Baylor University Mourns Passing of Longtime Friend, Philanthropist Jane Meyer

Sept. 1, 2021
Jane and Paul MeyerJane and Paul Meyer

Baylor Founder championed scholarship support for students, Christian education

WACO, Texas (Sept. 1, 2021) – Baylor University is mourning beloved Baylor Family member Jane Meyer, of Waco, who passed away Saturday, Aug. 21. She was 81. Honored as a Baylor Founder for her support of the University, Meyer’s strong Christian faith informed her philanthropy, and as president of the Paul and Jane Meyer Family Foundation, she built upon a legacy of generosity toward Baylor’s students through giving to scholarships, faculty funding and facilities.

A memorial service for Jane Meyer will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 4, at First Woodway Baptist Church in Woodway, Texas.

“We honor Jane and her incredible heart for Baylor’s students,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “Jane believed in the transformative impact that quality, faith education can have on our students’ lives and, together with her late husband, Paul, she created an inspiring legacy through their generous support of endowment. Jane was always a source of encouragement and support, and she was generous with her time. We mourn with her family and we pray that God’s peace and strength will be with them as they remember and celebrate Jane’s wonderful life.”

Jane Meyer continued the Baylor legacy of her husband, renowned entrepreneur and personal development pioneer Paul J. Meyer, in supporting education and the Christian mission of the University through the Paul and Jane Meyer Family Foundation. Paul, who passed away in 2009, was widely considered one of the most influential people in the personal achievement industry after the founding of the Success Motivation Institute (SMI) and Leadership Management Inc., for the purpose of helping people develop management skills.

Jane Meyer received numerous honors, including the Baylor Founders Medal, the W.R. White Meritorious Service Award and Alumna Honoris Causa, the highest honor bestowed upon one who does not hold a Baylor degree. The Meyer family has celebrated more than a dozen Baylor graduations among their own children and grandchildren, who received their diplomas in the venue that bears the family’s name, the Paul J. Meyer Arena in the Ferrell Center.

“We pray for the Meyer family as we honor the life and impact Jane Meyer had here at Baylor,” said David Rosselli, vice president of University Advancement at Baylor. “Jane was a dear friend to many in our Baylor Family, and her thoughtfulness and care for others continues through the many endowed funds that she and Paul established. Jane was always a wonderful encouragement and a source of prayerful and unfailing support for Baylor. She truly leaves an incredible legacy both here at Baylor and among the other 30 charities she supported through the Meyer Family Foundation and through her family on whom she doted. Our thoughts are with them during this time.”

Both Jane and Paul overcame hardships in their youth. The youngest of four children, Jane was born in Killeen, Texas, and moved at age 2 with her family to a farm, where her father soon died in a tractor accident. Her mother relocated the family to Temple, where Jane completed high school before attending business school in Waco.

Born in California to immigrants, Paul worked in orchards and vineyards alongside migrant workers beginning at age 5, developing the discipline and work ethic that would fuel his success from a young age. In 1958, Paul moved to Waco from Florida to work in sales at Word Inc. under Jarrell McCracken, the former Baylor classmate of Dr. Bill Hinson, Paul's former pastor in Florida. In 1960, after two years in sales at Word Inc., Paul launched SMI, which revolutionized the personal development industry. It was the same year Paul met Jane. Eleven years later, the two married.

Sharing the success of SMI and subsequent ventures, the Meyer Family Foundation has given more than $75 million to assist the youth, elderly and needy in Central Texas. At Baylor, the Meyer Family Foundation established scholarships honoring friends and family and provided a leading gift to name the Paul and Jane Meyer Conference Center at the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation, home of Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business. The Paul J. Meyer Arena at the Ferrell Center was named in Paul’s honor for his support in its construction. The Meyers also created The William M. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures at Truett Seminary and donated a building for use as a student-athlete residence hall.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 19,000 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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