Busy First Day for New Baylor President Ken Starr

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Baylor President Ken Starr greets Dr. Lee Nordt, professor of geology and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, during a lunch meeting with the Council of Deans at the McMullen-Connally Faculty Center.
June 1, 2010

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New Baylor University President Ken Starr wasted no time getting to work on June 1 - his first official day as Baylor's 14th president. Judge Starr started his day with a run on Baylor's popular Bear Trail, followed by a host of meetings around campus with faculty, student and community leaders.

RELATED VIDEO: President Starr talks about his first day on campus and the challenges and opportunities at Baylor.

RELATED STORY: Click here for a Baylor Proud photo gallery covering President Starr's first official day at Baylor.

Baylor's president focused first on students and student life issues during a meeting at the McLane Student Life Center with Dr. Kevin Jackson, vice president for student life, before heading to the Simpson Athletics and Academic Center to meet with head football coach Art Briles. Judge Starr then joined the Council of Deans, who lead Baylor's 11 academic units, for lunch at the McMullen-Connally Faculty Center, followed by an early afternoon meeting with Dr. Elizabeth Davis, interim provost.

Later in the afternoon, despite temperatures hovering near the 100 degree mark, Judge Starr and his wife Alice greeted hundreds of well-wishers - while enjoying a traditional Dr Pepper float - at an event on the steps of Pat Neff Hall.

"We have had such a wonderful, warm, hospitable reception as reflected in the Dr Pepper Hour. It was a little warm out there, even in the shade, but it was really a terrific time of fellowship with students, faculty and staff and a number of people who previously served the Baylor Family and who are citizens of this great community called Waco," Judge Starr said. "What a great partnership, and I look forward to deepening that partnership and giving as much energy as I can to [help] build this beautiful university called Baylor University but also to be a good citizen and an active part of the community."

After a brief gathering with local media, Judge Starr returned to his office for yet another meeting, this time with Baylor Student Body President Michael Wright and former Waco Mayor Virginia DuPuy, BA '56, MA '62, who now serves as executive director of the Greater Waco Education Alliance. The alliance, which includes local leaders in education, business and the community, along with parents and students, focuses on ensuring all students' educational achievement, which will maximize quality of life and enhance the area's economic future.

Judge Starr was the unanimous choice of both the 14-member Presidential Search Committee and the 10-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee, and was elected unanimously by the Baylor Board of Regents on Feb. 12. He was introduced as Baylor's president-elect on Feb. 15.

A fifth-generation Texan, Judge Starr has had a distinguished career in academia, the law and public service. After graduating from San Antonio's Sam Houston High School, Judge Starr earned his B.A. from George Washington University; his M.A. from Brown University; and his J.D. from Duke University Law School. He is admitted to practice law in California, the District of Columbia, Virginia and the U.S. Supreme Court.

For the past six years, Judge Starr has served as The Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and Professor of Law at Pepperdine University, where he taught current constitutional issues and civil procedure. He taught Constitutional Law for more 12 years as an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law, and he was a distinguished visiting professor at George Mason University School of Law and Chapman Law School.

As Solicitor General of the United States from 1989 -93, Starr argued 25 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also served as U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1981-83, as law clerk to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger from 1975-77 and as law clerk to Fifth Circuit Judge David W. Dyer from 1973-74. In addition, Starr was appointed to serve as Independent Counsel for five investigations from 1994-99.

He is the author of more than 25 publications, including his 2002 book, First Among Equals: The Supreme Court in American Life.

He has received a multitude of honors and awards, including the J. Reuben Clark Law Society 2005 Distinguished Service Award, the 2004 Capital Book Award, the Jefferson Cup award from the FBI, the Edmund Randolph Award for Outstanding Service in the Department of Justice and the Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service.

Judge Starr succeeded Dr. David E. Garland, who served as interim president from August 2008 until May 2010 and continues to serve as dean of Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275

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