John and Marie Chiles Named Founders of Baylor University

January 30, 2012

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Founders Medal presented to Dallas couple for significant service and contributions to Baylor

Baylor University presented John and Marie Chiles of Dallas with one of the University's most distinguished awards -- the Baylor University Founders Medallion -- during the Founders Day ceremony Jan. 30 in Waco Hall.

Established in 1969, the Founders Medal is reserved for those whose service and contributions have been unusually significant to the life and future of the University.

"Just as the Founders of our great University set out to establish an institution that would 'meet the needs of all the ages to come,' the Chiles have faithfully sought to assist Baylor with her greatest needs," said Baylor President Ken Starr. "As you look across the breadth of all that Baylor represents, John and Marie have touched so many lives and, indeed, leave a lasting imprint upon that ever-developing Baylor story. We remain grateful for their enduring friendship."

John H. Chiles earned his bachelor of business administration degree in 1950 from Baylor and his juris doctorate in 1952 from Baylor Law School. Upon graduation, he entered the U.S. Air Force, serving as a Staff Judge Advocate for three years in both the United States and England. While overseas, he met and married the love of his life, Marie, who was serving as a first lieutenant in the Air Force. After being discharged as a captain, John served as an attorney for Humble Oil and Refining Co., which later became ExxonMobil. He retired as senior staff counsel in 1982.

Marie Chiles received her bachelor's degree in mathematics at Chatham University and is a Baylor Alumna-By-Choice. She retired from the business world in 1960. Marie has been an avid student of the decorative arts, studying in England at the Victorian Society in London and the Attingham Summer School. In 1966, her enthusiastic support for many organizations led her to become a full-time volunteer.

Mr. and Mrs. Chiles have been two of Baylor's most loyal benefactors for decades, and their interests have stretched far across campus for more than 40 years.

"True founders"

"John and Marie Chiles are true founders of our modern-day Baylor, having shown remarkable fealty and generosity to Baylor over the many decades since John earned his degrees. As a team, they have made a tremendous impact on Baylor Law and the entire Baylor community," said Brad Toben, dean of Baylor Law School. "They indeed represent and live the ideals of the founders of Baylor University and have been unremitting in their efforts to help our students succeed and become Christian leaders."

Always standing ready to meet the needs of the University, the Chiles are long-time advocates of Baylor Law School, Charter Members of Baylor's Old Main Society and members of the Endowed Scholarship Society and Baylor's Medallion Fellowship. Mr. and Mrs. Chiles were the founders of the Strecker Associates, the original support organization for the Sue and Frank Mayborn Natural Science and Cultural History Museum Complex, and they chaired the executive committee to raise funds for the new facility, which opened to the public in 2004.

As devoted members of the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing Dean's Board, John and Marie enthusiastically support the students and faculty of the nursing school, where they established the Good Samaritan Dean's Fund and the John H. and Marie E. Chiles Endowed Scholarship in Nursing. Mr. and Mrs. Chiles personally donated two simulation "manikins" - named John Houser and JJ - to equip Baylor nursing graduates with the hands-on experience and skills necessary to transition successfully into the medical field. They recently received the inaugural Friends of Nursing Award for their dedicated service.

In 1998, Mr. Chiles was recognized as an outstanding graduate of Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business. The Chiles also are recipients of Baylor's Milton T. Gregory Distinguished Service Award, and the Baylor Alumni Association also honored John and Marie as recipients of the W.R. White Meritorious Service Award in recognition of their exceptional service to the University.

In addition to their faithful commitment to Baylor, both Mr. and Mrs. Chiles maintain committed involvement with their community. They are members of Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas. Mr. Chiles has served in leadership capacities with Crime Stoppers of Waco, the Central Texas Exxon Annuitant Club and the Brazos Higher Education Service Corp. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Dallas County Heritage Society and served as President of the North Texas Exxon Annuitant Club for three terms. In 2001, he was inducted into the Waxahachie High School Hall of Fame. Mrs. Chiles has been a full-time volunteer for non-profit organizations for 46 years, serving on the boards of the Holly Hall Home for the Retired, the Houston Symphony and The Blue Bird Circle in Houston. She served as Director of the Barnes Decorative Arts Course in Waco until 1993, coordinator of the Friends of the Decorative Arts at the Dallas Museum of Art and coordinator of special projects at the Dallas Heritage Society for Old City Park, The Historical Village of Dallas. They were honored by the Dallas Chapter of the National Society of Fundraising Executives in 2000.

About Baylor University's Founders Day Celebration

Each year, the Baylor community celebrates Founders Day, a commemoration of the chartering of Baylor University on Feb. 1, 1845. Prior recipients of the Founders Medal include Charles and Mary Alice Wise, Fred and Princess Cameron, Mary Russell McCall, Ralph and Jean Storm, Troy Mays, Ted and Sue Getterman, Will and Mary Long, Joe L. and Barbara Balfanz Allbritton, Bob Bullock, Samuel Palmer Brooks, W.R. White, Abner V. McCall and Herbert H. Reynolds, among others.

The face of the Founders Medal bears the likeness of Judge R.E.B. Baylor, with the inscription, "Pro Ecclesia Pro Texana." The obverse bears the likeness of Pat Neff Hall. A copy of the medal is on permanent exhibit in the National Numismatic Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

About Baylor

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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