Baylor University Announces Funding of Health Science and Leadership Chair

June 30, 2020
Honors College

Honors Residential College at Baylor University (Morty Ortega/Baylor University)

Position is part of Baylor Academic Challenge matching program, will benefit Honors College

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (June 30, 2020) – Baylor University today announced the funding of a new endowed faculty position within the Honors College, which will provide increased emphasis within the College on research in the Health Sciences. The $1.5 million gift from Dr. James Robert (JB) Parker of Amarillo, Texas, will combine with a match from the Baylor Academic Challenge to create The James Robert Parker Endowed Chair in Health Science and Leadership.

“Baylor alumni continuously look for opportunities to support our Baylor students, and I am grateful for JB’s generous gift, which will continue that great tradition,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “This significant resource will continue Baylor’s rich legacy of leading researchers and transformational mentors serving as professors. As we continue to broaden and enhance the research and instruction related to the health sciences, we celebrate our alumni who step forward to lead with us and advance the priorities within the University’s strategic plan, Illuminate.”

The James Robert Parker Endowed Chair in Health Science and Leadership will strengthen research and collaboration within the Honors College on behalf of research in the health sciences and healthcare leadership. The chairholder will help teach and mentor the Honors College’s pre-medical, pre-health and science students, a population of approximately 400 students. The Parker Chair also will support students through supervision of Honors theses, connecting Honors students to research programs and developing clinical internship and research partnerships within local, regional and national health care providers and research centers.

“For years, Baylor’s faculty have taken an intentional, transformational approach to teaching our Baylor students, and I am grateful that JB has chosen to honor this incredible legacy through the establishment of the Parker Chair,” said Baylor Vice President for Advancement David Rosselli. “JB has used his expertise and knowledge as a physician to make an impact within his community and throughout the world through service and medical relief trips. I am grateful that his Baylor legacy will grow through the students who will learn and draw inspiration from the teachings and mentoring of our future Parker Chair holders.”

The Parker Chair supports the Baylor’s Give Light Campaign, which undergirds Illuminate and will impact every aspect of campus life – academics, athletics, student life and service learning – while also bolstering financial support for students and for the priorities of Baylor’s 12 schools and colleges. Endowed faculty positions such as the Parker Chair will be transformational in providing leading researchers and educators who will challenge students to grow and learn within their respective areas of expertise. The Honors College’s approach to instruction and faculty-led research at the undergraduate level will be transformationally advanced through the leadership and concentration of resources made possible through the endowed chair’s focus in health sciences.

“My appreciation for JB’s generosity runs deeply,” said Honors College Dean Douglas Henry, Ph.D. “In establishing the Honors College’s first endowed chair, he’s laying a foundation on which we can build great things. His support of honors-level pre-med and pre-health education will improve future health care science, practice and leadership. And in giving back to the University which nurtured his vocation as a surgeon, he’s opening doors of opportunity for bright young men and women to discern God’s call to the worthy art of healing.”

Dr. James Parker, BS ’92, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon from Amarillo, Texas. After graduating from Baylor, James was admitted to the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, where he obtained his Doctor of Medicine in 1996. He stayed in Houston and trained at the University of Texas Health Science Center for his internship and residency. He is the founder of Parker Sports Medicine & Orthopedics in Amarillo. Since 2013, Dr. Parker has spent two weeks per year setting up a hospital in rural Guatemala with his friend, Jay McCown, a surgical technician from Panhandle Surgical Hospital. Over the years, they have been able to perform many different types of orthopedic surgeries. He is a Sports Medicine Physician for West Texas A&M University Athletics, and also serves as the team physician for the Amarillo Dusters, the Amarillo Bulls and the FC Amarillo professional indoor soccer team. Dr. Parker is a member of the Texas Medical Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the Texas Orthopedic Association, the Texas Society of Sports Medicine and the Potter-Randall County Medical Society.

On May 4, 2019, Baylor announced the largest current gift in University history – a $100 million gift to the Give Light campaign. Made by an anonymous donor, the gift builds on the University’s historic strengths and provides a transformational investment in new areas of teaching, research and service. This gift to Baylor is one of only four gifts of $100 million or more to institutions of higher education in Texas.

A significant portion of the $100 million gift created a matching fund to launch the Baylor Academic Challenge, which will maximize Baylor’s investments in promising research and academic programs by matching dollar-for-dollar significant additional gifts from other donors, fueling the University’s academic enterprise. The program seeks to increase the number of endowed faculty positions, helping Baylor generate additional funding to sustain and grow teaching and research in key areas.

Another portion of the $100 million gift provided the lead investment in the Baylor Basketball Pavilion, a state-of-the-art $105 million facility that will become the new home of the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Baylor publicly launched the Give Light campaign on Nov. 1, 2018. To date, the Give Light campaign has raised more than $871 million, more than 75 percent of the $1.1 billion goal. Gifts supporting the University’s academic enterprise have established endowed funds for 25 faculty chairs and professorships, 492 scholarships and 148 funds for growth priorities. More than 65,000 members of the Baylor Family have made a gift to the campaign.

For more information or to support Give Light: The Campaign for Baylor, visit


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 18,000 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 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


The Honors College at Baylor University brings together four innovative interdisciplinary undergraduate programs – the Honors Program, University Scholars, Baylor Interdisciplinary Core and Great Texts – with a shared commitment to providing high-achieving students the opportunity to pursue questions that often fall between the cracks of the specialized disciplines by investigating the writings of scientists along with poets, historians and philosophers. For more information, visit