This article was published in the Fall 2008 issue of The Baylor Line.
The Baylor Alumni Association recently asked alumni and friends a short but important question: “What can be done to unite Baylor?”
In response came a wealth of widely varying suggestions.
During the recent transition in Baylor University’s administration, Dr. Howard Batson, chair of Baylor’s Board of Regents, commented that more emphasis needed to be placed on unifying the Baylor family and understanding the concerns of Baylor’s various constituencies, ranging from faculty, staff, and students to alumni and Texas Baptists.
“With a broad-based constituency of more than nineteen thousand members, the Baylor Alumni Association is well positioned to encourage participation in these efforts as well as to provide valuable feedback as an alumni community,” said Jeff Kilgore, executive vice president and CEO of the Baylor Alumni Association (BAA).
Accordingly, through its online communications, the BAA invited Baylor alumni and friends to respond to the question, “What can be done to unite Baylor?”
The resulting wave of responses confirmed that a great variety and strength of opinion exists within the Baylor family. The following pages—containing a Large cross-section of responses, which have been edited for Length and clarity—offer a plethora of suggestions for how to create unity. Which ones would work? You be the judge.
The absolute key to the Baylor experience is in the classroom. Down the years, the special attention given by the faculty to the student’s learning experience and the faculty’s caring attitude toward students has set us apart.
The governing bodies—the Board of Regents, the administration, the Faculty Senate, and perhaps even the Student Congress—must find common ground. I hope the acrimony about governance has not found its way into the classroom, even though faculty members have been vocal in their criticism.
The faculty must feel included in the process of university governance if their caring attitude is to become eternal.
DAN CHAPMAN ’66, MBA ’73, Dallas, Texas
Some suggestions: 1. Baylor was founded to educate Baptist students; therefore, they should be given first priority to enter the university In the fall of 2007, only 38 percent of students were Baptist.
2. Baylor was founded as a thoroughly Christian institution and must always remember that foundation.
3. Baylor was founded to provide the very best education to its students; therefore, the professors should give of their very best to students. Research should be secondary.
4. Baylor was founded so that any student who wanted to attend and receive a Christian education could; therefore, the cost of a Baylor education should be affordable.
5. Baylor was founded to prepare students for Christian service in all professions, with a strong emphasis on Christian ministry.
6. The meetings of the Board of Regents must become more open to suggestions by the entire Baylor family. The regents should open up their meetings and give more substantive information about their deliberations.
JOSEPH H. MACHAT ’56, Brenham, Texas
Everyone must come to the table with mutual respect for differing opinions and perspectives. “My Baylor” does not exist, nor will it. It is “Our Baylor.” From far right to far left, there is enough room for all under the tent.
Personal attacks and negative outbursts hurt the university and serve no purpose other than to harden the party line. Baylor today is stronger and more resilient than it ever was before.
JOHN S. WILSON, Director of Library Advancement and Special Projects, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
We need a winning football program. It would help to sell kids on Baylor if they were successful. Faculty morale would be high as they sat in the stands to cheer on the Bears. National recognition would attract professors to work at Baylor. All alumni should get behind the football program. Build a stadium within walking distance to campus. Remember, “If you build it, they will come.”
PRISCILLA SHYTLES SHELLENBERGER ’83, Dallas, Texas
The regents could take three important steps to better unite the Baylor community. First, meet with faculty, students, alumni, Baptist officials, community leaders, and Texas policy-makers to listen to their dreams for Baylor and to share the regents’ views. Second, through an open and transparent process, develop a shared long-term vision for Baylor. And third, with valued input from the broad university community, name a new university president to begin fulfilling that vision.
JOHN HOWARD ’85, Austin, Texas
I think the first step to uniting a group of people is to know who is out there to unite with. This may sound trivial to some, but I have often wondered why there is no Baylor merchandise in stores across Texas.
I live in a suburb of Dallas. I have the Longhorn, Red Raider, and A&M letters shoved down my throat every time I step into a Target, Wal-Mart, or Dillard’s. Where is my beloved BU?
I’m never able to go into a store and find a cute T-shirt, hat, throw pillow, chip and dip tray, or whatever other little knick-knack in green and gold with Baylor painted across it.
When I proudly display the word Baylor—or just the letters BU—I find other Bears coming out of the woodwork to say some-thing nice about our school. Let’s have that happen more often. Let’s get some Baylor branding out there.
JENNIFER RAPP HONEA ’92, Carrollton, Texas
I may not be a Baptist, but I chose to go to Baylor. I still am not a Baptist, but I can genuinely say that I came out of Baylor with an added sense of spirituality. I say this because what unites us first and foremost is the mission of our school and our sense of belonging to this great institution with all of its pluses and minuses. The mission is clear to me—to provide a second-to-none education in a healthy environment without ever losing track of the important things that shape our lives.
I do not think anyone in our community would disagree about our mission. It does not matter if we are the conservative Baptist kind, the liberal thinker, or the rebel of the community. To unite, we must understand each other, and in order to do so we must communicate.
Let this be an open forum to all who wish our school well. Let us attract and nurture the best faculty. Let us attract and nurture the best students and leaders of tomorrow. Let us not fall prey to a one-sided agenda, but let us practice what we preach, make room for all at the table, and embrace the diversity that makes our school stronger.
J.P. DACCACHE ’87, Riverside, Connecticut
The basic issue that the Baylor family has struggled with over the last ten years is the issue of trust, or lack thereof, between Baylor’s major constituency groups—the administration, the regents, the alumni, and the faculty and staff. Thank goodness the students have better things to do! I would like to make the following suggestions to reestablish the trust that is so badly needed in the Baylor family.
1. Baylor’s business needs to be conducted in an open environment. With the exception of personnel and legal matters, all discussions of Baylor’s Board of Regents should be open to the Baylor family. Secrecy simply breeds mistrust. There is very little about the governance of Baylor that needs to be conducted behind closed doors.
2. A self-perpetuating board has not served Baylor well, and the current methodology of regent selection needs to be changed. The regent body needs to be representative of the best Baylor has to offer from its major constituency groups. I’d suggest that the Board of Regents, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and the Baylor Alumni Association each select one third of the Baylor Board of Regents.
