By Sara Tirrito
Baylor alumnus Dr. Jerry Haag has been named vice president for university development, ending a national search begun in the fall to fill the position. He will begin work at Baylor on April 18.
President Ken Starr said he chose Haag because of his “distinguished career” and love for Baylor. At present, Haag serves as the president of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes.
“His heart for Baylor and his heart for service are exemplary, and he’s had a wide variety of responsibilities,” Starr said. “He has been in the business world and financial planning. He has been an outstanding classroom teacher in college. He has served as an administrative pastor and then of course he has served in very important leadership positions statewide, in both Texas and Florida. In each of those instances he has headed up large organizations, and above all he has an abiding love and energetic commitment to Baylor and Baylor’s mission.”
Dean of the Hankamer School of Business, Terry Maness, who chaired the search committee and also taught Haag during his time at Baylor, said he presented a “complete package” of personal traits and accomplishments in his career that make him a good fit for the position.
“I really think what stood out to me in visiting with him, but also the materials that I was able to gather through his application process, was that he’s a person that his faith is extremely strong to him; he’s very service minded. If you look at things he’s involved in, he’s very community oriented,” Maness said. “He’s not only helped organizations achieve their missions, but he’s helped them do it by being actively involved in the fundraising aspect of that, so those are things we thought were strong characteristics.”
In his new position, Haag’s task will be to shift Baylor away from its tuition dependence by drawing more members of the Baylor community to contribute to the university, Starr said.
“I’ve frequently said that we need a new model of financing higher education in this country, and that is clearly so with respect to public institutions, but it’s also true with respect to private institutions,” Starr said. “Baylor cannot remain tuition-dependent for its growth in the future, so there must be a new model and that model is for this caring community of alumni and friends to come alongside and build Baylor, and that will be his responsibility. It’s a shared responsibility, but it’s his responsibility to wake up in the morning and to be dedicated to expanding the base of friends and supporters of Baylor to help Baylor accomplish its goals.”
Though one of Haag’s foremost goals is to secure funding for the President’s Scholarship Initiative, he will work on addressing various needs across the university, ranging from scholarship to building renovations.
“The main thing and the bottom line of my job is to provide the vision and leadership and funds to enable Baylor University and its ministry and mission to be accomplished,” Haag said. “I tell my staff here regularly we can have the greatest dreams in the world, but they’re going to end up as empty dreams unless we can find the individuals to make it happen. That is my job — connect the internal with the external.”
Haag said he looks forward to meeting the Baylor family and returning to serve his alma mater — something he has felt called by God to do since his time as an undergraduate. He said he hopes to help students follow God’s call as well.
“What’s really exciting to me is that I get to be a part of helping to transform the lives of students today and helping transform the lives of students for generations to come,” Haag said.
“The work that I get to do is going to enable students to have their lives transformed and really find and fulfill God’s calling on their lives.”