process, Sloan said. The seminary facility has

been on a list of construction and renovation projects that the University has been considering for several months. The administration will recommend to the Board of Regents next February a prioritized schedule of capital projects that need to be completed over the next few years.

"This gift come at a strategic stage in the development of the seminary. The Baugh's benevolence is a wonderful testimony of their commitment to Christian stewardship and a challenge to others to respond to the opportunity for supporting theological education," said Truett Seminary Dean J. Bradley Creed.

Members of Tallowood Baptist Church in Houston, the Baughs have a daughter, Barbara (Babs) Baugh, and grandchildren Jackie and Kim Moore and Julie and Carlos Ortiz, all of San Antonio.

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