Baylor University Announces $100 Million Scholarship Fundraising Initiative

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Baylor President Ken Starr announced a three-year, $100 million scholarship initiative Sept. 15.
Sept. 15, 2010

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Before an enthusiastic crowd of students, faculty and staff, and friends of the university, Baylor University President Ken Starr today announced a $100 million scholarship fundraising initiative, officially titled How Extraordinary the Stories: The President's Scholarship Initiative, the first fundraising priority announced by the president. President Starr, only the 14th president in Baylor's 165-year history, will be installed during an inauguration ceremony on Friday, Sept. 17.

"Ours is a hurting world. And in that world, Baylor provides its students with a distinct and immeasurably invaluable educational experience in academic quality, but also in its unapologetic Christian commitment," President Starr said. "And that's why I made it clear since my earliest days here, beginning June 1, that students will be my highest priority. An investment in scholarships here at Baylor is not only an investment in the individual students, but also an investment in the health and well-being of our entire society."

Baylor's fundraising initiative focuses on building a robust scholarship program that will help recruit to Baylor some of the best and brightest young minds, provide access to those with need, attract the most talented student-athletes and extend opportunities for students who can benefit from academic enrichment opportunities beyond the borders of Baylor's campus in Waco.

It calls upon the Baylor Nation to respond by giving--as each is able--to support Baylor students. While more than 80 percent of Baylor students receive some form of financial assistance and Baylor is ranked a "best buy" by numerous college guides, the cost of higher education continues to rise across the nation and students and their families struggle to afford a quality education.

"For us, we were able to work our way through school," said Richard Willis, BBA '81, MBA '82), a current Baylor Regent and co-chair of the President's Scholarship Initiative Steering Committee. "You can't do that today. You can't do that at a university that's of our stature."

Willis and his wife, Karen (BBA '85), are co-chairs of the President's Scholarship Initiative Steering Committee and have generously supported student scholarships for more than two decades.

To the students, Willis added: "We want you to have the best education, so you can compete with anybody who's out there, and we want you to be able to do that with your firm foundation of faith. We love Baylor University and the purpose that we have here. It's a great place where I found my faith and where other people can find their faith and build on that foundation, so that we can go out in the work-world with integrity."

To assist Baylor's students, President Starr has established an immediate goal to reduce the negative impact that family finances can have on student access to a distinctive Baylor education.

"Students are excited about many aspects of the Baylor experience. However, the affordability of their education is becoming a greater burden," Baylor's Student Body President Michael Wright explained. "I was happy to learn that 1) Judge Starr shares similar concerns regarding the affordability of our quality Baylor education, and 2) as Judge Starr states, 'It--being the university--is all about the students.' It is my hope that this initiative will be a stepping stone for greater things to come."

The Baylor Board of Regents authorized the President's Scholarship Initiative, a $100 million, three-year initiative, as a first step to addressing the need within Baylor's student body.

Though support for all endowed scholarships at Baylor is important, four priorities have been identified as key areas of the scholarship initiative:

University Endowed Scholarships (Primarily Need-based): Providing broad, need-based endowed scholarships allows Baylor to recruit and retain exceptional students who otherwise would not have access to a Baylor education.

Leadership Endowed Scholarships: Baylor plans to introduce a prestigious program that will help in recruiting and recognizing exceptional students across all fields of study. Candidates will participate in a rigorous application and interview process before being selected to receive the Leadership Scholarship, which will offer opportunities such as full tuition, room and board; enrichment such as a study abroad stipend; and engagement with the president, campus executives and their scholarship donors at various University events.

Athletics Endowed Scholarships: Providing student-athlete scholarships and recruiting top student-athletes is imperative to Baylor's position as a Division I school.

"Out-of-the-Classroom" Enrichment Endowed Scholarships: Educating students to understand global issues is as important as ever, and international study experiences are critical to a holistic education. In addition to study abroad programs, Baylor is the home of distinctive discipline-specific missions opportunities that allow students to serve other populations while incorporating skills relative to coursework and their area of study. Scholarships will support students choosing to participate in study abroad or discipline-specific mission trips.

Overall alumni support and giving will be critical in reaching this goal--and future goals of the University--and is a key priority of the fundraising initiative. Alumni giving is important to Baylor's future as a university and also important as the University is compared to peer institutions.

"To the entire Baylor Nation, I want to ask you, humbly and fervently, to come alongside this effort. This is a call to action, and we really need your help. The cost of higher education has not passed Baylor University by," President Starr said. "We ask you to come alongside us. The President's Scholarship Initiative really cannot go forward unless our 144,000 alumni and our friends and parents--around the country and around the world--support these wonderful 14,000 students now here and the many thousands to come. We ask you to come alongside them and help them."

To reach in the scholarship initative website, go to

Scholarship Initiative Steering Committee

The President's Scholarship Initiative will be led by a core group of alumni, parents and friends.

Richard (BBA '81, MBA '82) and Karen (BBA '85) Willis, Colleyville, TX Co-Chairs

Joe (BBA '83, MBA '84) and Kelly (BBA '84) Armes, Dallas, TX

Babs Baugh ('64), San Antonio, TX

Bob and Laura Beauchamp, Houston, TX

John (BBA '81) and Meredith (BBA '82) Bentley, Scottsdale, AZ

Sadie Jo Black (BS '50), Waco, TX

Marsha (BA '70) and Danny (BBA '69) Bowlin, Dallas, TX

Ed (BBA '73) and Denise Crenshaw, Lakeland, FL

Kate Dimmitt (BBA '56), Temple, TX

Ted (BBA '49, JD '51) and Sue (BA '50) Getterman, Waco, TX

David (BBA '78, JD '81) and Karyn ('80) Hill, Henderson, TX

Anita Jones (BA '61), Dallas, TX

Hope (MBA '97) and Kevin Koch, Temple, TX

Fred and Nancy (BA '62) Logan, Waco, TX

Drayton McLane Jr. (BBA '58), Temple, TX

Bill (BBA '78, MBA '79) and Tanya Mearse, Houston, TX

Mark (BA '63) and Linda (BA '63) Murdock, Lubbock, TX

Robert (BBA '93) and Robin (BBA '93) Nitsche, Giddings, TX

Bob and Joyce (BA '52, MSEd '57) Packard, Waco, TX

Jamie (BBA '57) and Carol Parker, Marble Falls, TX

Brian Pennington (BS '84), Greenwich, CT

Russ and Betty Pilcher, Highlands Ranch, CO

Jeff (BBA '84) and Cindy (BBA '85) Reeter, Houston, TX

Harold (BBA '51) and Dottie Riley, Austin, TX

Bill (BA '52, LLB '54) and Mary Jo Robbins, Houston, TX

Clifton (BBA '63) and Betsy (BA '71) Robinson, Waco, TX

Randy (BBA '76) and Stacy (BBA '76) Sharp, Amarillo, TX

Joe (BBA '48) and Joan Spivey, Waco, TX

Phil (BA '73, JD '76) and Cheryl Stewart, La Jolla, CA

Kirk and Carol Townsend, Houston, TX

Bill (BA '75, MBA '77) and Eva (BSEd '75) Williams, Dallas, TX

Ron (BA '71, MD '77) and Betty (BA '72) Wilson, Waco, TX

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

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