There are six candidates in the running for this year’s Alumni Elected Regent election. We had the honor of interviewing each candidate in an effort to better understand their desire to become a Baylor University Regent, as well as their experience at Baylor as both a student and alumni.
Our family has three generations of Baylor graduates, each of whom maintains a love and respect for the institution and its mission. The Baylor experience not only educates students, but also inspires them to embrace their calling in committed Christian leadership. This model is incredibly effective and uniquely distinctive. More than anything, I want Baylor to be able to provide these same opportunities for its present and future students.
How is the mission of Baylor University unique?
Our mission statement speaks for itself:
The mission of Baylor University is to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.
Our discussions, deliberations and decision-making as an institution must focus on accomplishing our mission.
What was your experience like as a student at Baylor?
Baylor provided outstanding academics within a Christian environment that well equipped me for a career and simultaneously confirmed and strengthened my faith. I studied under outstanding professors like Kent Gilbreath, James Parsons, L. M. Dyson, Lane Collins, Lee Polk, Bruce Cresson, Robert Reid and James Vardaman. My classes helped me develop the technical skills necessary to make a living. More importantly, the heart felt care and concern these gifted teachers maintained quietly but firmly showed me how to live a life. Student organizations and activities provided exceptional opportunities for shared experiences that forged friendships which have lasted a lifetime. We cheered Grant Teaff and the Baylor Bears as they won the 1980 Southwest Conference Championship. Most significantly, I met my wife, Lori Reid Wilkerson, while Christmas caroling at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church. Together, we’ve shared life’s joys and sorrows for the past 32 years.
What have been the most encouraging changes at Baylor over the last few years?
New facilities on campus are simply amazing.
I’m encouraged by President Livingstone’s energy, work ethic and rapport with students. Regent Chair Joel Allison and President Livingstone have implemented a transparent and inclusive approach to leadership which is a great first step to bringing some much needed healing to the Baylor family.
Honestly, it is difficult to imagine that a university could experience greater heights or deeper failure than Baylor has seen in recent years.
I remember hearing Judge Abner McCall address a small group of Baylor students at First Baptist Church one Sunday evening. A man who uniquely balanced incredible brilliance with an equal measure of humility, Judge McCall noted that in his storied career at Baylor, staff and faculty had a tendency to believe that they worked for him. He paused in his delivery, making eye contact with each of us. “That’s not correct,” he said. “In reality, I work for the faculty and staff. I work for you and your families.”
Baylor’s greatest strength has always been its students and the families they represent. I remain most encouraged by something that doesn’t change–Baylor students and their unwavering commitment to doing the right things the right way.
What strengths would you bring to the table as an alumni-elected Regent?
Both my wife, Lori, and I are Baylor graduates, as are two of our daughters, Rachel (’11) and Ellen (’17). I understand and support Baylor’s mission. I maintain a respect for Baylor’s heritage and an enthusiastic outlook for its future.