Baylor says goodbye to religion professor

Dan McGee
Dan McGee
Dan McGee

By Rae Jefferson
Staff Writer

Members of the Baylor community mourn the loss of religion department retiree Dr. Daniel B. McGee — a father, an educator and a man of faith.

McGee, professor and Emeritus Melton Endowed Chair of Religion, died Saturday in Waco.

“Dr. McGee had a tremendous impact on our campus during his four decades on the Baylor faculty,” said Baylor’s assistant vice president for media communications Lori Fogleman in a statement from the university. “Dr. McGee was a well-respected and beloved faculty member, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, colleagues and former students as we mourn his passing.”

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Seventh & James Baptist Church, located at 602 James St. A memorial service is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Friday at the same location. The public is invited to attend both events.

William Bellinger Jr., religion department chair and the W. Marshall and Lulie Craig Professor of Bible, said McGee’s loss is being felt by the department.

“We’ll very much miss his presence,” Bellinger said. “What I’m really struck by, however, is his ongoing legacy. He was a good steward of the opportunities he had to make a contribution.”

This legacy refers to McGee’s involvement with establishing an ethics program at Baylor.

“He was a pioneer in the field of theological ethics and directed hundreds of theses for both undergraduate and graduate students, many of whom have carried on his legacy as leading ethicists in our world today,” Fogleman said.

McGee received both the student-selected and university-awarded “best teacher” awards during his time at Baylor. Bellinger said McGee was someone who “gave a lot to students” and mentored many graduate students who are now teaching and working in applied ethics.

“He was very in-tune to faculty-student relationships,” Bellinger said. “He suggested that we use a model where faculty and students have a covenant with one another – that’s the way he talked about that relationship.”

McGee also received the university’s Herbert H. Reynolds Award for Exemplary Service in 2005, which included serving as the chair of and representative to the Baptist World Alliance on behalf of the Faculty Senate, a member of the university review board and the director of graduate studies in religion.

“He certainly challenged me to be a contributor to the university as a whole, and he served on quite a number of committees and groups to make the university a better place for both faculty and students,” Bellinger said.

McGee also served as a deacon, church moderator, chairman of pulpit committee and young singles and career class teacher at Seventh & James Baptist Church, where he had been a member since 1966. He also served as interim pastor of Edgefield Baptist Church in Waco.

The McGee family has requested all gifts given in honor of Dr. McGee be sent to the religion department.