By Rob Bradfield
For the third time this semester, the who’s who of Baylor student leaders and administrators gathered to dine, mingle, and learn from the successes of a Baylor alumnus.
Tuesday night, Baylor hosted this semester’s last installment of Judge Ken Starr’s Advanced Student Leadership Development Seminar. The featured speaker was Ken Carlile, Baylor regent, oilman, dentist, and benefactor of two campus buildings. Carlile made no secret about his confidence in the invited students’ abilities.
“Baylor will produce some of the future leaders, and this program is a great way to help that,” Carlile said.
Framed by Truett’s Christmas decorations, Carlile shared with students his experiences with different types of leadership. According to Carlile, Baylor’s Christian community gives students an advantage in the business world because of the values essential to leadership that Christianity embodies.
“Christians make the best leaders,” Carlile said.
Carlile also touched on his own career and experiences in the oil industry. He emphasized the need for communication between leaders and those they lead in a democratic system, and encouraged students to embrace this style. He also touched on the need for leaders to take the initiative in making decisions, sharing a story about a $50,000 decision at an oil well.
The seminar series began in September featuring an address by President Starr. The following seminar featured Drayton McLane Jr., Regent Emeritus and former owner of the Houston Astros. Student leaders invited to attend included Student Body President Zach Rogers, and Internal Vice President Michael Lyssy. Also attending were such Baylor names as Elizabeth Davis, Executive Vice-President and Provost, Pattie Orr, Vice President for Information Technology and Dean of University Libraries, Dr. Kevin P. Jackson, Vice President for Student Life, and Baylor First Lady Alice Starr.
The reaction of students attending the seminar was generally positive. As Carlile pointed out during the question and answer period, even institutions like Baylor have to deal with professors whose lectures become dated. But the glassy, vacant expression seen in some classrooms was absent during Carlile’s speech, and one student even took notes. Students that attend numerous university functions found Carlile’s stories engaging.
“It was a fine end to a great series of leadership seminars,” Lyssy said.
Students received invitations to the seminar series at the beginning of the year after being recommended by a faculty member. At this point it is undecided if the program will continue next semester.