Baylor Regents Accept Illuminate Strategic Plan to Move Forward

May 11, 2018

Board also announces new Regents; approves operating budget, five new degrees

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275
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WACO, Texas (May 11, 2018) – At its regular spring meeting, the Baylor University Board of Regents accepted the University moving forward with the implementation of Illuminate, Baylor’s Academic Strategic Plan, and took action to approve a $660.1 million operating budget for 2018-2019, five new academic degrees and new Board members.

On Thursday, Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., presented Regents with an overview of Illuminate that included the plan’s foundational Four Pillars, five Signature Academic Initiatives and “Give Light,” a multi-year comprehensive capital campaign to provide the resources necessary to achieve the strategic plan’s objectives.

Since providing an initial framework in February, President Livingstone, University academic leadership and the deans of Baylor’s 12 colleges and schools and University Libraries have discussed and refined the plan, synthesizing input from two on-campus and several off-campus Baylor Conversation Series events and an open-ended online feedback form from faculty, staff and students. They also developed working groups for each Pillar and Initiative and continued engagement with the Faculty Senate.

In her presentation, the President outlined Illuminate’s Four Pillars, built on the aspirations in Pro Futuris, that Baylor will be a community recognized for:

  • Unambiguously Christian educational environment;
  • Transformational undergraduate education;
  • Research and scholarship marked by quality, impact and visibility; and
  • Nationally recognized programs in human performance through the arts and athletics.

President Livingstone also announced the plan’s five multidisciplinary Signature Academic Initiatives, which focus on key challenges facing society today:

  • Health – Research and collaboration in this area will focus on environmental, family and community determinants of health, biomedical research, health policy, law, leadership and ethics, and undergraduate health and medical education.
  • Data Sciences – Research, educational and professional training in this area will focus on biomedical informatics, cybersecurity and business analytics, with an overarching theme of ethical uses of large-scale data.
  • Materials Science – Research and collaboration in this area will focus on technologies that make products faster, stronger and lighter, providing solutions for enhanced quality of life.
  • Human Flourishing and Ethics – Research and collaboration in this area will focus on understanding the conditions by which humans, communities and societies flourish.
  • Baylor in Latin America – Research, collaboration and engagement in this area will focus on health and disease prevention; business development and international trade; human capital formation and education; immigration, migration and human trafficking; congregational development; democratic governance and economics; and culture and arts.

“These selected ‘signature’ academic initiatives will amplify and expand our Christian commitment and position Baylor for leadership in fields of national importance. By strengthening scholarship, deepening learning and enhancing teaching, these initiatives will support our commitment to excellence in undergraduate education and growth in graduate education,” President Livingstone said. “Collaboration is vital to finding solutions to the immense challenges facing our world. Baylor’s Illuminate initiatives will be developed around areas where existing collaboration is yielding results and where continued work and additional investment will elevate the University’s research profile.”

Following acceptance of Illuminate by the Board, Baylor leadership will establish University-wide faculty implementation teams over the summer who will work on an implementation plan and top-level metrics to measure success.

“We are excited to move forward with Illuminate, as we accelerate our quest toward preeminence as a Christian research university and strategically chart our path over the next five years and beyond,” President Livingstone said.

Board approves operating budget, new degrees

Regents approved a $660.1 million annual operating budget for 2018-2019, which includes an additional $9.9 million for scholarships – both merit and need-based – for undergraduates, graduates and professional students, and graduate assistantships. The budget supports new and replacement faculty and staff positions, merit raises and more competitive stipends for graduate assistants. The budget takes effect June 1.

In addition, the Board approved five new degree programs:

  • Ph.D. in Preaching, the only one of its kind in the free-church tradition offered at a major research university;
  • U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing (USAGPAN), a two-phase, 36-month program culminating in a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree;
  • Master of Arts in Teaching and Joint Bachelor of Science In Education/Master of Arts in Teaching, which allows students to earn a master’s degree and an initial teacher licensure for the State of Texas;
  • Master of Arts in Classics and Joint Bachelor of Arts/Master Arts in Classics, which will serve students interested in secondary education, including at Christian and classical schools, and students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Classics after completing the M.A.; and
  • Doctor of Occupational Therapy, a post-professional program to transition currently practicing occupational therapists with a master’s degree in occupational therapy to OTD and help meet the need for occupational therapy services in a growing range of settings.

The Board also authorized the funding to negotiate and execute a contract for a human resources and financial cloud-based enterprise system.
Board Leadership, Committee Chairs, New Regents

Following last year’s implementation of improvements and best-practice recommendations to the Board’s structure and governance, Regents voted to approve officers and committee chairs, who also will serve on the Executive Committee, for 2018-2019:

Re-elected as chair and vice chairs are:

  • Joel T. Allison, B.A. ’70, of Dallas, Chair;
  • Daniel H. Chapman, B.B.A. ’66, M.B.A. ’73, of Dallas, Vice Chair;
  • Jerry K. Clements, J.D. ’81, of Austin, Vice Chair; and
  • Mark Hurd, B.B.A. ’79, of Redwood Shores, California, Vice Chair.

“I am appreciative of the confidence the Board has placed in me as Chairman over the past year, and certainly as we look forward to the future,” said Chairman Allison. “My love for Baylor runs deep, and I am willing to serve this great institution however called. We have made great progress over the past year, and there is much more to be done as we unify the Baylor Family behind the Illuminate strategic plan, which will benefit our students, faculty and the university overall.”

