William G. Hoy, DMin, FT

Clinical Professor
Courses Taught
High Res Photo

Dr. Bill Hoy has taught at Baylor University since the spring of 2012. He is widely regarded as an authority on the sociocultural history of funeral rites, the topic of his most recent book: Do Funerals Matter: The Purposes and Practices of Death Rituals in Global Perspective (Routledge, 2013). He brings nearly 20 years of clinical experience in palliative care to the Medical Humanities faculty, having directed pastoral care and bereavement programs at two southern California hospices. From 1985 to 1995, Dr. Hoy served as a pastor in the Los Angeles area.

His undergraduate education in the social sciences (sociology, anthropology and geography) as well as his graduate training in practical theology and counseling, adds a unique texture to our program. Besides teaching at Baylor, he is a popular lecturer for groups of caregiving professionals around the United States and Canada, delivering about 40 keynote presentations and workshops every year. His books include Guiding People through Grief (Compass, 2007) and Road to Emmaus (2008). He has also authored more than 100 book chapters, educational pamphlets and journal articles over the last 25 years, including a chapter on African-American celebrity funerals for a forthcoming book to be published by University of Quebec Press.

Dr. Hoy and his wife, Debbie (Baylor, 1977) make their home in the rural community of Crawford, about 25 miles west of Baylor. They have two young adult children, and they are active in the First Baptist Church of Woodway.


BSB D108
(254) 710-2065
Email: Bill_Hoy@baylor.edu


  • Doctor of Ministry (pastoral counseling), Fuller Theological Seminary. [When Sadness Comes to Church: Clergy Continuing Education in Bereavement and End of Life Care] (2005)
  • Clinical Supervision in grief counseling and therapy under supervision of Dr. J. William Worden, Newport Beach, CA
  • Masters of Divinity (Practical Theology), Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary
  • BS (Social Sciences), Louisiana State University; special research in the social and cultural ramifications of death in American society (1984)

Professional Experience

  • Clinical Faculty appointment, Medical Humanities, Baylor University, Waco, TX (2012-Present). Teaching courses related to the practice of medicine and Christian spirituality, end-of-life care and bereavement. Faculty responsibilities includes oversight of the Medical Humanities Program's curriculum development efforts.
  • Clinical Lecturer in private practice (1991-Present)
  • Adjunct Lecturer, Graduate Program (Department of Thanatology, School of Nursing) Marian University, Fond du Lac, WI (2009-2012). Teaching assignment includes courses in spirituality and bereavement, community education methodology and the practice of grief counseling.
  • Director of Counseling Services, Pathways Volunteer Hospice, Long Beach, CA. (1996 - 2012). Provided overall direction to this multi-faceted bereavement program with its strong emphasis on school-based bereavement and trauma programs. Provided individual counseling and group support services in the areas of bereavement and spiritual care. Responsibilities included the development of training programs and clinical consultation with staff and volunteers.
  • Adjunct Instructor, Health Science Division, Cypress College, Cypress, CA (1994- 2005). Permanent teaching assignment included death studies courses to prepare students in nursing, mortuary science, and social service to assist clients and patients in facing death; developed and taught the college's first bioethics course beginning in 1998.
  • Minister (1985-1995). Served two congregations in southern California-First Southern Baptist Church of Long Beach and Pacific Breeze Community Church of Seal Beach, providing overall pastoral leadership and specific guidance in pastoral care and counseling. Developed community- wide grief programs in both congregations.

Professional Affiliations

  • Association for Death Education & Counseling Board Certification in Thanatology (FT); Initial certification (CT) earned 2002; Fellow in Thanatology status earned 2006.
  • Board member, Association for Death Education & Counseling
  • National co-chair, ADEC 2013 annual conference, Los Angeles, California
  • American Academy of Religion
  • Credentialed Continuing Education Provider: Texas Education Agency (school counselors and school-based mental health professionals), California Board of Behavioral Sciences, Texas Board of Social Work Examiners, California Department of Social Services (RCFE), California Board of Registered Nursing, Texas Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors, Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists