Board of Regents Welcomes New Members, Approves Renovations to Umphrey Law Center and Charles and Sandra Wallace Courtyard

July 20, 2018

Annual retreat meeting includes President’s Report on Illuminate, discussion of higher education issues, setting of tuition and fees for 2019-2020 academic year

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275
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WACO, Texas (July 20, 2018) – During its regular July retreat meeting, the Baylor University Board of Regents welcomed new Board members, heard an update from Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., on the Illuminate Academic Strategic Plan and other University initiatives and approved $1.24 million gift for renovations to the Umphrey Law Center and Charles and Sandra Wallace Courtyard. The Board also discussed higher education issues with state and national leaders and set tuition and fees for the 2019-2020 academic year.

The Board welcomed six new members, who participated Tuesday in new Regent orientation, which included governance training based on Association of Governing Boards (AGB) best practices. The new Board members are:

  • Malcolm B. Foley, doctoral candidate in religion, of Rockville, Maryland, Honoris Causa Student Regent;
  • Katie Jo Baumgardner Luningham, B.A. ’11, of Atlanta, Georgia, Alumni-elected Regent; Judicial Law Clerk at United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit;
  • Rene´ Maciel, M.S.Ed. ’91, of McGregor, BGCT-appointed Regent; missions pastor, First Woodway Baptist Church;
  • Michael McFarland, B.B.A. ’93, Ed.D. ’05, of Crowley, At-large Regent; superintendent of Crowley ISD; football letterwinner 1989-1992;
  • Todd Reppert, B.B.A. ’91, of Houston, At-large Regent; founder and president of Reppert Capital Partners; and
  • Gordon Wilkerson, B.B.A. ’82, of Lubbock, Alumni-elected Regent; president of Wilkerson Properties and Wilkerson Storage Co.

Since October 2015, more than a third of the Board is new, bringing with them new ideas, new perspectives and new backgrounds, said Joel T. Allison, B.A. ’70, chairman of the Board.

“The Board is pleased to welcome our six new Regents, including new alumni-elected Regents and a new student Regent, who all are passionate about serving Baylor and the Baylor Family and excited about the University’s future,” Allison said. “The Board continues to be enthusiastic about the Illuminate Academic Strategic Plan, the significant accomplishments of President Livingstone during her first year in office and the development of her new leadership team. There is an appreciation of the many changes that have been made across the University, and we are looking forward to what the future holds for Baylor.”

President’s report

In her regular report to the Board, President Livingstone updated Regents on the incoming freshman class, which is expected at around 3,400 students and to be the most academically qualified and one of the most diverse classes in University history. She also spoke about faculty recruiting, which continues to draw top scholars to the University, gave an update on the provost search and discussed her goals for the upcoming academic year.

President Livingstone then called on Gary Carini, Ph.D., vice provost for graduate professional education and strategic planning and professor of management, to give an update on Illuminate. This summer, a multidisciplinary working group of 60-plus faculty from 33 academic departments have been engaged in designing an overarching implementation process for the plan, which will launch this fall.

“The Board was very engaged as Dr. Carini provided an overview of faculty involvement from various disciplines in building substance and structure under Illuminate’s Four Pillars – which include our historic commitment to undergraduates through teaching, mentoring and Christian character formation – and the Five Strategic Initiatives, which are areas we envision making significant investments in our research enterprise,” President Livingstone said. “I’m grateful to Dr. Carini, our academic leadership and faculty for their dedication and engagement in this important process. We have received excellent feedback on philanthropic support for Illuminate and are excited to launch the plan in earnest this fall.”

In addition, the Board heard reports from David Rosselli, vice president for advancement, on plans for an upcoming comprehensive fundraising campaign; Brett Dalton, Baylor’s new chief business officer attending his first Board meeting, about the University’s new enterprise resources planning (ERP) system; and Jason D. Cook, vice president for marketing and communications and chief marketing officer, about the first tour of the Baylor Conversation Series with the president and board chair visiting 12 cities across Texas and the United States. Four conversations are scheduled this fall in San Diego, California; Nashville, Tennessee; San Antonio; and Orlando, Florida.

