Board of Regents welcomes five new regents at summer retreat

In their annual retreat, the Board of Regents greeted five new members. Photo by Joshua McSwain | RoundUp

By Ana Ruiz Brictson | News Editor

Baylor’s Board of Regents kicked off its annual summer retreat on Wednesday. This year’s meeting took place in San Antonio, and it was the board’s first off-campus retreat since 2019.

During a Thursday meeting, the board welcomed five new regents, talked about Baptist history and shared its thoughts on the upcoming semester.

According to a Baylor press release, the five new regents are Jack F. Harper, executive vice president of ConocoPhillips; Gail W. Stewart, partner with Baker Botts LLP; Ashley Beane Hooper, senior vice president of Allie Beth Allman & Associates; Barbara Calhoun Cargill, senior vice president of Allie Beth Allman & Associates; and student regent James “JD” McDonald, master of divinity student at George W. Truett Theological Seminary. The press release also said all five members participated in a new regent orientation back in June.

Board Chair Mark Rountree said the board has taken significant steps toward achieving gender equity, and the board is now split evenly. He also said the board will continue to work on increasing the racial diversity of regents in order to reflect the students whom they serve.

“This priority is reflected in one of the board’s goals for this next year as we continue to enhance the expertise, diversity, structure and performance of the Baylor Board of Regents,” Rountree said.

Wichita Falls senior Leah Bullinger said she is a big advocate for racial diversity and believes it is important to promote that as a university.

“I think by having leaders at Baylor, it really gives the sounding boards, especially whenever we have the Board of Regents and they’re able to be more diverse and more representative of our Baylor student body,” Bullinger said. “That’s really important — to give a voice to those who may have been historically underrepresented.”

The board also welcomed Alan Lefever, director of the Texas Baptist Historical Collection and lecturer at Truett Seminary, who gave a historical review on the Baptist denomination in Texas.

Additionally, former board Chairs Ronald D. Murff and Joel Allison joined Rountree to discuss the board’s governance reforms. A senior fellow with the Association of Governing Boards also led a discussion about effective board governance and examined the improvements within the board’s governance.

During a Friday meeting, President Linda Livingstone also gave an update on Lady, one of Baylor’s mascots, after her sister, Joy, passed away due to health complications on July 18. Livingstone also announced the approximate enrollment of 20,000 students for the fall semester, the welcoming of new faculty and an update from the Commission on Historic Campus Representations.

Members of the board also took part in Title IX and NCAA compliance training.