'Welcome to Baylor'Feb. 16, 1998
Baylor annually hosts thousands of visitors to its campus. Under the direction of a new university host, the school plans to welcome even more visitors.
Jeff Kilgore recently accepted the position of university host and director of the Wiethorn Visitors Center. The university's host primarily coordinates student camps and denominational groups that use the campus each summer. More than 12,000 people participate in these programs which generate revenues of more than $1 million.
In addition to working with summer visitors, Kilgore will begin planning a new effort to host business conferences at Baylor. Another initiative would include hosting constituency groups throughout the school year. Kilgore said this new direction presents exciting challenges and greater opportunities for Baylor to form relationships with business communities, prospective students and their families and Central Texas citizens.
"The greatest thing about Baylor is our students," Kilgore said. "If you want to showcase the university to constituencies, the best time would be when we have the most students on campus. We want people to experience the university during peak times of campus life."
Kilgore replaces Jack Thornton who will retire in May after serving Baylor for more than 40 years in various positions. Thornton will help Kilgore make the transition into the job.
Kilgore came to the visitors center after serving the Baylor Alumni Association for two years as assistant director for programs and marketing. The contrast of his new and former position makes his new job exciting, Kilgore said.
"While at the alumni association, I influenced people as they went out the back door of the university," he said. "In this position, I influence people as they come in the front door."
"I can influence the first impression someone would have with the university," Kilgore said. "It's an exciting opportunity but a tremendous responsibility."
Kilgore will be assisted by Linda Hardwick, assistant director and coordinator of summer camps; Gloria Morris, coordinator of campus tours; and a staff of student graduate assistants.
Kilgore said he wants every person he meets to return to Baylor.
"I see our role as creating a caring community and doing whatever it takes to facilitate a life-long embrace with the university," he said. Kilgore said he hopes every campus visitor will get a simple message of hospitality from his office:
"Welcome to Baylor. We want you to be comfortable and we want you to be a part of our family."