President Starr Appoints Institutional Advancement Task Force

July 6, 2010

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Baylor University President Ken Starr today announced the formation of an 11-member task force that will focus for the next two months on ways to advance the university's institutional interests.

With a broad mandate, the task force brings together a small group with historic ties to Baylor who will collaborate to identify a set of specific, highly practical suggestions focused on moving the university forward quickly in its institutional advancement goals. The task force will begin its work immediately and present its suggestions to the president by early September, ahead of Starr's inauguration on Sept. 17.

The task force will be co-chaired by Baylor Regent Kathy Wills Wright, BS '85, MSEd '88, of Washington, D.C., and former Regent Joseph B. Armes, BBA '83, MBA '84, of Dallas. Those agreeing to serve on the task force are:

    • Dr. Robert M. Baird, professor of philosophy, Master Teacher and Faculty University Ombudsperson at Baylor
    • David R. Brooks, BBA '80, MBA '81, chairman and CEO of McKinney-based Independent Bank Group and chairman of the board at Noel-Levitz Inc.
    • Joe E. Coleman, BBA '55, JD '57, former Baylor Regent and senior partner with the firm of Looper Reed & McGraw, Houston
    • Tommye Lou Davis, BA '66, MSEd '68, associate professor of classics, Master Teacher and associate dean of the Honors College at Baylor
    • Ronald L. English, academic support advisor for referrals, Paul L. Foster Success Center, and Staff Council chair
    • Dr. Kenneth L. Hall, CEO of Buckner International and past president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas
    • The Honorable Thomas R. Phillips, BA '71, retired Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court and partner with Baker Botts LLP, Austin
    • Jeffrey D. Reeter, BBA '84, Baylor Regent and managing partner, The Texas Financial Group - Houston, Austin, San Antonio - of Northwestern Mutual Financial Network
    • Grant Teaff, former Baylor head football coach and executive director of the American Football Coaches Association

"I am grateful to Kathy Wright and Joe Armes for agreeing to lead this important initiative and to the able and dedicated Baylor family members, who have agreed to serve on this institutional task force which will provide me information and guidance essential to the identification of our key institutional advancement priorities," Starr said. "Particularly in light of Baylor's recent experience with respect to the future of the Big 12 athletic conference, the Baylor Nation is poised to rally enthusiastically around Texas's oldest institution of higher learning and help advance, quickly, this storied and beloved university. The task force will assist us in identifying the correct priorities as we continue to reach out to those who love Baylor and wish to see her prosper. "

Armes said one of the keys for the task force will be to consider institutional advancement in a manner that is broadly defined.

"It includes everything that touches our university and our brand - development, branding, messaging, as well as the channels through which we communicate," Armes said. "Our commitment to being a comprehensive research university coupled with our faithfulness to Christ makes us a distinct offering within American higher education. The task force will assess how we can more effectively tell our story and communicate what's different and better about Baylor to various audiences, whether they are potential students, prospective faculty, friends or donors."

During the tenuous weeks where the future of the Big 12 and Baylor's place in a major conference seemed uncertain, Wright said she was heartened by the way the Baylor Nation rallied around their university and showed the power of visible support.

"One of the purposes of this task force will be to maintain that momentum and use it to further Baylor University in every area," Wright said. "At some point in the future, we may be planning for a comprehensive capital campaign, but at this time, our task force is focused on more immediate institutional advancement goals. As much enthusiasm as there is for Ken Starr as president, he has equal, if not more, enthusiasm for Baylor. We look forward to working alongside Judge Starr to multiply his efforts in identifying Baylor's greatest strengths and priorities, and determining ways for us to enhance our outreach."

Wright and Armes both said they appreciate the willingness of fellow task force members to serve in this capacity. The co-chairs said task force members bring to this exercise great energy, as well as an extensive reservoir of talent, experience and influence that will greatly benefit the work of the task force.

"It is a testament to their love for Baylor and their recognition of the opportunities that lie ahead of us, and it's also evidence of the enthusiasm surrounding Judge Starr's appointment as president, that these outstanding leaders have agreed to serve in this way," Armes added. "I'm pleased that Judge Starr has made this project a top priority, and we look forward to working with him and advising him in any way he deems helpful."

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275