By Todd Copeland
Editor, The Baylor Line
This Saturday, May 2, the Baylor Alumni Association’s governing board will hold one of its quarterly meetings at the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center. The May meeting is typically focused on finances; board members get an update on how the BAA staff expects to end the fiscal year (which concludes on May 30) and then they review a proposed budget for the next fiscal year.
This year will be no different, but on top of those normal activities the members of our Board of Directors will hear about the staff’s efforts to create a dynamic five-year plan to strengthen the BAA.
In addition to getting our board members’ input and enjoying a good breakfast (think bacon and sausage patties), I am looking forward to this meeting for the same reason that I have looked forward to all of the board meetings I have gone to since joining the BAA staff in 1998. In a word, that reason is loyalty.
The more than fifty officers and directors serving on our board are some of the most loyal and accomplished Baylor alumni and friends that you will find anywhere. Their dedication to Baylor is unswerving, and their support of the BAA in its mission to serve Baylor is unflagging. These individuals give the BAA its strength, voluntarily coming together to offer their guidance, financial support, and community connections to our organization.
The governing boards that have served the organization over the course of its 150 years of existence are the foundation for any success achieved by the BAA. Without the solid framework that board members collectively provide, the BAA would not have been able to attract a high-quality staff to work on behalf of Baylor alumni. And without their leadership, the BAA would not have achieved as much as it has over the decades.
Moreover, it is only because of board members’ guidance and support of the alumni association that Baylor alumni have as strong a representative and independent voice as they do. The BAA is a democratic organization; anyone can join as a member, and then the members are empowered to vote on each year’s slate of nominated directors. Each board member serves at the pleasure of the membership, and they work hard to serve the members’ best interests within the context of serving Baylor.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the alumni of Baylor, through their coordinated involvement in the life of their alma mater, have proven crucial to the university’s vitality and long-term health. Several of our recent board presidents and officers have contributed a tremendous amount of their time and effort in the cause of protecting and strengthening this common asset that is the BAA – for no personal gain, and often at the cost of time spent away from their professions and families.
As anyone who has followed Baylor news in recent years knows, there have been some difficult moments in the BAA’s relationship with Baylor’s administration and governing board that were extensions of the general tension and politics ocurring on campus over the last six or seven years. There was a time, in 2003, when the BAA’s staff shrank from twenty-one to six employees, including a part-time executive director, due to these political struggles. If the BAA’s board had not provided an amazing level of support at that time, I believe the organization would have ceased to exist. Such difficulties are regrettable, but what stands out for me is the fine leadership that our board presidents and officers demonstrated during those dark days and the years since then. And while difficulties no doubt remain to be sorted out as the university seeks its next president after its previous president was fired, I am confident – because of what I have seen in the past – that the BAA’s leaders will continue to show their loyalty in word and deed.
And for that reason, I am looking forward to Saturday, when I will literally see the faces of “that good old Baylor Line” – people of different generations and walks of life – assembled in our building and ready to serve Baylor.