Colloquy To Honor Retiring Provost Don Schmeltekopf

March 18, 2003

by Alan Hunt

Dr. Donald D. Schmeltekopf, Baylor University's retiring provost and vice president for academic affairs, will be honored during a colloquy program April 10-11 that will examine Baylor's future role as a Christian university. Members of the Baylor faculty, staff and the public are invited to attend the two-day event at the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center.

Sponsored by Baylor School of Law and the Council of Deans, "The Baptist and Christian Character of Baylor: A Colloquy in Honor of Donald D. Schmeltekopf, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, 1991-2003" will invite faculty discussion regarding the "direction, character, content and spirit of the Baptist and Christian character of Baylor over the coming years that will shape and define the university," said Brad Toben, law school dean, who serves as The Gov. Bill and Vara Faye Daniel Professor of Law.

Toben said the presentations will offer differing perspectives on the various dimensions of Baylor's faith mission and its integration into the teaching, scholarship and service endeavors of the university community. A reception and dinner will be held April 10 with a keynote address by Dr. David Solomon, The H. B. and W. P. White Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame and former Baylor visiting distinguished professor.

The colloquy program will be held in the James Kronzer Appellate Classroom and Courtroom, with the first session scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon on April 10. Discussion will focus on the topic, "A University in the Largest Sense of the Word," with a position paper presented by Dr. C. Stephen Evans, university professor of philosophy and humanities. Moderator will be Dr. Wallace L. Daniel Jr., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and The Ralph L. and Bessie May Lynn Professor of History.

In this session, and all other program sessions, selected faculty members will be invited to present short papers in response to the position paper, followed by open discussion lasting approximately 35-45 minutes.

The second session will be held from 2 to 4 p.m., featuring the topic, "Baylor University as a Baptist and Christian University: Faculty Hiring, Tenure and Promotion." Moderator will be Dr. Pauline T. Johnson, professor of nursing and director of the graduate program at the Louise Herrington School of Nursing. Position papers will be presented by Dr. Mikeal C. Parsons, professor of religion, and Dr. Robert M. Baird, professor and chair of the philosophy department and Master Teacher.

The April 10 reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Bill Daniel Student Center, followed by dinner at 7 p.m. in the Barfield Drawing Room. In his keynote address, Solomon will provide "a provocative and thoughtful synthesis of the first day's deliberations of the colloquy and a launching point for the second day's deliberations," Toben said. For more information about the dinner program, contact Kimberly Runnels at 710-1911 or

The final colloquy session, from 10 a.m. to noon April 11, will address the question, "What Does It Mean to Support Baylor's Mission?" Toben said discussion will focus on how faculty members interpret the concept of supporting the university's mission.

Position papers will be presented by Dr. Owen T. Lind, professor of biology, and Dr. Ralph C. Wood, university professor of theology and literature. Moderator will be Dr. J. Mark Bateman, associate professor of educational administration and executive associate dean.

Toben said he hopes the colloquy will provide a fitting tribute to Schmeltekopf's "inspiring leadership" over the past 12 years.

"In his role as provost, Don Schmeltekopf has provided constant, encouraging support to the Baylor faculty, and he has contributed enormously to the university's mission and standing as a major Christian university," Toben said.

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