Added President Livingstone: “Chairman Allison has guided the Board over the past year with a steady hand and, as the statesman he is, worked tirelessly to bring unity and healing to the Baylor Family. He has stayed true to his four ‘non-negotiables’ on decision-making adopted by the Board: Will this decision keep Baylor a Christ-centered university? Will this decision stay true to our mission? Will this reflect our core convictions of what Baylor stands for? Is this the right thing to do for the right reason? I look forward to continuing to work over the next year with Joel and our Board of Regents as we implement our academic strategic plan and strategically advance the university.”

Elected as committee chairs:

  • Academic Affairs – Jennifer Walker Elrod, B.A. ’88, of Houston, Chair, and Alicia D.H. Monroe, M.D., of Missouri City, Texas, Vice Chair;
  • Advancement and Development – Dan Hord III, B.B.A. ’89, of Midland, Chair, and Jeff D. Reeter, B.B.A. ’84, of Houston, Vice Chair;
  • Audit – Mark Rountree, B.B.A. ’86, M.T.A. ’87, of Dallas, Chair, and Jill Manning, B.B.A. ’84, of Dallas, Vice Chair;
  • Compliance and Regulatory Affairs – Randy Lee Pullin, B.B.A. ’82, of Houston, Chair, and Mark E. Lovvorn, B.B.A. ’76, B.Acc. ’77, of Dallas, Vice Chair;
  • Finance and Facilities – Larry P. Heard, B.B.A. ’80, of Houston, Chair, and Miles Jay Allison, B.B.A. ’78, M.S. ’80, J.D. ’81, of Frisco, Vice Chair;
  • University Leadership and Compensation – Mark A. McCollum, B.B.A. ’80, of Houston, Chair, and William (Bill) S. Simon, of Rogers, Arkansas, Vice Chair;
  • Nominating, Governance and Regent Leadership – J. Cary Gray, B.A. ’79, B.Acc. ’80, J.D. ’83, of Houston, Chair, and Julie Hermansen Turner, B.B.A. ’67, M.S.E.D ’68, of Dallas, Vice Chair; and
  • Student Life – Kim Wilson Stevens, B.S.Ed. ’93, of Waco, Chair, and Dennis R. Wiles, Ph.D., of Arlington, Vice Chair.

In other action, the Board elected two new at-large Regents:

  • Michael McFarland, B.B.A. ’93, Ed.D. (Educational Administration) ’05, of Crowley – three-year term; superintendent of Crowley ISD; football letterwinner 1989-1992; member of The Word Church, Fort Worth; and
  • Todd Reppert, B.B.A. (Accounting) ’91, of Houston – three-year term; founder and president of Reppert Capital Partners; member of Second Baptist Church, Houston.

Elected by Baylor alumni and welcomed by the Board to three-year terms as alumni-elected Regents are:

  • Katie Jo Baumgardner Luningham, B.A. (University Scholar) ’11, of Atlanta, Georgia; Judicial Law Clerk at United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit; member of Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas; and
  • Gordon Wilkerson, B.B.A. ’82, of Lubbock; president of Wilkerson Properties; member of First Baptist Church of Lubbock.

Regents re-elected by the Board to three-year teams are:

  • J. Cary Gray, B.A. ’79, B.Acc. ’80, J.D. ’83, of Houston – final three-year term;
  • Dan Hord III, B.B.A. ’89, of Midland – final three-year term;
  • William (Bill) S. Simon, of Rogers, Arkansas – second three-year term; and
  • Kim Wilson Stevens, B.S.Ed. ’93, of Waco – second three-year term.

Regents appointed/reappointed by the Baptist General Convention of Texas last fall and confirmed by the Board are:

  • Rene´ Maciel, M.S.Ed. (Educational Psychology) ’91, of McGregor; missions pastor, First Woodway Baptist Church;
  • Joel T. Allison, B.A. ’70, of Dallas; third three-year term; and
  • Jennifer Walker Elrod, B.A. ’88, of Houston; third three-year term.

Honoris Causa Student Regents approved by the Board for one-year terms are:

  • Will Cassara, a sophomore pre-business major, of Keller – second-term voting; and
  • Malcolm B. Foley, doctoral candidate in religion, of Rockville, Maryland.

Terms begin on June 1.

“This past year has included many significant governance changes for the Baylor Board of Regents, and we have remained resolutely committed to living out Baylor’s mission in all decisions that we make,” Chairman Allison said. “We welcome our new Regents and look forward to having them share their experience, insight and passion for Baylor University as we focus on supporting President Livingstone, the administration and faculty and providing strategic guidance on the needs of the University and our Baylor Family.”

The Board also expressed its appreciation to Regents who have completed their terms of service: Bob Beauchamp of Houston; Linda Brian, B.A. ’69, of Amarillo; Wayne Fisher, B.B.A. ’61, L.L.B. ’61, of Houston; David H. Harper, B.B.A. ’88, of Dallas; past Chair Ronald D. Murff, B.B.A. ’75, of Dallas; and Student Regent Hannah Vecseri, a senior University Scholar from Houston.

Newly Promoted, Tenured Faculty Honored

On Thursday night, Regents, President’s Council and the Council of Deans gathered for a special reception and dinner in the Paul and Katy Piper Great Hall at Truett Seminary honoring newly promoted and newly tenured faculty at Baylor.

Three commencement ceremonies, as well as commencement for Truett Seminary, are scheduled for this weekend, as Baylor will confer degrees upon nearly 3,000 graduates.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 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 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.