By Rae Jefferson
This summer, Baylor will say goodbye to an important member of the green and gold family.
Dr. Karla Leeper, vice president of board and executive affairs and chief compliance officer at Baylor, will leave Baylor and join Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Ga., as the chief of staff to the president. Leeper will assume her role on June 15.
“Her efforts at the classroom, departmental and University level have benefited her students and her colleagues, and helped to make Baylor better,” wrote Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr in a university press release. “We are grateful for her years of dedicated service, and we know that she will be a difference maker at Georgia Regents University.”
After more than two decades with the university, leaving feels “very strange,” Leeper said. She began work at Baylor in 1992 as a communications professor and the director of the Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum.
She later served as the department chair for two years, and ultimately became the chief of staff to the president, which she has been for the past seven years.
“I think I have benefited tremendously from the community of students and faculty who are here,” she said.
Leeper said she thinks her experience as an administrator, as well as her background in communications, will enable her to succeed at Georgia Regents University. According to the university press release, Georgia Regents is a “comprehensive research university” housing the Medical College of Georgia.
Working as an administrator has changed the way Leeper views affairs and issues within a university, she said.
“I have a much better big-picture perspective of issues with higher education,” she said. “I kind of see how all the parts of the university work together to fulfill a common purpose, a common vision and a common strategic plan.”
Baylor was the first private, Christian institution she was ever involved with, Leeper said. The university proved to embody the part of its mission statement that refers to Baylor as a “caring Christian community,” she said.
“I think that has an impact on how you view your role as a servant leader at an institution,” Leeper said. “Having been part of a community like this for 20 years, it really makes a difference in how you view your role and your relationship with students, faculty and staff.”
Preparing to leave the relationships she has built with members of the Baylor community has been difficult, Leeper said.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity I have been given at Baylor — all the students that I’ve worked with, all the faculty and staff colleagues that I know — it’s just been a tremendous experience,” she said. “It’s hard to leave, but I’m excited about the new opportunities.”