3. Baylor 2012 has done a lot of good for Baylor, but it’s time for a revised vision. The goal of being a top research university and in the top fifty universities in America sounded alluring ten years ago, but the reality is that Baylor 2012’s emphasis on research is fundamentally changing the personality of Baylor. Baylor has been recognized for generations as one of the outstanding undergraduate institutions of this country, with excellence in every area of the class-room experience. This was due to the outstanding Baylor faculty that were committed to teaching undergraduate courses, including the freshman and sophomore levels. Teaching assistants and adjunct professors now teach a much larger percentage of undergraduate courses under Baylor 2012 due to the research demands placed on tenure-track professors. Let state schools lead the way in research, and let Baylor continue to lead the way in the education of young men and women in a Christian environment where the development of the entire person—body, mind, and soul—is the goal, with the knowledge that these graduates will make a difference for the better in their chosen professions and spheres of influence.
DAVID MALONE ’73, Austin, Texas
I recently talked with one of former president Robert Sloan’s “Distinguished Professors,” who may have revealed some of the strategy on the other side of the long struggle “for the soul of Baylor.” This person said he is somewhat disillusioned with Sloan because Sloan didn’t fulfill his promise to him. He thinks some of Baylor 2012 should be revised, particularly the time schedule. He said, We should declare victory” and start over with a vision by another name. The substance should be the same, however.
His main point was that Baylor 2012’s objectives—faith and learning and all—are already now “the soul of Baylor.” Sloan merely tried to move too fast and didn’t bring the “old faculty” along with his plan. My world-class friend said something like, “The old faculty need time to be grafted on to the 2012 vision:’ A slower pace, he said, would have prevented our current problems.
I tried to point out to him that Baylor 2012 is the problem. The root stock is the “old faculty.” What is worthy in Baylor 2012 should be “grafted on the root stock”—not the other way around. From this conversation and from other sources as well, I get the impression that Sloan’s appointees consider themselves “the real Baylor.” The rest of us merely need to fall in line.
I am certainly willing to accept what was and remains good about Baylor 2012. But I don’t want us to compromise to the point of letting the world think that Baylor 2012—by whatever name—is our vision for Baylor’s future. The strategy of the pro-Baylor 2012 crowd, who control the Board of Regents, may be to present a conciliatory face—maybe the appointment of a moderate interim president—while never abandoning the “rotten core” of Baylor 2012. The old adage, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts,” may apply in this instance.
DR. RUFUS B. SPAIN, Emeritus Professor of History and Director of the Retired Professors and Administrators Program, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
It’s nice that the Baylor Alumni Association is so active, but I am not convinced that any organization with nineteen thousand members can itself be “unified,” let alone help unify an entire campus. That notwithstanding, one way the BAA can help with unity is to not be the source of lack of unity. In other words, perhaps the Baylor Line can avoid publishing negative stories about the Baylor administration and administrative decisions, and per-haps the BAA can let the administrators run the university.
It is really not the place for past, present, or future students to be heavily involved in the day-to-day affairs of the university. An attempt to exert too much power and influence itself becomes a force for disunity
DR. DOROTHY LEIDNER, Randall W and Sandra Ferguson Professor of Information Systems, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Upon arriving at Baylor in 1975; I was impressed with the environment that I entered. There were two characteristics that distinguished Baylor from any other organization that I had been affiliated with.
The first was a genuine mutual respect and care for each other among those who were involved in the day-to-day activities of Baylor. There did not seem to be the need for a cold, corporate attitude, which created friction and distrust among the trustees (now regents), administration, faculty, staff, and alumni. The second was a commitment by the administration to faculty, and by the faculty to students, which allowed students to seek and attain their full capability in a nurturing and peaceful environment.
Somewhere along the way, the “bigger is better” attitude came into being, which resulted in more emphasis being placed on credentials, accreditations, rankings, endowment funds, and other “worldly things” than the product being provided to our students and ultimately to our society. Unfortunately, Baylor has become entangled in the modem society’s philosophy that you can only get ahead by being the richest and the biggest. We are lost in the argument that “education makes the person” rather than “the person making education.”
Since 1975, there have been two Texas governors who were Baylor graduates, along with numerous other alumni who have served on the national, state, and local levels. Additionally, there have been and remain numerous teachers, preachers, doctors, business people, and others who have contributed to our society. Amazingly, these alumni were not the products of a Baylor that was in the top tier of America’s colleges and universities or among those with huge endowments funds. They were the products of a university where the emphasis was on teaching and the faculty-student relationship and where trustees, administration, faculty, staff, and alumni possessed a commitment to and passion for the betterment of student and institution.
I believe unification would come from two things—first, a return to an environment where there is mutual respect and concern for each other; and second, a passionate commitment to make the student and institution the very best they can be with-out compromising the principles upon which Baylor was created.
CLAUDE ERVIN, Former Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Expecting any organization the size of Baylor to show unity is unrealistic; expecting a university to do so is positively quixotic. That’s why we call them “universities?’ Donors expect to see a return on their investment, but they measure that in many different ways. Some just want to see their names on buildings. Others wish to foster research in a particular field. Fundamentalist donors expect the school to provide a Christian education, whatever that is; some of the students—but nowhere near all—expect to receive one. All of the students expect to be prepared for material success in later life. Professors expect a stable work environment, or at least as stable as the academic world can ever be.
There are only two possible outcomes for Baylor: wither to the intellectual stature of a Bible college, or perpetually maintain a dynamic equilibrium among the disparate interests. I would prefer to see the school take the second option, but I know it’s a hard one. Machiavelli’s Discourses should be required reading for all involved.
KARL SUTTERFIELD ’71, New Zealand
I recommend that the university’s upper-level administration and Board of Regents open their eyes to the value of the Baylor Alumni Association with its more than nineteen thousand members. Among our group are some of the best friends this university will ever have. If the regents want to rebuild the Baylor family, I suggest they begin by rebuilding their relationships with the Baylor Alumni Association.
We have been amazed that our regents seem more attuned to politics than to Baylor’s alumni and students, and we have cringed over the bad news about Baylor that always seems to come out in the media. But through it all, we have stood by our beloved university.
ANN GARNER SULLIVAN ’61, Spring, Texas
We need “something” to come together about. Maybe that is the short answer. The “something” could be athletics. Almost always, when I meet some new Baylor person, some reference is made to one of our athletic teams. Most people at least appreciate the thrill of athletic competition and the warm glow that can come from a successful team or individual. We certainly have had some success in several areas, and the university needs to redouble its efforts to improve both our coaches and teams in the “high profile” areas.
BILL LODEN ’79, College Station, Texas
Having taught at Baylor for thirty-eight years, I have a perspective that is part alumna and part faculty. What Baylor ought to do now is to move away from the traditional top-down governance model that we’ve used for many years. When more groups are involved in making decisions, everyone will feel valued and good ideas will come from some unexpected sources, such as people who haven’t had an opportunity to be heard. The administration and the regents need to listen and respond to ideas that come in from various sources besides administrators—students, alumni, faculty, and local citizens.