Baylor Law renovations, 2019-2020 tuition and fees

In business action, the Board approved renovations to the Umphrey Law Center, home of the nationally ranked Baylor Law School, to address changing space needs within the building. The renovations include the creation of spaces for Moot Court, flexible classrooms, Baylor Law Review, Pro Bono Clinic and faculty/staff offices, as well as updates to exterior landscaping in honor of the Wallace family. The renovation project is funded by gifts to Baylor Law, including a gift in 2017 from Sherri W. and Robert “Bobby” L. Patton Jr. of Fort Worth to enhance the legal writing and pro bono programs at Baylor Law. In appreciation of the Pattons’ gift, the courtyard entrance at Baylor Law has been designated the Charles and Sandra Wallace Courtyard.

The Board also set tuition and fees for the 2019-2020 academic year, approving a 4 percent increase in tuition, continuing a trend to keep tuition increases at a steady and affordable level for students and their families. Last year, the University reached its goal of a 4 percent increase, which was its lowest tuition increase in 20 years.

With its flat-rate tuition structure, Baylor’s tuition will be $42,842 for the 2019-2020 academic year (or $21,421 per fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters), while the general student fee will be $4,522 for the 2019-2020 academic year (or $2,261 per fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters). There are no increases in lab or vehicle registration fees for 2019-2020. The University will continue to offer a Guaranteed Tuition Option set at $45,342, which provides a predictable tuition rate for families and encourages students to graduate in four years. Tuition for graduate and professional programs will increase similarly.

Foundational to its Illuminate Academic Strategic Plan is the University’s commitment to modest undergraduate tuition increases while providing outstanding student experiences that are both high quality and affordable within a distinctive Christian environment. The tuition increase of 4 percent for 2019-2020 equates to an increase of 3.73 percent when taking into account the total cost of attendance. Tuition remains lower than Baylor’s private peer institutions in Texas and across the country, and the 4-percent increase is comparable with many other Texas schools.

“Baylor is incredibly strong and resilient, and our solid academic reputation and institutional prestige is evidenced by our world-class faculty, the continued interest and strong demand among prospective students, seven consecutive years of fundraising support over $100 million and a strong financial position,” President Livingstone said. “We have committed that Illuminate will not be funded through undergraduate tuition increases and that instead we will seek expansion of our graduate professional programs and new revenue streams. This is critical to advancing Illuminate and providing our students with the highest quality Christian education while maintaining affordability. Baylor’s future is indeed bright, and I look forward to continuing to work alongside our extraordinary faculty, staff, students and Baylor Family and achieve our aspirations as a top-tier Christian research university.”

Thursday retreat

On Thursday as part of the retreat, the Board hosted panel discussions with state and national leaders on many significant issues facing higher education, particularly among Christian institutions. Some of the themes included research funding, accountability, governance, free speech and extending Christian hospitality to students, faculty and staff from different backgrounds. The panels included:

  • Kevin O’Neill, Partner, Arnold & Porter, moderated a discussion on issues facing higher education at the federal level with Terry Hartle, senior vice president, Division of Government and Public Affairs, American Council on Education; and Amy Smith, policy adviser, Arnold & Porter;
  • Susan Ross, political consultant, moderated a discussion on issues surrounding higher education specific to the State of Texas and the upcoming legislative session with Ray Martinez, president, Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT); and Texas State Senators Hon. Kelly Hancock, Hon. Bryan Hughes and Hon. Kirk Watson;
  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton provided an overview of his Baylor experience and the state and federal legal landscape; and
  • President Livingstone moderated a discussion about issues facing Christian higher education institutions with Andy Benton, president, Pepperdine University; Shirley Hoogstra, president, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; and Andy Westmoreland, president, Samford University.

“The Board received a good overview of the many challenges facing higher education from our distinguished panels,” Allison said. “We feel even more confident about Baylor’s place in higher education as a preeminent Christian research university as we bring a different perspective into research and academic initiatives. Baylor certainly can be a light in the world of higher education.”


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.