At its regular spring meeting, the Baylor University Board of Regents attended to a variety of matters related to the business of the University. The Board received a comprehensive briefing from Pepper Hamilton LLP, whose services were retained by the Board in September 2015 to conduct an independent and external investigation of the University’s response to reports of sexual and interpersonal violence. Over the coming weeks, the Board will carefully consider the information provided in the briefing and determine how to decisively act upon Pepper Hamilton’s findings and recommendations. The members of the Board will be guided by their faith as they make significant decisions for the welfare of Baylor students, the direction of the institution and the good of Baylor Nation.
“These deliberations are vital as we seek to preserve and reinforce trust in Baylor University,” said Richard Willis, B.B.A. ’81, M.B.A. ’82, chair of the Board of Regents. “Thoroughly understanding the findings and acting on the recommendations to ensure the safety of all students are the Board’s highest priority.”
The Board also approved a $607 million operating budget for 2016-2017, more than $6 million in capital projects, including a naming gift for the University’s on-campus marina, and the re-election of Regents and confirmation of new Board members.
Budget, Capital Projects Approved; Gift Names Pullin Family Marina
The University’s operating budget for 2016-2017, as approved by the Board, reflects an increase of 4.1 percent over the current year budget and includes an additional $13.5 million to support scholarships for undergraduates, graduates and professional students and graduate assistantships. Personnel costs will increase by 5 percent, which will support 24 new full-time faculty positions, 43 replacement faculty positions and 58.5 new staff positions. These new staff positions include an investment of $6.3 million on initiatives focused on Student Counseling (14.5 new staff positions), Office of Title IX (three new staff positions) and Baylor Department of Public Safety (three new police officers).
The budget also supports merit raises for faculty and staff, more competitive stipends for graduate assistants and increased funding for student workers. The budget takes effect June 1.
In other action, Regents approved several capital projects:
- $2.3 million for expansion of the Counseling Center into the Dutton Avenue Offices, which will provide the center an additional 7,630 square feet of space for counselor offices and a private waiting room, and room to accommodate group sessions, a conference room and library. Construction is expected to begin this summer and be completed in spring 2017.
- $1.95 million for renovation of the Paul L. Foster Success Center and Career and Professional Development, which will increase space for Career Placement, tutoring and advising and include elevator and ADA building modifications. Construction is expected to start this summer.
- $1.6 million for renovation designs for the BGCT Building in Dallas to accommodate future expansion of Baylor’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing.
Regents also announced a gift from Baylor Regent Randy (B.B.A. ’82) and Myra Pullin of Houston that will name the University’s on-campus marina the Pullin Family Marina in honor of his parents, Walter and Alice Pullin.
The Pullin Family Marina – located on the Brazos River between the Highers Athletic Complex and the Baylor soccer field on University Parks Drive – is a place of recreation, education and leisure for all students, as well as faculty and staff and their guests. Opened in the 1970’s, the marina provides kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, sunfish sailboats, life vests and various sports equipment, as well as a bicycle maintenance shop and sand volleyball court. Improvements to the Pullin Family Marina will include the addition of a shade canopy, aesthetic improvements to the marina facility, boat slip repairs and the creation of covered boat hoist slips, as well as a centerpiece fountain in the marina basin. This work is expected to begin in October.
“We are deeply grateful to Randy Pullin and his wife, Myra, for a gift that very thoughtfully honors his parents and will have a lasting impact on our students,” said Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr. “The Pullin Family Marina is placed beautifully on the Brazos River, one of our hometown city’s greatest assets, and will continue to engage and encourage generations of students to live active and healthy lives.”
New Regents, Re-election of Members Approved
In other action, the Board approved the appointment of three new Regents, re-elected eight current members to new terms and confirmed two Regents appointed by the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Terms begin on June 1.
The three new Regents – Daniel H. Chapman, B.B.A. ’66, M.B.A. ’73, of Dallas and Crested Butte, Colorado; Wayne Fisher, B.B.A./J.D. ’61, of Houston; and Julie Hermansen Turner, B.A. ’67, M.S. ’68, of Dallas – were mutually agreed upon by the Board and the Baylor Alumni Association as part of a settlement reached in March that provides for the addition of three alumni-elected Regents. Initially, these Regents will serve one-, two- and three-year terms. Through a random selection process, Turner was appointed to serve a one-year term through May 31, 2017, Fisher to serve a two-year term through May 31, 2018, and Chapman to serve a three-year term through May 31, 2019. In each year following, all University alumni will be invited to participate in annual open elections, which determine new alumni-elected members of the Board of Regents. The first alumni-elected Regent to succeed the one-year appointee will be seated in June 2017.
“The Board warmly welcomes these accomplished and dedicated Baylor alumni to the Board,” Willis said. “We look forward to their valuable perspectives, as well as those of our re-elected and BGCT-appointed Regents and our student, faculty and alumni Regents. We deeply appreciate their generous commitment of time and talents to help Baylor University flourish in its mission of academic excellence grounded in Christian commitment.”
Ronald D. Murff, B.B.A. ’75, of Dallas, was elected by the Board to serve as 2016-17 chair, while Joel T. Allison, B.A. ’70, of Dallas, was elected vice-chair. Regents re-elected to new three-year terms include:
- Shelley Giglio, B.B.A. ’86, of Atlanta, Georgia
- Larry P. Heard, B.B.A. ’80, of Houston
- Jeff D. Reeter, B.B.A. ’84, of Houston
- William K. Robbins Jr., B.A. ’52, L.L.B. ’54, J.D. ’69, of Houston
- Philip W. Stewart, B.A. ’73, J.D. ’76, of San Antonio
- Richard Willis, B.B.A. ’81, M.B.A. ’82, of Colleyville
- Ronald L. Wilson, B.A. ’71, of Waco
- Kathy Wills Wright, B.S.Ed. ’85, M.S.Ed. ’88, of Arlington, Virginia
BGCT appointees confirmed by the Board are Randy L. Pullin, B.B.A. ’82, of Houston, who was re-elected to a three-year term, and Mark Rountree, B.B.A. ’86, M.T.A. ’87, of Coppell, who was elected by the BGCT last fall to a three-year term.
The Board re-elected Lori E. Baker, B.A. ’93, M.A. ’94, Ph.D., associate professor of anthropology in Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences, to a one-year term as non-voting Faculty Regent. Non-voting Student Regents approved by the Board are Emily Neel, a junior pre-business major from Waco; and Daniel S. Thomas, a senior Baylor Business Fellow from Charlotte, North Carolina.
Elected by the Board to serve one-year terms respectively as non-voting Regent members of the “B” Association and the Bear Foundation are Debbie Bradley Mann, B.S.H.E. ’80, and Brett Beene, B.B.A. ’87.
On Thursday night, Regents and University administration gathered for a special dinner celebrating graduating seniors and their families. With four commencement ceremonies this weekend, the University will confer degrees on the largest graduating class in Baylor history. Regents also were updated on the incoming freshman class, which will be the most selective and among the most academically talented freshman classes in the University’s history. In addition, retention of all undergraduate students is at all-time high of 90.9 percent.
“We are so proud of our graduating seniors, and we pause this weekend to joyfully celebrate with our newest Baylor alumni and their families,” Judge Starr said. “As we look forward to the boundless impact these Baylor graduates will have on our world, we are eager to welcome another exceptional incoming class of students who are drawn to Baylor for its academic excellence, its mission and vision and the transformational experience that will prepare them for worldwide leadership and service.”