MARY MASSIRER ’60, MA ’62, Emeritus Professor of English, Baylor University, Crawford, Texas
The current regents are mostly those who were aligned with former president Robert Sloan in days past. Neither that group nor those who, like me, strongly opposed Sloan are likely to be trusted by all facets of the Baylor family.
There are many good Texas Baptists who would guide Baylor on a proper course that do not fit in either group. If good, long-time supporters of Baylor who could get past the conflicts of the past were again in charge, I think Baylor could have some of its best days in the immediate future.
JOHN WILKERSON ’57, Former Chair of Baylor Board of Regents, Lubbock, Texas
The Baylor faculty and the Baylor Alumni Association should stop complaining so much. Get on board with the great things happening at Baylor and finally recognize Baylor 2012 as a success. I’ve been an alumni association member for twenty-plus years, and I can’t believe how much negativity comes out of you guys.
G. CLARK DAMON SR. ’87, Amarillo, Texas
Open up the selection of members of the Board of Regents, and open board meetings by making the actions of the board more visible to the public. In addition, reduce issues of conflicts of interest within the board.
More openness in board affairs will restore confidence and over-all support for the university.
JOHN KOTHMANN ’65, Junction, Texas
To ensure lifetime communication with alums, give every graduate a permanent Baylor e-mail account. The university and alumni would benefit from the permanent contacts to help with fundraising and promoting Baylor-related activities.
ELLEN STOESSER BYRD ’64, Richardson, Texas
Unity at Baylor or any other richly diverse university of worth is not even a reasonable goal. “Unity in diversity” could be, if consensus could be found on what the two terms “unity” and “diversity” mean in a functional sense.
Baylor ceased to be a “unified school” years ago when it transitioned to a “university”—and I do not mean in name primarily. In much the same way that our nation derives vitality from the constant jockeying for influence and momentum among the competing ideologies and perspectives, Baylor needs to develop viable vehicles through which an ongoing dialogue is encouraged and even rewarded.
There is strength in open communication of ideas. There may have been a time in its history when Baylor was best led by a no-nonsense, top-down presidency, but I believe that those days are over. This is a new day demanding a new leadership style that regards diversity as a strength.
DR. ROBERT A. REID ’67, MM ’70, Carthage, Texas
I believe Baylor has had two progressive presidents who wanted to move Baylor to an Ivy League status. This change does not come easy. However, many times you must lead through adverse times, and great leaders do this exact thing.
We must find a leader who unites the regents and faculty regarding the future. The regents must understand they will get complaints from the tenured staff about change because these people don’t want change in their life.
The regents must back the president and push Baylor to become the distinguished university it has the potential to be and not let old staff hold the school back from reaching new levels.
I believe one of the largest problems is a regent board that will not support the significant change it will take to move Baylor to the next level. Once Baylor is at that level and change is complete, then a uniting will come by itself.
TRENT VOIGT ’86, Van Alstyne, Texas
Leadership ultimately comes from the top; therefore, if Baylor is to be considered a leading academic entity on a global—not just regional or ecumenical—scale, it is time to take a close look at the Board of Regents.
To unite the Baylor family the Board of Regents must ask themselves, individually and collectively, and then answer the following questions:
Have we been successful in recent years in one of our main responsibilities: to select and elect a successful president?
Have we been successful in bringing together and unifying the rich, diverse fabric that the various constituencies bring to the university?
In our present structure system, are we account-able–really accountable—to anyone (alumni, students, faculty, donors)? Should we be?
Have we, the Board of Regents, given individually significant monies from our personal resources to Baylor?
Will we be more transparent by opening all our board and committee meetings to our constituencies, except in certain specific personnel and contractual matters?
When compared to the results, organization, and efficiency of other universities, are we a top-tier board? Would other academic entities look to us as a model of success? If not, should we resign?
Why does our membership not include representatives chosen by our constituencies?
Will the Board of Regents cooperate with the board of the Baylor Alumni Association to bring the leadership of other Baylor constituencies together to study, evaluate, and create a better board of governance for Baylor?
TOM PURDY ’60 Former Development Officer, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
We will never unite the Baylor family on every issue, but we can unite those who will agree on this issue—that we love Baylor for its core Christian values and the experience these values allowed us to have as students.
There are many who would like to see those core values changed or would try to define those values in a way that would weaken them. Some would like for Baylor to more closely mirror secular universities and move away from our core values altogether. The Baylor community will never unite under the leadership of those who would do that. The Baylor 2012 initiative defines those core values accurately, and those who generally disagree with that definition, in my opinion, do not hold the mainstream view of the Baylor family.
TOM PULLEY ’83, North Richland Hills, Texas
I think the most urgent need at Baylor is real communication. It L likely must start with the regents, since they have the power of governance. They need to make clear what they expect of the administration and the amount of freedom the administration will have in leading the institution. Both the regents and the administration should keep the alumni association and the faculty informed regarding their goals and process.
Regents and the administration should make allowance for serious input from both the alumni association and the faculty. Assurance should be clearly expressed that the goal of each entity is to ensure the highest good for the university family.
Only God knows if we can each check our egos long enough to accomplish this remarkable task. Indeed, harmony and singleness of purpose can only come as the Lord intervenes. Thus, our greatest strategy is to pray that God will be able to trust us with his remarkable intervention to bring the best to pass for Baylor.
CLYDE GLAZENER, Fort Worth, Texas
Focus on common ground: For the coming year all parties should focus on those aspects of Baylor for which we have a shared vision—a focus which should result in collaborative action on behalf of Baylor.
DR. SALLY KILGORE ’67, MA ’72, Nashville, Tennessee
As a major university, Baylor does not need to be “united” around a particular academic theorem, scientific formula, or mathematical principle. We need not try to unite around a certain numerical goal, whether it relates to student population or percentile ranking in a magazine.
What can and should unite the Baylor community are the things that make Baylor unique. We must unite around our common experiences on campus—our ability to teach and learn in a place centered on Christ. What will unite us is the willingness to set aside our personal goals for what Baylor could be, in favor of first preserving the uniqueness of what Baylor has always been.
I am not suggesting that Baylor should not change for the better, but before that happens we must unite around what we all have cherished about what Baylor is.
LYN ROBBINS ’87, JD ’90, Keller, Texas
One of my favorite cartoons captures the frustration Baylor faces in the coming years. A Swiss mountain climber is hanging precariously to his pick, which is driven into the cliff above as the wind swings his body in space like a clock pendulum. Much to his consternation, his climbing partner has a death-grip on his left foot as they both eye the valley floor hundreds of feet below. The climber on the top turns to the climber below and yells, “If you don’t let go of my foot, I’m going to hit you with my pick!” The fate of each end of the continuum is tied to that of the other.
