Baylor Regents Celebrate Transformational $100 Million Gift, Approve Funding to Enhance Core Science Research Facilities, Move Forward with Tidwell, Cashion Renovation Plans

  • May Board of Regents President Livingstone
    Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., spoke to reporters following the spring meeting of the Baylor University Board of Regents. (Matthew Minard/Baylor University)
  • May Board of Regents Joel Allison
    Joel T. Allison, chair of the Baylor University Board of Regents, spoke to reporters following the Board's spring meeting. Allison completed two years of service as Board Chair. (Matthew Minard/Baylor University)
May 17, 2019

Board also announces new leadership and new Regents; presents City of Waco with Founder’s Medal

WACO, Texas (May 17, 2019) – At its regular spring meeting, the Baylor University Board of Regents celebrated the historic $100 million gift for Baylor’s $1.1 billion Give Light comprehensive philanthropic campaign that undergirds Illuminate, the University’s strategic plan, and impacts every aspect of campus while also bolstering financial support for students and the priorities of Baylor’s 12 schools and colleges.

In other business, the Board approved funding to expand core facilities for enhancing research in the Baylor Sciences Building and for phase 1 of the renovation of Baylor’s iconic Tidwell Bible Building and build-out of shell space at the Cashion Academic Center. Regents also approved the University’s $698.4 million annual operating budget for 2019-2020. The Board elected new leadership and committee chairs, announced new Regents whose terms will begin June 1 and thanked members who have completed their service to the University.

“The Board is extremely appreciative and supportive of the University’s direction under President Livingstone. The past academic year has been filled with many notable accomplishments across the campus, as we proceed aggressively under the strategic plan and with the support of alumni and other members of the Baylor Family who have contributed faithfully and generously to Give Light,” said Board Chair Joel T. Allison, B.A. ’70, of Waco, who presided over his final Board meeting as chair. “We have been equally impressed in a short time with new Provost Nancy Brickhouse, who brings significant experience in academic leadership and a strong commitment to Baylor’s Christian mission and distinct place in higher education.

“I deeply appreciate the confidence the Board placed in me to serve as Chair over the past two years,” Allison added. “It has been a joy to work with the Board and with Dr. Livingstone, watching her lead Baylor, building her team, setting the strategic plan and working with the Board in a very positive manner to move the University forward for our students, faculty, staff, alumni and all who love Baylor. The Board is in a good place, and I have full confidence in the skillful and strategic leadership of Jerry Clements as our next Board chair, as she supports Dr. Livingstone and the University. As a Regent and alumnus, I look forward to helping Baylor reach its vision of becoming the preeminent Christian research university.”

President’s Report

On Friday, President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., gave her quarterly report to the Board, which focused on University’s Christian mission. She also updated Regents on research on the incoming freshman class and future prospective students and shared an update on the Give Light campaign.

“We had an important discussion about how our campus community supports and strengthens the University’s Christian mission,” President Livingstone said. “Our enrollment remains stable, we have great interest from prospective students and parents for our educational experience, which signals that our academic reputation remains strong, and we are on pace for the largest fundraising year in our history, around $240 million, as we move forward on our Give Light campaign. These are all great signs of Baylor’s strength and resilience.”

President Livingstone shared with the Board the significance of the $100 million gift from an anonymous family that established a matching fund to launch the Baylor Academic Challenge to endow up to 17 new faculty positions and provided a leadership gift toward the new Baylor Basketball Pavilion.

This transformational gift to Baylor is one of only four gifts of $100 million or more to institutions of higher education in Texas. The others were to the University of Texas at Austin, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine. Over the past three years, only 38 of the millions of gifts made to higher education institutions nationwide have been $100 million or greater.

The Baylor Academic Challenge is a dollar-for-dollar matching fund to encourage other leadership gifts that, combined with the Academic Challenge match, will enable Baylor to create the new faculty positions, including those within Illuminate’s five signature initiatives: Health, Data Sciences, Materials Science, Human Flourishing, Leadership and Ethics and Baylor in Latin America.

“The Academic Challenge will help the University recruit and retain renowned faculty and researchers from around the globe who are interested in joining Baylor and our mission of educating young men and women for worldwide Christian leadership and service while also helping us solve some of the most difficult problems in the world with their research teams,” President Livingstone said.

Enhancing core research facilities in Baylor Sciences Building

As Baylor moves forward toward achieving its goals under Illuminate as a top Christian research university, the Board approved $1.3 million to expand core facilities for enhancing shared research in the Baylor Sciences Building (BSB).

