Baylor University Mourns Passing of Benefactor Babs Baugh
Longtime donor, volunteer championed support for Baylor’s students, faculty
WACO, Texas (June 14, 2020) – Baylor University is mourning beloved benefactor and Baylor parent, Barbara “Babs” Nell Baugh, of San Antonio, who passed away today after a long, courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease. She was 78. As president of the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation, Baugh was a champion for higher education informed by Christian values, and her generous support of Baylor’s faculty, staff and students leaves an indelible mark on the institution.
“Babs Baugh – like her parents, John and Eula Mae Baugh – was an iconic figure in Baptist life and truly a shining example of Matthew 5:16. She let her bright light shine and glorified God through her good works and joyful, generous spirit that supported Baptist causes, the local church and universities and institutions,” said President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “Every day on our campus, Babs’ and the Baugh family’s love and support of Baylor allows us to carry out our Christian mission in higher education in significant ways: theological education at the Baugh-Reynolds Campus of Truett Seminary; endowed student scholarships in ministry, music, social work, business, entrepreneurship, history and biology; endowed chairs and professorships for faculty to pursue teaching and research that impacts the world and the local church; and the restoration of Baylor’s iconic Tidwell Bible Building, with her gift completing fundraising for this important project that will impact students for generations.
“Bab’s effervescent spirit of great joy and compassion was such a blessing to us all, and we are forever grateful for her kindness, love and generous support of Baylor University and Christian higher education. The prayers of the Baylor Family are with her husband, John, her daughters, Jackie and Julie, and her cherished grandchildren and great-grandchild as they remember and celebrate Babs Baugh’s beautiful, faith-filled life,” President Livingstone said.
The daughter of John and Eula Mae Baugh, Baugh has long been a steadfast supporter of Baylor University, where her father served as a Regent and Regent Emeritus and provided one of the lead gifts establishing Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary. She continued her parents’ support of philanthropic initiatives at the University through word, deed and prayer, continuing the legacy her father and mother began.
At Baylor, Babs Baugh created opportunities for students through numerous endowed scholarships within the School of Music, Hankamer School of Business and Truett Seminary, and through the establishment of the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise. An alumna of the University of Maryland with her bachelor’s degree in music education, she gave generously to foster the arts at Baylor. Her continued support of endowed faculty positions honors many of the faculty and alumni she grew to count as friends over her decades of involvement with the institution, including support for The Diana R. Garland Chair in Child and Family Studies, The David Garland Chair in Preaching, The Foy Valentine Chair in Christian Ethics and The James Vardaman Endowed Professorship in History. In 2019, Babs Baugh also directed a gift from the Foundation to provide significant support for the preservation and restoration of the Tidwell Bible Building, helping to successfully complete fundraising efforts for the project and allowing the University to begin work on this important building on Baylor’s campus.
Babs Baugh’s roots within Baylor truly ran deep. Although not an alumna, she championed the University’s causes as a Baylor Parent to two graduates, her daughters Jackie Baugh Moore, BSEd ’86, and Julie Baugh Cloud, BA ’89, and saw three of her grandchildren follow in the family’s legacy as Baylor alumni. Through her years of involvement, Babs Baugh forged long-lasting friendships with University administration, faculty and staff, as well as students. She has been honored over the years with the Herbert H. Reynolds Award for Exemplary Service, the Parent of the Year Award, the W.R. White Meritorious Service Award and membership within the University’s Medallion Fellowship and Endowed Scholarship Society.
“We are praying for Jackie, Julie and their families as they grieve the loss of Babs, much beloved to them and to us,” said Truett Seminary Dean Todd D. Still, Ph.D., holder of The Charles J. and Eleanor McLerran Delancey Chair of the Dean and The William M. Hinson Chair of Christian Scriptures. “The Baugh family’s legacy and generosity are forever intertwined with Baylor University and Truett Seminary. Thankfully, Babs’ enthusiasm for and dedication to supporting, inspiring and encouraging Truett’s students as they answer God’s call to ministry will continue to bear much fruit both within and beyond the many families, congregations and communities where our students and alumni serve. Although we grieve her passing, we give thanks to the Lord for her well-lived life, for which we offer our heartfelt, abiding gratitude.”
“I am grieved by the news of Babs Baugh’s death and so grateful for all she has done for Baylor and for social work education,” said Jon E. Singletary, Ph.D., Dean of the Diana R. Garland School of Social work and The Diana R. Garland Endowed Chair of Child and Family Studies. “She has been a tireless advocate in Baptist life for the things we hold so dear, including her commitment to the needs of others, which drew her to Diana Garland and social work at Baylor. When Babs met Diana, there was a spark that launched new work in support of the most vulnerable in our society, and Babs committed herself to helping us find permanent space for the School of Social Work. We all worked together in support of children and families, resulting in The Diana R. Garland Endowed Chair of Child and Family Studies, which Babs helped to make possible. I will miss her singing voice, as well as the way she used that voice to speak her mind for truth and justice, the fullest expressions of a faith she held so dear. My heart goes out to Jackie and Julie, who have continued the legacy of the family with the same compassion and fervor as their mother.”
Through the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation, Baugh has continued the work of her parents in supporting institutions of higher education and Texas Baptist causes. The Baugh Foundation was established in 1995 by her parents to continue their philanthropic efforts beyond their own lifetimes. John Baugh began his career working at an A&P Grocery in Waco during the years of the Depression. Hard economic times forced a transfer to the A&P in Houston, and it was there he met and married Eula Mae Tharp. After the war, he decided to establish his own food distribution service based in Houston. Through his involvement and leadership in tile National Frozen Food Association, he met other food distributors from across the country. In 1970, when he proposed that nine of them merge to form a nationwide food distribution service, the Sysco Corporation was born. John served as Chairman, CEO and Senior Chairman of Sysco. Over the next 35 years, the company's sales grew from $115 million annually to over $30 billion annually, making it the world’s largest food service company with 170 locations and more than 47,500 employees.
“The legacy of the Baugh family is one of generosity and Christian commitment,” said Baylor Vice President for Advancement David Rosselli. “Babs has truly been a champion of higher education based upon Christian values, and we give thanks for the support of faculty, the investment in students and the prayerful services she has provided as a volunteer on the Boards of Advisors for our academic units. Her legacy at Baylor exemplifies what it means to be a member of the Baylor Family – a committed part of our community, and I am grateful for her steadfast commitment here. We continue to pray for her family, for John, Jackie and Julie, and for her friends and colleagues who have lost a truly one-of-a-kind friend, fellow believer and advocate.”
Beyond Baylor, Baugh served on countless boards for nonprofits and Baptist organizations such as Christian Ethics Today, the B. H. Carroll Theological Institute, Mercer University, the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, and Texas Baptists. She also volunteered at Woodland Baptist Church, her home church in San Antonio, and was active in music programming through her church. She has passed along the same commitment to philanthropy to her daughters, who serve as the directors and officers of the family foundation.
Baugh is survived by her husband, John Jarrett Jr., her daughters, Jackie Baugh Moore, and her husband, Kim, and Julie Baugh Cloud, as well as her grandchildren and great-grandson.
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 18,000 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.