If Baylor obsesses too much on becoming a major research university at a pace beyond the good of its own health and loses its historic role as a teaching university, it has abandoned the strength of its legacy. If Baylor doesn’t continue to stretch itself toward national and international respect as a contributor to the body of exploding knowledge essential in the twenty-first century, it will have missed the window of opportunity for greatness.
The answer lies in finding leaders who can appreciate this strategic role of mutual respect of all perspectives and leadership toward a future in which everyone has a stake.
DR. DAN MCGEE, Emeritus Professor of Religion, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
There are at least three things that could be done to unify Baylor:
• Close down the university department known as the Baylor Network, formerly called Alumni Services. There is just one large group of alumni; we need just one alumni organization. We could combine our hearts, minds, efforts, and resources behind one dynamic organization.
• Cease publication of Baylor Magazine. We already have an outstanding publication called the Baylor Line that has been around for decades that does a better job of connecting the university and the alumni. Again, a merging of resources makes more sense and promotes more harmony.
• Ask the Board of Regents to open up meetings to their constituents. Granted, there are times when executive session is necessary—mainly for personnel reasons. For the rest of the business concerning our great university, an attitude of openness would go a long way in unifying folks. If these things can be accomplished, then I think we would see development funds pick up, and Baylor would move forward.
TOMMY BRASHIER ’71, Waco, Texas
Baylor’s “powers that be” need to take their time and make sure of their choice for president this next time. The media cover-age we get needs to be a positive and not a negative one by making a choice that causes dissension.
JODY AUTREY DUNN ’59, Port Arthur, Texas
Baylor University does have a number of constituencies whose issues should be addressed and whose input should be desirable. In this regard, Baylor is no different from other universities.
It seems to me that the wrecking ball for Baylor, however, is that without effective leadership these constituencies become entrenched and inflexible.
They are like the special-interest groups in our communities and our political parties shouting the other down to determine who will end up on top.
Effective leadership—and I do not mean in just one person, but at several levels—is the only reasonable solution that I have observed to address this problem. These constituencies must be persuaded, in the best interests of the university, to reach compromise and cooperation. By this I do not mean some selfless conciliation but instead the toughest form of compromise worked out with mutual respect on all sides and a recognition of how the real and perceived power of these constituencies is allocated.
DIANNE FERRELL NEAL ’69, Nashville, Tennessee
My solution is that we make a fundamental change concerning who is eligible for the position of president. Let us change the requirement that a candidate for Baylor’s presidency must be a Baptist. That person must be a very committed and active Chris-tian, but he or she does not have to be a Baptist. That person must, also, have had experience as a CEO of a large corporation, whether it’s a university or a business. Wake Forest, a Baptist university, does not require the Baptist label for its president, and they have an excellent reputation in the academic world.
ART COLTHARP ’61, Austin, Texas
Since leaving Baylor, I have had the privilege of attending other schools—Yale, Wesleyan, and Boston University, from which I earned my doctorate. No single school has had the spirit of Baylor—a kind of free, open sense of joy and belonging. During the time my wife and I attended Baylor, I do not recall religion as being the center of conflict or, for that matter, something we wore on our sleeve. I do recall some outstanding professors whose main goal in life was teaching. Henry Trantham, for example, was a unique gift in my life. President W. R. White often chaired “Chapel,” but it was never, so far as I recall, without some intellectual premise. The music department was chaired by a Jewish man. The theater department reached well beyond Baylor. The church-going habits of the teachers were not their central qualifications.
Certainly Baylor, at that time, did not have the “publish or perish” principle. We all accepted the fact that Baylor was a school based on the Christian mission and that it was founded and controlled by Baptists. Even our version of being Baptist was open, accepting, and mindful of the manifold differences between us all.
Thus it has been disappointing to see the conflict and rancor grow among believers, Baptists, intellectuals, and various power groups.
I suggest that Baylor define its mission clearly. In my mind, the mission is that of a world-class university. Baylor is not in that league, but it is something that can be in process. Using as its base the freedom that should come from the exercise of an open and lively faith, excellence in research, teaching, and intellectual perspicacity should be above all else. Faculty should have no credo to sign. The only criteria should be: Can this professor communicate and transmit the area of expertise required? Does this professor contribute by writing, research, and inclination to the body of knowledge in the field? Does this professor have that “something extra” which makes him or her a standout?
Religious persuasion, race, or any other variable should not be the main point of consideration, period! In this way the doors will open, Baylor can champion its values within the framework of out-standing teaching and learning, and unity will grow.
DR. LARRY LARSEN ’58, MA ’59, Andover, Maryland
Every diverse group needs a uniting covenant that establishes expectations and boundaries within which healthy co-existence can take place. Examples of a healthy Baylor covenant might include:
• To treat administration, faculty, staff, students, and alumni with genuinely mutual respect and honor.
• To seek first to understand and then to be understood.
• To be ready to incorporate new or emerging information into programs or processes in order to refine them, even after they have begun.
• To work for progress through joint decision making, rather than unilateralism or defiance as a conditioned response.
• To honestly and selflessly care enough for the Baylor ideals of developing, encouraging, and educating young people to have the tools necessary and the attitudinal energy to change the world for the better.
• To encourage but not coerce faculty, students, alumni, and staff to honestly share the ideals of their faith freely and frequently, so that others may have a positive example of Christian commitment.
DR. DAN WILLIAMS ’75, Shawnee, Oklahoma
At some point, the Baylor Alumni Association and the Faculty Senate need to stop dragging the Baylor name through the mud whenever you guys don’t get what you want and focus on the good.
I’m a conservative Baptist, and there were a lot of liberal teachings that I found uncomfortable while I was at Baylor. But that didn’t make me love Baylor any less. It strengthened my convictions to have my views challenged, and liberal professors also need to make room for conservative professors to give a voice to their views. Stu-dents are bright enough to make up their own minds, and that is what academic freedom is all about. We should all invite that sort of debate and discussion, rather than just present one side of it or to demonize those who disagree with us.
I’m sure there are plenty of conservative Baptists who would like to shut out liberal views at Baylor, but I’d defend the right of liberal professors to make their case.
The job of the BAA in such a situation is to be fair and balanced, presenting both sides of the argument and not just one side—as I feel you have done for far too long.
