Longtime Baylor administrator returns to classics department

Phoebe Suy | Staff Writer

Longtime Baylor administrator Tommye Lou Davis will return to the classics department after serving as Vice President for Constituent Engagement for seven years.

Davis has served in a variety of capacities in the Baylor and Waco community for 48 years.

“Over the past several weeks, Tommye Lou and I have discussed the possibility of her returning to the classroom to teach and serve our students directly, which she cites as her first love,” Livingstone wrote in an email announcing the change to faculty and staff.

Davis’ transition from her role as vice president will be effective September 30. She will return to the classics department as an associate professor in fall 2018.

Davis began teaching Latin at Baylor after earning her bachelor’s degree from Baylor in 1966. In 1968 she earned a master’s degree in educational psychology from Baylor. Davis received numerous outstanding teaching awards throughout her career, including assistant professor with tenure in 1972, associate professor and Master Teacher designation in 1993. Master Teacher is the highest honor granted to Baylor faculty members for sustained excellence in teaching.

“I am excited for her to go back to teaching,” Davis’ former coworker and mentee Jana Hixson said. Hixson and Davis worked together when Hixson was Baylor University’s Director of Community Relations for the Baylor Alumni Network.

Hixson said even in Davis’ role as Vice President for Constituent Engagement, she still talked about her students and being in the classroom.

“I think of her as a wonderful boss, professor, advisor, administrator,” Hixson said. “She was the one that empowered people to be the best of themselves…friendship was a part of her leadership style.”

From 2000-2003, Davis served on the Presidential Library Committee and played an integral role in Baylor’s efforts to be selected as the site for the George W. Bush Presidential Library. She was appointed Chief of Staff to Baylor’s President Robert B. Sloan, Jr. in 2003 and assumed overall responsibility of the project. Davis made the presentation for the library at the White House on behalf of Baylor in 2005.

In 2007, the Waco-Tribune Herald awarded Davis the Difference Maker Award for Economic Development for her Bush Library Project efforts.

“It’s important to know that Baylor is very important to her. She has a love and passion for Baylor University,” Hixson said.

As Vice President for Constituent Engagement, Davis was responsible for a number of Baylor’s outreach efforts, including the Baylor Alumni Network, the Baylor Parents Network, community engagement, continuing education, institutional events and special events and programs.

In June 2015, emails between Tommye Lou Davis and then-regent Chairman Buddy Jones were released as part of the discovery process in a lawsuit filed by Baylor against the Baylor Alumni Association, now known as the Baylor Line Foundation.

The emails indicated a “concerted effort…to snuff out the alumni group’s on-campus presence and ability to operate,” the Waco Tribune-Herald reported.

“Can’t wait to tear that building DOWN!!!! If it is tied to the stadium, few will complain! 🙂 How sweet it will be!” Davis wrote in an April 4, 2012 e-mail to Jones. The building in reference is the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center, which was torn down in 2013.

Following the emails’ release, Davis wrote a letter to the Waco Tribune-Herald.

“I would like to apologize to the Baylor and Waco community for the tone and content of emails that were published in Thursday’s paper,” Davis wrote. “I am grieved that my words, written several years ago due to frustration over what I felt were activities that were greatly damaging the university, were intemperate and unkind.”

Tommye Lou Davis was not available for an interview, Assistant Vice President for Media Communications Lori Fogleman said.

In addition to Davis’ academic and administrative roles, she also served for 28 years as the faculty adviser for Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, a role she will continue.

According to Livingstone, Vice President for Development Dave Rosselli will oversee the Division of Constituent Engagement on an interim basis.