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.
If Baylor asks me to serve in any capacity, then I will say “yes” if I possibly can. In a broader sense, I view service as a Baylor University Regent to be both my duty and my privilege as a believer. As reflected on Baylor’s web site, Baylor was “established to be a servant of the church and of society”. As Christians, we each have that same calling. So, the calling I feel to be a Baylor University Regent is the same calling that each Christian has. It is a calling to serve Him and to serve others.
How is the mission of Baylor University unique?
Each organization has guiding principles. The guiding principles of a college or university should include excellence in education, opportunities for personal and social development, and preparation for life after college. Some universities also identify values, integrity, morality, ethics, and virtue as guiding principles. Baylor shares many of these guiding principles.
As Baylor alumni, we want Baylor students to receive an outstanding education. We want Baylor students to grow personally and socially. We want Baylor students to be prepared for the next phase of their lives. But we want more than that. We want Baylor students to connect the knowledge they receive at Baylor to the Father, who is the source of all knowledge. And we want Baylor students to be prepared to serve God when they leave Baylor.
The mission of Baylor is unique in that all we do, as students, as faculty members, as administrators, as alumni, as parents of Baylor students, as donors, and as fans, is part of a greater purpose – God’s Kingdom.
What was your experience like as a student at Baylor?
My parents did not attend college. I was on Baylor’s campus only a couple of times before my freshman year. But I have an older sister Karen who was a junior at Baylor when I was a freshman. And, there were many young women and men from my home church who attended Baylor, both in my class and in classes ahead of me.
In addition, the friendliness of the new people I met at Baylor was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I met new friends from Waco, Abilene, Lufkin, Iowa Park, San Antonio, Austin, Lubbock, San Marcos, Midland, Baytown, Dallas, Houston, Plano, Amarillo, and Tyler, and from states such as Oklahoma, Missouri, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, and California. The first girl I met in my first class at Baylor was Karen Cherry (#notmysister). So, while I was not very familiar with college or with Baylor before enrolling, Baylor was very welcoming, and I immediately felt at home.
For better or for worse, before I went to Baylor, a friend from my home church and Baylor alumni, Tommy Hatfield, told me that “the education you get outside of class will be as important as the one you get inside of class.” I took that advice to heart. I probably took that advice a little too much to heart, but my grades eventually recovered. I dove into Baylor life, joined a fraternity, ran as a candidate in some campus elections, participated in Student Foundation, and served on several committees.
My experience as a student at Baylor is defined by my Baylor friends, some old and some new. It could not have been better. Whatever expectations I had about college life, Baylor exceeded them.
What have been the most encouraging changes at Baylor over the last few years?
Frankly, some of the changes over the last few years have been painful. Out of some of those painful changes, however, encouraging things have happened. And even beyond those changes, there are other things which I am very encouraged about.
I am encouraged by the fact that the Baylor family took a hard look at itself, realized that changes needed to be made, and made them.
I am encouraged by both the desire and the actions of the Board of Regents and the university administration to listen to the Baylor family – to students, to faculty and to alumni.
I am encouraged by Baylor’s renewed desire for a strong relationship with the City of Waco.
I am encouraged by the selection of Dr. Livingstone as our president. As Joel Allison recently said, Dr. Livingstone is a model of a servant leader. She has stellar qualifications, is from our part of the country, has lived in Waco, and was previously a part of the Baylor family as a professor. I am further encouraged by some of the changes and initiatives which have happened under Dr. Livingstone’s administration and leadership.
What strengths would you bring to the table as an alumni-elected Regent?
In the same way that Baylor is committed to integrating faith with education, I am committed to integrating my faith with all other aspects of my life. Although that commitment does not necessarily distinguish me, I would bring that commitment to my duties as a regent.
I started my own business in 1991, and it continues today. From that experience, I know that success requires hard work, and I have learned how to work hard. I would bring that work ethic with me as a regent. I do not view being a Baylor regent as an honorary position or as a reward.
I am a creative person. While I wish my creativity translated to artistic talent, it does not. It is instead evidenced by my ability to think creatively, to formulate creative solutions to seemingly unresolvable problems, to understand the perspective of others, and to do all that in a winsome manner.
Over the years, I have maintained many of my Baylor friendships. I have also been privileged to enjoy new Baylor friendships through various Baylor organizations, through our church, and through my family. My wife Kris and I have two sons who are students are Baylor, Cale who is a Junior, and Ethan, who is a freshman. We also have a nephew Preston who is a Junior and a niece Ashley who is a sophomore. Through our sons, nephew and niece, we have also made new friendships with other Baylor parents. So, I would bring the perspective of those other Baylor folks, including current Baylor parents, to the Board of Regents.
I have two degrees from Baylor. I was in school at Baylor for seven years. Perhaps to the dismay of my Baylor classmates, I am the Permanent Senior Class President of my class. After moving to Dallas, I became a volunteer for Baylor events in Dallas. I was a Life Member of the Baylor Alumni Association and am a current member of the Baylor Line Foundation. My wife and I have been, and are, donors to Baylor. I understand the Baylor culture and the Baylor family. While other perspectives can be helpful, there is no greater attribute for a Baylor regent than having an understanding of the Baylor culture and the Baylor family.