JORGE ESTRADA ’94, The Woodlands, Texas
While my approach may be regarded as naive, I contend that all concerned parties truly aspire to essentially the same goal for Baylor, which is an excellent educational process bol-stered by a faith-based environment.
Our differences of opinion on how to attain our common goal have been magnified in the past by the occasionally inflammatory public rhetoric which has ensued. It is now time for all factions to cast aside the issues of personality, private agendas, and entrenched views for the greater good of the university. We need to be constantly reminded that the things that unite us are far greater than those which divide us.
To this end, I propose the foundation of an ongoing forum com-posed of two to three members from each of the following groups: faculty, administration, alumni, and regents. This body should be made up of knowledgeable and respected individuals who have not been at the forefront of past internal struggles.
Ideally, this group should meet on a regularly scheduled basis, should establish healthy lines of communication between all interests, and should identify and deal with dissimilar views before these occasional discordant notes become a full-fledged symphony.
JERRY MARCONTELL ’58, MD ’63, Rye, Texas
Inclusiveness has become a dirty word in some circles taboo almost. But being welcoming doesn’t mean giving up the things we cherish most. While we do live in a complicated “in between,” where we’re all flawed and feel incomplete, we have a calling to grow, to change, to carve out joy, and to love life.
Now, how do we live this out as the Baylor community? Further, how do we bridge the gap between the lie of separation and the promise of wholeness? First, we have to allow ourselves to accept the gift of being surprised at what we can learn from others who live differently. We have to invite the person we’ve called the “other'” for so long to walk with us side by side. In short, we need to promote radical inclusiveness and take steps to unite students, alumni, and our other partners.
And our school and its various alumni organizations need to openly recognize their shared purpose, swallow their collective pride, and enter into a covenant together, committing to be good stewards to the Baylor community.
Sure, to use an analogy, maybe it’s as simple as reminding everyone that there is room at the “banqueting” table. But frankly, that alone sounds glib. It’s also going to be as complex as taking the daily, uphill steps to show those who may have been marginalized that the table is in fact big enough. And they may have to go one step further by helping them pull up a chair.
LIZ EDDY ’05, Washington, D.C.
I would suggest that, first of all, an official list of the members of the Board of Regents with their names, titles, mailing and e-mail addresses, and telephone numbers be made readily available to those who request it, so that Baylorites could provide input to each and all members.
The Board of Regents should meet periodically with the Faculty Senate, the board of the Baylor Alumni Association, and Stu-dent Government. There should be open and frank discussions on these occasions so that each entity’s position or interests could be clearly understood and action taken if such seems advisable to the Board of Regents.
All who care about our beloved Baylor University might profit enormously from such scheduled exchanges. And surely the regents and these constituencies would want to understand the other’s thoughts and concerns.
JAMES VARDAMAN ’51, Emeritus Professor of History, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
The Board of Regents and all constituencies need to recognize that the primary purpose of Baylor is to be an educational institution of the first order.
In the spirit of open and shared governance, I suggest the Board of Regents have a member of the Baylor faculty as a full voting member of the board. Further, the faculty member should be chosen by a vote of the faculty and not the regents. The Board of Regents should also have a full voting board member chosen by the BAA.
Make these two changes and much of the acrimony will fade away in short order.
SI RAGSDALE ’75, Childress, Texas
When I was in Baylor we never thought about not being unified. I’m not sure when all this came about, but reversing it would be a good thing. Our professors were God-fearing Christians who believed in the literal meaning of the Bible—all of it. Why is that not still a requirement? I recently saw a movie called Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed that showed one of Baylor’s science professors being ostracized and almost losing his tenure because of his belief in Intelligent Design, which was never even referred to as Creationism. I have since been in contact with him and find that he is still there, but that some of his grants were pulled.
I have grandchildren who want to go to Baylor, and I am not sure that I want them to. We seem to have become quite liberal in our theology, in order to be all things to all people, and Christians cannot accomplish this and remain true to our beliefs.
The cost of going to Baylor has become almost unthinkable for most families. Have we priced ourselves out of existence for the aver-age person? How has this come about, along with the liberalization of doctrine that I have watched take place?
Please bring back some of the conservatism that we experienced in the “olden days.” We are still living and doing well, not seemingly scarred by attending a university that had beliefs that it adhered to and did not change in order to attract every student alive.
MARTHA WILEY EBERHART ’58 Cordova, Tennessee
My hope is for more transparency between regents, faculty, and alumni. Perhaps Rick Warren could get us all together so that we might better understand any differences, yet be allowed to keep them—pushing on to a greater prize of cohesive support for our “soul-mother.”
BOB MORRISON ’60, San Antonio, Texas
I believe most of the divisions are traceable back to the change L in Baylor’s direction and philosophy embodied in Baylor 2012, and the hard feelings engendered by the methods of its
implementation. If the Baylor family is to be united, Baylor 2012 must be replaced by a new set of goals and directives that is truly derived from input from all constituencies—regents, administrators, faculty, students, alumni, and other benefactors of the university—and that reflects Baylor’s historic mission and strengths.
Another important change would be an end to the secrecy sur-rounding regents’ deliberations and actions, and perhaps even the inclusion on the Board of Regents of representatives of a broader spectrum of Baylor family members.
BETTE McCALL MILLER ’67, Pittsburg, Texas
I think the Board of Regents needs to be more open with alumni. I would suggest that the Board of Regents invite at least a couple of members of the Baylor Alumni Association to each meeting of the board. Members of the Board of Regents should go out of their way to attend meetings of the alumni association, and they should—and I believe they do—have a standing invitation to attend.
We alumni seem to feel that somewhere along the way we became the enemy of the Board of Regents. I don’t know how that ever happened or why—and I don’t care. But I do believe that as graduates of our beloved university we care about what happens to it, and we ought to be able to at least express an opinion. I attended Baylor on a scholarship, and I was the first per-son in my family to earn a college degree. I now have both a son and a daughter who are graduates of Baylor, and I can’t imagine how someone could possibly think that I wouldn’t want what is best for Baylor.
MIKE PARKER ’76, Cedar Park, Texas
The key to Baylor’s effort to become unified lies in the qualities of the new president to be elected by the regents. He or she must be an individual who primarily has the full and unyielding confidence and trust of the faculty, who genuinely understands healing and has the ability to resolve differences, who is an individual without guile or bias, who is fully and sincerely committed to Baylor and to the Lord, and who is able to convince others of Baylor’s lofty goals and purposes.
One of the major impediments to the unity of the faculty in the past few years, in my view, has been an unwillingness to accept the goal of research as having priority over student teaching and care. The new president must recognize that neither is sufficient with-out the other.
A thriving modern university cannot be content to assume the role of a sponge—to soak in and retain, then share the knowledge that has been gained by others. It must actively produce new knowledge through research by its own faculty, working hand in hand with students, graduate and undergraduate alike. That is the responsibility of stewardship. But of equal importance is the imparting of knowledge from professor to student, coupled with a profound sense of caring and concern for the student. That is the responsibility of Christian discipleship. Both thrusts must be equally well achieved, and one is not more important than the other.
Faculty unity is the sine qua non for future success. Once achieved, unity in the rest of the family—regents, alumni, students, Texas Baptists, and all who love Baylor—will follow its natural course.
DR. WILLIAM D. HILLIS ’53, Cornelia Marschall Smith Distinguished Professor of Biology and former Vice President of Student Affairs, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
I want to express my disappointment with the politicking and dys-functional nature of the Board of Regents. During my time at Baylor, I worked as an office assistant in one of the vice president’s office. I was well aware of the politicking even then. Since graduating from Baylor, I have attended three Ivy League universities. I was grateful for being able to attend Baylor on scholarship and for the support of one of the administrators. However, I have to say that I feel very alienated from my alma mater.
DR. ALEX THOMAS ’92, MS ’94, Columbus, Ohio
The recurring question of unity at Baylor I strikes me as both perplexing and ill-defined. Perplexing, because during my time in student government, as senior class president, I interacted with a number of administrative offices, including those of the president, chancellor, student development, student life, and several college deans, and found a great deal of unity. Though an incomplete sample, that unity was defined by a shared set of values with regard to student affairs, a genuine interest in hearing the causes and concerns of the student body, and a coordinated effort to design and complete our senior class gift.
Why did this unity exist? Simply because the various stake-holders had a shared purpose—a specific goal with clearly defined, measurable timelines and outcomes. Before asking about unity, it is more salient to ask, “To what end?”
Painstaking as it may be the best way to accomplish a goal of “Baylor United” is for every party—from faculty, staff, and students to alumni and Texas Baptists—to precisely understand its role, how it connects to other parties, and how it drives the Baylor organization, at large, toward its goals. Unity is the outcome of communication and coordination, not the other way around.
RYAN JACKSON ’06, Lantana, Texas
As I understand Baylor history, it was founded to provide a Chris-tian education primarily to Texas Baptists. If a child had the desire to attend and could meet the academic requirements, then he or she would have the opportunity to do so, within reason. During my years on campus, many students were from middle-income families, and we majored in such areas as business, education, arts and sciences, and music. Today, Baylor appears to only be interested in the absolute highest academically achieving high school graduates who want to be doctors, attorneys, professors, scientists, and researchers.
Furthermore, the cost of attending Baylor today is probably cost prohibitive to most middle-class Texas Baptist families. Being in the top ten, twenty-five, or hundred of some magazine’s “Best Universities” was not a goal twenty years ago. Baylor’s academic goals and achievements have always been high, but not at the expense of the target demographic it is here to serve.
I have two sons, ages fourteen and ten, who are much smarter than their dad. When the day comes for them to choose a university, financing a Baylor degree may play a bigger role in attendance than academic ability. That is a shame! I am a third-generation Baylor graduate and gained admittance through summer school on academic probation.
Today, according to our current presidential candidates, I have attained a level above middle-income in America. If I have done my part in saving and planning for my sons’ education, why would financing a Baylor education ever be a concern? Simple: Baylor has become or is becoming an elitist university!
If it were not for the voice of Baylor Alumni Association, I don’t believe folks like me would ever be heard.
JOHN M. HAMMAN ’88 , Plano, Texas
Unity is created over time as trust emerges in relationships. I am not sure there is some “magic bullet”—some one thing—that we can do to restore trust. The only thing I can suggest is that we all put aside our limited vested interests, move ahead in our various commitments to Baylor, and hope that in God’s good time we can experience community that will serve the interests of the university.
Baylor is now on the road to becoming a research university. That will involve some gains and some losses. Change always does. We should work as hard as we can to preserve those values of the past that we genuinely cherish and embrace new values with enthusiasm and courage but in ways that are always sensitive to the well-being of both individuals and the community.
DR. ROBERT BAIRD ’59, MA ’61, Professor of Philosophy, Master Teacher, and Faculty University Ombudsperson, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Baylor’s core values will unite the various groups. At some point IM1 there will be a consensus and those who agree will provide sup-port, and those who don’t will leave. The challenge for the leader-ship is to acknowledge trends and fads before focusing everyone on those values that are relevant down the years.
GARY TAUL ’77, La Grange, Kentucky
The Board of Regents reflects a tendency at Baylor of one constituency’s thinking that its job is to “protect” Baylor’s interests. Alumni easily could become a similar constituency, as could faculty or students or Texas Baptists. The list of constituencies is long. Such thinking runs counter to the best interests of Baylor—or any fine academic institution whose identity is multi-faceted and honorable.
All Baylor constituencies must begin again to function within our roles. The faculty must be allowed to teach and produce scholarship. Students must be allowed to learn, even from their mistakes. The Board of Regents must oversee the broad interests of Baylor in long-range terms—not as day-to-day, rowdy super-visors. The president must lead—guided by principles that are valued in academia and distinctive to Baylor—and grow the endowment. And we alumni must love and support and defend Baylor as we honor “that good old Baylor line” well into a bright future beyond ourselves.
SUSAN HARDEN BORWICK ’68, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
There are several things the Board or Regents can do. The first is to make their work more transparent. There are too many unnecessary closed-door sessions. By all means, keep personnel or other sensitive issues behind closed doors; that I would expect and even demand. But too many decisions are made in secret, lending the board an air of cloak-and-dagger activities on how to “take over,” rather than doing what is best for the school and its constituents.
It also lends itself to outrageous rumors and makes people strongly doubt that the board is in place for the good of Baylor. We need a board to give direction, not a board that is a cabal. It also seems to me that the board has overstepped its bounds in many areas of the university—read micromanagement. Let the people do the jobs they were hired to do. Don’t put up a thousand road blocks and then watch over their shoulders. The president should do that job and that job only, and the board should do its job only—no more and no less from either. The regents need to re-read the board policies and codes of regulations as to when they have overstepped their bounds with the administration, with the students, with the faculty, and with the alumni.
Just as the human body and the body of Christ has its parts that work together to make the whole, so does Baylor. And just as the human body and the body of Christ can have a body part that doesn’t cooperate or tries to do another part’s job and so weakens the body, so can Baylor. Cancer can spread quickly through a human body when the body’s own cells attack; discord spreads just as quickly through the body of Christ and Baylor and can be just as devastating and eat away at what can be accomplished.