The approved plan includes the design, renovation and expansion of spaces that house the BSB’s core instrumentation facilities: Mass Spectrometry Center, Center for Microscopy and Imaging and Molecular Biosciences Center, which enable multidisciplinary research across academic departments as well as other centers, programs and institutes. The approved plan also includes infrastructure improvements, such as mechanical, electrical and plumbing, to support existing and new equipment and allows for growth for materials science and health/life sciences applications and other areas of emerging research.

Renovation of Tidwell Bible Building, build-out of Cashion shell space

The Board approved $4.1 million for phase 1 of the Tidwell Bible Building renovation, with $1 million for design of the renovated building and $3.1 million for the build-out of shell space on the fourth floor of the Cashion Academic Center, which will house temporary office locations for the departments of history and religion during the Tidwell renovation. The Cashion renovation is expected to begin soon, with completion in spring 2020. Construction on Tidwell is expected to begin in late 2020, with a reopening anticipated in 2022.

The restoration of the iconic Tidwell Bible Building, which was built in 1954, is one of the University’s top priorities among the nearly $300 million in capital improvements planned as part of the Give Light campaign. On April 25, Baylor received a $15 million leadership gift from The Sunderland Foundation of Overland Park, Kansas, to move the project forward.

The renovation will preserve the beautiful limestone carvings depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments and the stained glass windows in Miller Chapel, as well as the addition of a prayer chapel that provides a breathtaking view of campus from the top floors of Tidwell that will be accessible by elevator for the first time in the building’s history.

Riverfront regulatory corrective action

The Board approved $1.815 million to fund regulatory corrective actions to improve and prevent future landfill cover erosion issues on the south bank of the riverwalk behind the Highers Athletics Complex. The complex’s facilities are built within the boundaries of a closed and capped former Waco city landfill, which primarily contains building material debris (wood, brick and glass) from the 1953 Waco tornado.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have approved the corrective actions to mitigate the erosion. Repairs are expected to begin this summer on the slope along the waterline. The construction work is not expected to impact the riverwalk and should be completed in August.

2019-2020 Budget approved

Regents approved a $698.4 million annual operating budget for 2019-2020, which includes an additional $13.4 million for scholarships – both merit and need-based – for undergraduate, graduate and professional students, and graduate assistantships. The budget supports new and replacement faculty and staff positions and more competitive stipends for graduate assistants, and also accounts for the exponential growth in enrollment for Baylor’s expanded graduate professional education programs, which are projected to exceed original financial projections by 158 percent. The budget takes effect June 1.

Board leadership, committee chairs, new regents

Regents voted to approve officers and committee chairs, who also will serve on the Executive Committee, for 2019-2020.

Elected as chair and vice chairs are:

• Jerry K. Clements, J.D. ’81, of Austin, Chair.

• Mark Hurd, B.B.A. ’79, of Redwood Shores, California, Vice Chair.

• Melissa Purdy Mines, B.A. ’90, of Austin, Vice Chair.

• Randolph (Randy) L. Pullin, B.B.A. '82, of Houston, Vice Chair.

Elected as committee chairs:

• Academic Affairs – Jennifer Walker Elrod, B.A. ’88, of Houston, Chair, and Alicia D.H. Monroe, M.D., of Missouri City, Texas, Vice Chair.

• Advancement and Development – Dan Hord III, B.B.A. ’89, of Midland, Chair, and Julie Hermansen Turner, B.B.A. ’67, M.S.E.D ’68, of Dallas, Vice Chair.

• Audit – Jill Manning, B.B.A. ’84, of Dallas, Chair, and Todd Reppert, B.B.A. ’91, of Houston, Vice Chair.

• Compliance and Regulatory Affairs – Randolph (Randy) L. Pullin, B.B.A. ’82, of Houston, Chair, and Mark E. Lovvorn, B.B.A. ’76, B.Acc. ’77, of Dallas, Vice Chair.

• Finance and Facilities – Larry P. Heard, B.B.A. ’80, of Houston, Chair, and Miles Jay Allison, B.B.A. ’78, M.S. ’80, J.D. ’81, of Frisco, Vice Chair.

• Nominating, Governance and Regent Leadership – Mark Rountree, B.B.A. ’86, M.T.A. ’87, of Dallas, Chair, and J. Cary Gray, B.A. ’79, B.Acc. ’80, J.D. ’83, of Houston, Vice Chair.

• Student Life – Kim Wilson Stevens, B.S.Ed. ’93, of Waco, Chair, and Dennis R. Wiles, Ph.D., of Arlington, Vice Chair.

• University Leadership and Compensation – Mark A. McCollum, B.B.A. ’80, of Houston, Chair, and Neal Jeffrey, B.B.A. ’75, of Plano, Vice Chair.

In other action, the Board elected three new at-large Regents:

• Sarah Gahm, B.S. (Biology) ’84, M.H.A., of Dallas – three-year term; senior vice president of Baylor Scott & White Health Care, member of Park Cities Baptist Church.

• William Mearse, B.B.A. (Management/Marketing) ’78, M.B.A. ’79, of Houston – three-year term; retired Accenture resources group operations officer, member of Second Baptist Church.

• Manny Ruiz, B.B.A. (Marketing/Management) ’81, of San Antonio – three-year term; president/senior lending officer and member of the board of directors, TexStar National Bank, member of First Baptist Church.

Elected by Baylor alumni and welcomed by the Board to a three-year term as an alumni-elected Regent is:

• David M. Slover, B.A. ‘86, M.B.A. ’89, of Dallas.

Slover received 3,306 votes of the 7,840 Baylor graduates who voted in the election, which was administered and certified by Election-America Inc. Other alumni-elected Regent candidates included Lindsey Davis Stover (2,577 votes) and Susan Youngblood Paynter (1,957 votes).

Regents re-elected by the Board to three-year teams are:

• Shelley Giglio, B.B.A. ’86, of Atlanta, Georgia – final three-year term.

• Larry P. Heard, B.B.A. ’80, of Houston – final three-year term.

• Julie Hermansen Turner, B.A. ’67, M.S.P.E. ’68, of Dallas – second three-year term.

Regents reappointed by the Baptist General Convention of Texas last fall and confirmed by the Board are:

• Mark Rountree, B.B.A. ’86, M.T.A. ’87, of Dallas – second three-year term.

• Randolph (Randy) L. Pullin, B.B.A. '82, of Houston – final three-year term.

Regent nominated by the Baylor Bear Foundation and approved by the Board:

• Mark Petersen, M.B.A. ’84, of Arlington – three-year term; partner in MBD Solutions LLC and president and managing partner for PRF Capital LLC.

Faculty Regent confirmed by the Board for a three-year term:

• Randall A. Umstead, D.M.A., associate professor, associate dean for academic affairs and The Charles Evans Chair in Voice in the Baylor School of Music.

Student Regent approved by the Board as a voting member:

• Malcolm B. Foley, doctoral candidate in religion, of Rockville, Maryland – second one-year term.

Terms begin on June 1.

The Board also appointed Paul L. Foster, B.B.A. ’79, of El Paso, and Todd Reppert, B.B.A. ’91, of Houston, to the Baylor College of Medicine Board of Trustees.

Honoring service

At a dinner Thursday night at Allbritton House, the Board honored Regents who have completed their terms of service and thanked them for their dedication and service to the University: Regent Brett Beene, Student Regent Will Cassara, Regent Dan Chapman, Faculty Regent Andrea L. Dixon, Ph.D., Regent Jeff D. Reeter, Regent William K. Robbins Jr., Regent Philip W. Stewart and Regent Ronald L. Wilson. The dinner also honored Allison, who completed two years of service as Board Chair, leading implementation of improvements and best-practice recommendations to the Board’s structure and governance.

“I have been blessed to work with Joel Allison as our board chair for the past two years. It has truly been a privilege,” President Livingstone said. “I look forward to working with Jerry Clements and benefiting from her wisdom and leadership as we continue implementing our strategic plan and advancing the University. The Regents comprise a group of dedicated volunteers who love Baylor. Our Board is very healthy, and I appreciate the positive working relationship we have and their support of our strategic initiatives and the University’s overall direction.”

Founders Medal officially presented to City of Waco

On Wednesday night on the front steps of historic Waco Hall, Baylor officially honored the City of Waco with the Founder’s Medal, one of the University’s most distinguished awards. The Founder’s Medal honor was announced earlier this year on Feb. 1, which marked Baylor’s 174th anniversary.

During the ceremony, President Livingstone presented the Founder’s Medal to Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver, B.B.A. ’86, J.D. ’93, recognizing Waco for its decades-long support of and partnership with the University. Joining the Mayor in representing the City of Waco were City Council Members Andrea Barefield (District One), Hector Sabido (District Two) and Jim Holmes (District Five) and City Manager Wiley Stem.

“It is a distinct honor to present to the City of Waco with the 2019 Baylor Founders Medal,” President Livingstone said. “For all that the city has done for Baylor in the past, for our rich partnership today and for all that we will do together in the future, we are truly grateful.”

Baylor administrators, Regents and City officials celebrated their partnership at a dinner hosted in Baylor’s Armstrong Browning Library.

Three commencement ceremonies, as well as commencement for Truett Seminary, are scheduled for this weekend, as Baylor will confer degrees upon nearly 2,900 graduates.

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 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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