At its July meeting, Baylor University’s board of regents celebrated the university’s largest annual fundraising year in its 174-year history, receiving $243 million in gifts and pledges.
As part of their summer retreat, regents also heard an update on Title IX and participated in a discussion with a Christian psychologist about her research regarding faith and sexual identity on faith-based college campuses.
The 2018-19 fiscal year marked the eighth consecutive year Baylor surpassed the $100 million benchmark in fundraising. It included the largest current gift in Baylor history—an anonymous $100 million gift that supports growth of endowed chairs and professorships through an academic challenge and provides the lead gift for a new Baylor Basketball Pavilion.
To date, Baylor donors have made gifts and pledges totaling more than $700 million toward the priorities outlined in the $1.1 billion comprehensive Give Light campaign, launched publicly in November 2018.
The fundraising total also reflects an 18.7 percent increase over the previous year in the total number of donors, and the total value of gifts and pledges made to Baylor’s endowment increased by 13 percent over last year.
Title IX compliance discussed
At their retreat, regents discussed several issues facing higher education, including the changing federal Title IX landscape, as well as the implications of related legislation passed by the Texas Legislature.
Jeffrey J. Nolan, an attorney with Holland & Knight and a national expert in threat assessment, Title IX, the Clery Act and FERPA, provided the board with an update on Title IX at the federal level and national trends in the area of student safety and security.
“Nothing is more important at Baylor University than providing a safe and caring community for our students, including offering robust training and education programs to prevent incidents from occurring. With that said, we also aim to have a fair, equitable and trauma-informed Title IX process to address reports of sexual assault, harassment and interpersonal violence,” President Linda Livingstone said.
“We are committed to the safety and security of our campus community, and we will continue to align our policies to all state and federal laws and regulations in this important area.”
In addition, as part of the university’s response to past issues regarding campus sexual assault, every board member completed annual Title IX and NCAA compliance training.
“This reflects the board’s personal commitment to strengthening the university’s culture of compliance and ensuring we continue to do the right thing,” said Jerry Clements of Austin, chair of the board.
‘Listening to Sexual Minorities’
Regents participated in a discussion with Janet B. Dean, associate professor of psychology at Asbury University and co-author of Listening to Sexual Minorities: A Study of Faith and Sexual Identity on Christian College Campuses.
The board discussed the ability of faith-based universities, like Baylor, to provide a loving, caring community because of their Christian missions while providing LGBTQ students with the support essential to their holistic growth and formation as adults.
As part of her work at Asbury, Dean is involved in research that explores the intersectionality between faith and psychology. Her ongoing projects include sexual identity on faith-based campuses, sexuality and religiosity, thoughts of God and psychological well-being, forgiveness, and counselor self-care, in addition to various student projects that she facilitates.
The board also received an update from Mack Rhoades, vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics and his leadership team on Baylor Athletics’ 2018-2019 season.
- Leading the Big 12 in graduation success rate for the fifth-straight year.
- Four Big 12 Scholar-Athletes of the Year, tied for most in the conference.
- Seventeen of 19 teams advancing to postseason play, the third-consecutive season with at least 17 postseason teams.
- National titles in women’s basketball and in acrobatics and tumbling.
- Six Big 12 team championships, second most in the conference.
- The nation’s only university to win a bowl game and record wins in NCAA Tournaments for men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball.
- Nine teams finished the season ranked top-25 nationally.
- 25 All-Americans, 97 All-Big 12 selections and 289 Academic All-Big 12 Selections.
Baylor Athletics also launched “Baylor Built,” a key component of the department’s vision of “Preparing Champions for Life” that elevates student-athletes’ development and character formation alongside academic and on-field success.
“A nationally competitive intercollegiate athletics program is an integral and important part of the Baylor experience, and the Baylor Family has enjoyed this past year cheering on our student-athletes who represent the university in the right way as Champions for Life,” Livingstone said.
New regents welcomed
The July meeting was the first for several regents. New at-large regents are Sarah Gahm of Dallas, senior vice president of Baylor Scott & White Health Care; William Mearse of Houston, retired Accenture resources group operations officer; and Manny Ruiz of San Antonio, president/senior lending officer and member of the board of directors for TexStar National Bank.
David M. Slover of Dallas, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at HighGround Advisors, is an alumni-elected regent. Mark Petersen of Arlington, Baylor Bear Foundation Regent and partner in MBD Solutions and president and managing partner for PRF Capital is a Baylor Bear Foundation regent.
Randall Umstead, associate professor, associate dean for academic affairs and The Charles Evans Chair in Voice in the Baylor School of Music, is a faculty regent. Cassidy Parshall, a junior Baylor Business Fellow and finance major on the premedical track from Colleyville, is student regent.