Don’t shut out the alumni, because we too have a vested interest that goes beyond the years we spent as a student. The future reflects on us just as much as our time at Baylor was built on Baylor’s past.
CYNTHIA L. PETERSON ’79, Hallsville, Texas
I have thought of small steps—but no big steps can be taken I without the Board of Regents taking the initiative.
They tell us that they are totally in charge of Baylor University—and it certainly looks that way. Yet one of their “leaders” (not the board’s chair) has been quoted as saying that “all people are motivated by either fear or greed.” Is that what one hopes to hear from a Christian institution? Is that an attitude that promotes unity?
Until “fear and greed” are replaced with “kindness and love,” we will continue to have problems.
BABS BAUGH, CLASS OF ’64, San Antonio, Texas
There should be peace in the valley. There certainly should be peace between the alumni association, the administration, and the Board of Regents. The alumni association is and should be an independent voice of alumni, advising alumni of matters impacting the university—even the “bad news.”
However, it is difficult to represent the views of all alumni when the alumni base is so broad and diverse. For example, many of our alumni are concerned about the rising tuition at Baylor. Others, such as myself, feel there is no apparent reason tuition should be lower at Baylor than at any other private, church-related university. Is it cheaper to educate Baptists than Methodists or members of the Christian Church? Isn’t it up to the board and administration to set tuition, just as they set faculty salaries?
I personally feel the alumni association can best represent the views of all alumni by staying away from this divisive issue. Finally, I cannot imagine anyone objecting to Baylor’s efforts to strive to become a so-called “tier one” university. We all want to see our alma mater improve—and, thereby, the value of our degrees increase. But this will take time, and in the interim there will be change—something with which it is so difficult to deal.
FRED WEEKLEY ’62, JD ’63, Arlington, Texas
In Lewis Carol’s Alice In Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat tells Alice, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” It seems that the Baylor family spends far too much time arguing over which road to take instead of agreeing on where we are going. If the objective is to build a sense of common direction and mutual commitment, the questions seem to boil down to the following:
Does Baylor want to be a great university?
Does Baylor want to be a great Christian university?
Does Baylor want to be a great Baptist university?
Does Baylor want to be a Baptist university?
For those of us who think Baylor needs to be focusing on the first two options, it seems that far too much time, energy, and resources are devoted to the latter two questions. Otherwise we will simply continue to wander, as did Alice.
RAL AARS ’64, DeSoto, Texas
I am not a Baptist; I was raised Catholic. I chose Baylor in 1985 because of its high-quality, private education, low student-teacher ratio, and location. I really think my life began at seven-teen when I went to Baylor, and my tenure there shaped me into what I am today—a highly educated, successful professional woman.
While I realize that Baylor will always be Baptist, I really think that to unite Baylor’s past, present, and future students, someone needs to be reminded that it is a university composed of a diverse population from different backgrounds, religions, states, and countries. That diversity should be celebrated rather than curtailed in favor of Baptist-only doctrine. If acting like a university is no longer important to Baylor, I have no advice to offer. My worst fear is that Baylor will become too fundamentalist, lose its accreditation, and my undergraduate degree will become worthless.
BECKY MATTES ’89, Brussels, Belgium
The Board of Regents needs to have open meetings in the future. The chair of the Board of Regents needs to attend and greet Heritage members at the spring banquet. The new president or interim president needs to attend a forum with the Baylor Alumni Association’s Alumni Council and resolve differences. The president should renew the practice of paying for the annual Heritage Club banquet.
BETTY ROGERS BRYANT ’63, Commerce, Texas
Make a pointed effort to attract middle-class students to Baylor. Wealthy families and poor families have an inordinate advantage at Baylor because of the cost. Wealthy families can pay for it, and poor families get scholarships.
Swing the pendulum back from religion to academics. Baylor has always walked a fine line, balancing its spiritual roots and comprehensive education. However, in recent years it has crossed too far into religious territory and Republican politics.
Create an atmosphere of accepting different points of view with-out having to agree with those points of view—the foundation of independent thinking.
Quit giving tenure to professors solely on their social, religious, and political points of view. Make them earn it.
Ask the regents to open their minds and realize that Baylor should be creating servants of God and not thinking that all who associate with Baylor are God’s chosen people.
J. ANDREW RICE ’75, Dayton, Texas
Division within a body usually stems from narrow viewpoints and a lack of tolerance for differing thoughts and opinions. The way my principal unites our wry diverse faculty is to validate the worth of each teacher by recognizing the strengths of each one while minimizing the importance of weaknesses. Each teacher feels important to our team. The principal doesn’t play into the “personality attacks” that so often cause strife. We have very little turnover at our school due to the healthy environment we’ve created where we all can grow and thrive.
Tolerance and acceptance are what I think Baylor needs to move forward. Just like our country Baylor is very diverse and looking more like our world! We can hang on to our traditions with-out alienating people if we have the right spirit.
PAMELA PRIDEMORE GROVES ’79, Arlington, Texas
I believe that any leader at Baylor—president, vice president, or dean—must be able to build meaningful relationships with the faculty, staff, students, and especially the alumni and the Waco community. It is time for diplomatic leadership and forging alliances between warring parties. I think that maybe the next president or interim president should host town hall meetings with affected parties. This individual also should create an inter-disciplinary, external council made up of Baylor faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members to address where Baylor is headed and build consensus among all of the constituencies of our great institution.
ALLAN MARSHALL ’07, Waco, Texas
Baylor alumni will be united when we are behind a single purpose. What is the single purpose that unites most colleges? It is sports! Academics are more important than sports when it comes to the results of a college education, but I never hear a group of alumni sitting around discussing academics. They talk sports. Just remember the national championship won by our women’s basketball team. That united us more than anything else for the last twenty years.
DON CHRESTMAN ’65, JD ’70, Weatherford, Texas
Over the past few years, I have listened to all the rhetoric of various participants in the issues that have been hindering Baylor’s long-term success and frankly see it as the usual problem when change is required. Those with power refuse to give it up and make the necessary changes to respond to the changes that have already taken place in the environment. The times require change, otherwise Baylor will be seen as weak academically.
Powerful people always find some thread of truth to assist them in retaining their power, and people with money always get more attention and acceptance than those without. I think there are many like me who do not feel that the Baylor Alumni Association represents them. It seems to me that what blocks the necessary changes at Baylor are those people with sufficient power and money to buy the BAAs attention and pressure the Board of Regents to stifle change.
