By Jordan Corona
The Baylor Board of Regents approved construction on a new chapel during its quarterly meeting Friday. Also, President and Chancellor Ken Starr appointed Dr. David Garland, dean of Truett Seminary, to be interim provost.
The new chapel will be built near Earl Hall and Teal Residential College.. Baylor graduate Molli Elliston and her husband Gary donated $1.7 million to support the construction and design of the chapel..
“We’re very thankful to Molli and Gary Elliston for making it possible,” Starr said. “It was our hope to contribute to a sense of community at Earle Hall and East Village.” He said the chapel would be another of the school’s sacred spaces.
Completion of Elliston Chapel is planned for spring 2015.
But for all the forward thinking, Friday’s decisions also concerned the present.
Starr appointed Dr. David Garland, dean of Truett Seminary, to the position of interim provost. Dr. Elizabeth Davis, current provost and executive vice president, will be stepping down from her position. His work with Baylor administration will take effect when Davis officially resigns in June to be president of Furman University in July.
Garland served as interim president of the university August 2008 to May 2010.
He said there was some chaos around the circumstances when he served in that capacity for 20 months. Garland said that’s not the case with the provost position.
“I don’t anticipate it to be an overly long period of time,” Garland said. “I just want to maintain what’s been going well.”
In other business, regents also named the new track and field facility after Clyde Hart, who served the university 51 years.
“Clyde Hart is a living legend,” Starr said. “In his decades of service, he’s accomplished great things. It’s an appropriate way to pay tribute to a spectacular coach.”
Not all the commemorative intention was so celebratory. Starr also announced the university’s plans to install a memorial plaque on the Umphrey Pedestrian Bridge to honor the late Jose Dario Suarez, who lost his life last month working on the bridge.
Suarez and another worker were on a manlift when it collapsed and dragged them into the Brazos River. Suarez was unable to unharness himself from the machinery and drowned. The other worker was able to release himself and was treated for hypothermia after making it to shore.
“The purpose is to commemorate the life of this good man, Jose Suarez,” Starr said.
Though Starr wouldn’t comment on any correspondence between the university and the Suarez family, he said the memorial was to demonstrate the school’s commitment remembering Suarez and those he loved, sharing in a deeply profound sense of regret and loss.