$2M Gift Establishes Chair for Baylor’s Global Mission Leadership Program

February 20, 2019

Diana R. Garland School of Social Work receives faculty support for acclaimed program

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-710-6275
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WACO, Texas (Feb. 20, 2019) – Baylor University today announced a gift of $2 million to create an endowed Chair in Global Leadership within Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. The gift, which was made by Baylor parents from California, will support the School’s nationally renowned Global Mission Leadership (GML) program, whose purpose is to contribute to Christ-centered international development through culturally informed education.

In addition to providing programmatic funding for the GML program, the gift also will support a full-time faculty member to lead the program and help grow its outreach and curriculum to equip not only GML students, but also Garland School students interested in serving globally.

GML contributes to international development through its scholarship program that identifies, recruits and sponsors leaders from communities around the world to study at Baylor. While studying at the University, these international leaders enhance Baylor’s global classroom by providing international perspectives to students and faculty alike. Then, graduates subsequently return to their home countries for transformational service.

“We are grateful for these Baylor parents who saw an opportunity to amplify Baylor’s ability to shine a light in communities throughout the world through their generous investment in the Global Mission Leadership program within our School,” said Jon Singletary, Ph.D., dean of the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. “The program has already produced graduates who are working in their communities to effect change. Our alumni are working in government, in medical settings and in nonprofit organizations in Uganda, Cambodia, Myanmar and many other nations, providing advocacy, social services and education to their communities. We are grateful for this opportunity to provide sustaining support to grow this incredible program and ensure its place in the future of Baylor University and Baylor Social Work.”

The family’s gift to the University began with a curiosity to know more about Baylor’s long-term goals and priorities. The family was inspired by the program that had put into practice many of their own beliefs about effective, Christ-centered, missional approaches to global ministry, beliefs distilled from years of leading mission trips and other service opportunities.

“What we did not expect was that Baylor's initiatives would so closely align with our family's heart and our ministry,” the family said. “That was an unexpected ‘Aha!’ moment. What we found unique about GML is that it is mission minded. The students are coming in with a calling that is faith rooted in their spiritual journey as Christians to say that ‘I believe God is calling me to the mission field to work with child protection issues or economic development, and (GML) will help launch my career and help me be better equipped to do more in the country that I’m from.’ So that just blew us away.”

The Global Mission Leadership program was established in 2009 and provides program participants with a Global Mission Leadership concentration as part of a master’s degree in social work, a credential largely unattainable in many countries where the profession of social work is rare. The two-year degree program includes a foundation year of in-person classes and an internship in Waco, Texas, followed by an internship year in the applicant’s home country or within the country where they are choosing to serve upon graduation.

GML requires significant resources to implement, including scholarships for students, faculty costs and programmatic funding. The new Chair of Global Leadership will defray some of those costs, helping to ensure that the program will remain a part of the School’s future. For the Baylor parents who established the Chair, this opportunity to help secure the program’s future was their motivation for giving to Baylor, and Baylor’s commitment to remaining an unambiguously Christian institution gave them the confidence that the program would endure.

“Baylor really is the last of their kind,” the parents said. “There isn’t a university that has all of the characteristics of a major university that’s also rooted in faith and unapologetically Christian.”

The family’s gift provides momentum for Give Light: The Campaign for Baylor, an ambitious, $1.1 billion comprehensive philanthropic campaign designed to undergird Illuminate, the University’s academic strategic plan, and they expressed their appreciation for the support provided by the Office of Advancement and the director of development, whose insight connected them to the GML program, which they said is “the beginning of a long-term relationship rooted in Christ’s love for His church.”


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.


Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work is home to one of the leading graduate social work programs in the nation with a research agenda focused on the integration of faith and practice. Upholding its mission of preparing social workers in a Christian context for worldwide service and leadership, the School offers a baccalaureate degree (B.S.W.); a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree available on the Waco or Houston campuses or online; three joint-degree options, M.S.W./M.B.A., M.S.W./M.Div. and M.S.W./M.T.S., through a partnership with Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business and George W. Truett Theological Seminary; and an online Ph.D. program. Visit www.baylor.edu/social_work to learn more.