Baylor is first and foremost an academic institution. As a Christian institution, it should strive to be a high-quality academic institution that represents the ability of God and his people to succeed and perform academically as well as those with-out a Christian faith.
We do not need to be seen as a weak and less-respected academic institution just so people who are not strong academically can keep their jobs or feel unthreatened. Good teaching and service do not equal poor research. There are many examples of very good teachers willing to spend a great deal of time with their students who also publish top-quality research.
I encourage the BAA and Board of Regents to talk to Chris-tian academics from their own alumni and see what their opinion is on the subject.
I will admit that change takes time and that some will feel threatened by these changes. We should be sensitive to their uncomfortable situation, but we cannot refuse to improve our academic standing because of the lack of comfort of a few or fear of the loss of power by others. We do not need their money. If God is working on our behalf, he will provide the money necessary for the future as he always has in the past.
DR. BEVERLY BAKER TYLER ’77, Raleigh, North Carolina
Although I am far away, a part of my heart is still at Baylor. From what I read, the best way to unite Baylor is to go back to its roots as a Christian university. Let all the other schools take care of those who do not seek a Christian education. Through an emphasis on Christian values and prayer, people will be united. Baylor does not have to embrace the same ethics as a state school. Baylor must stand up for its Christian beliefs, even when they are not popular in academia. You can get a good education at thousands of other schools, but at Baylor you must be able to get the best Christian education available.
JUDITH GREGG JONES, ATT. ’62-’65, Modesto, California
Based on the fact that a substantial number of Baylor students, now and historically, are non-Baptists, we should allow one third of the Baylor Board of Regents to be non-Baptists. This would bring a more diverse perspective and reduce the Baptist in-fighting on the board. Unity and positive progress would abound, and Baptist control would not be compromised.
RICK SMITH ’68, Austin, Texas
From the top down, there needs to be a drive to glorify Jesus and to be his disciple. Kind of general you might say. Easily interpreted by each individual differently.
Nothing of value is found easily. To find a few ounces of gold, tons of earth are moved. To find a few diamonds, man digs deep mines thousands of feet into the earth. Can finding unity and renewed purpose require less effort?
I would suggest the following:
• Each student, each person in the faculty and administration, and each regent should read, and re-read, and then re-read and meditate upon the four gospels. During their reading and meditation, they should ask of the Lord, “How can I and the institution of Baylor University glorify the Lord Jesus?” They should ask the Lord Jesus to show them how to be his disciples.
• Then there should be a number of symposiums led by someone who is a disciple of the messiah—finding such leaders is probably the hardest part—and they should discuss the glorification of Jesus and being his disciple.
• The reading, meditation, and symposiums should all take place in a semester, and then be repeated each semester, probably for at least a couple of years.
Proverbs 28:2 reads, “When a land is in rebellion, it has many rulers, but with a discerning and knowledgeable person, it endures.” “Land” could be a country. It could also be an “organization” or even a “university” “Many rulers” speaks of disunity.
Matthew 18:19-20 reads, “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Let him bring a deep unity and a deep peace to Baylor University.
WILLIAM BUCKLEY ’87, Houston, Texas
Those of us who are more conservative have seemed to be shut out of decision-making since the moderate takeover of the university. We are still loyal to the school, just not to all of the governing philosophy. I still value my life membership in the Baylor Alumni Association. I don’t know of many graduates who ever advocated the creation of another Bob Jones University. We figured one was enough. Unity can be better approached when the rhetoric alleging conspiracies to change the culture of the school is turned down.
LARRY BOWLES ’67, Houston, Texas
Baylor University has a rich and storied heritage in the State of Texas. Many of the leaders in the state government through the years have been Baylor graduates. For many years, a large number of the leaders among Texas Baptists have been Baylor graduates. In addition, there are a large number of faculty who were part of Baylor as undergraduate students that have returned to Baylor, after pursuing graduate degrees, to serve with dedication and passion. Many of these individuals had very lucrative opportunities elsewhere but chose to return to Baylor.
It is painful for many of us to experience the divisions that have been a part of Baylor for the past dozen or so years. There have been so many petty issues in the media that cast Baylor in a negative light to the marketplace around us. Many of our friends have found great astonishment that the oldest university in Texas would be in such turmoil and so divided.
It is way past time to embrace a strategic agenda built around the major functions of higher education: teaching and research. The academic reputation of Baylor is a vital part of the life of the institution, and this is in danger of eroding if we keep these negatives and self-serving agendas in the forefront of our institutional strategic purposes. The leadership of Baylor—the regents, the executive administration, and significant others—are the key players in deciding which course Baylor is going to follow with its opportunities or consequences.
DR. JERRY JOHNSON ’62, MBA ’65, Professor of Marketing, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
I’m personally tired of hearing about the problem Baylor has with disunity among its constituency.
I don’t think Baylor has a problem. There are a few people who obviously have a problem with other people and their ideas, and they are using the ties with Baylor as the vehicle with which to fight over their personal disagreements.
Baylor has received the bad press because of the personal issues, and that is unfortunate. I love Baylor for what it is, what it stands for, and what it has done for me.
KEN COOPER ’74, MBA ’75, Waco, Texas
I believe that the highest priority any university should have is the education of the students.
My education at Baylor was from outstanding professors who taught by example from an expandable curriculum rooted in theory and practicum. It didn’t matter to me if the professor were male or female, of a different ethnicity, Catholic, Jewish, Klingon, or research-oriented. I was there for an education.
I believe unity at Baylor will return when the president is a business- or law-oriented individual who has a firm belief in God and lets the deans of each college run their college without interference from anyone, including the Board of Regents.
In my twenty-four-year teaching career, I had principals I didn’t trust. Those were the years I was unhappy in my profession. Find the trust, and the unity will follow.
ANN BROWN GOODE ’71, San Antonio, Texas
I am a third-generation Baylor grad, and my daughter is a fourth-generation Baylor grad. I also have a son presently attending Baylor, and another who will attend soon.
Baylor has always loved its own, but recently it has not. While attending orientation with my children, Baylor never acknowledged those who were children of alumni, nor did they acknowledge the alumni. In all of the Baylor material, there was no mention of whether or not they were children of alumni.
Baylor must have legacy children in order to have the love of Baylor continued. With legacy children, we hope the love of Baylor is initiated and transferred to those students who are experiencing Baylor for the first time. A majority of legacy students have been attending Homecoming and athletic events all their lives. Is there a better way to recruit than through an in-house process?
I must say the Baylor Alumni Association has for years done a wonderful job of including alumni and their children in all aspects of life at Baylor.
ROBERT DRAUGHN ’84, Commerce, Texas