Baylor Board of Regents Approves Autism Center Construction, New Student Regent

March 5, 2021

Baylor University campus in Waco, Texas (Robert Rogers, Baylor Marketing & Communications)

Board also announces slate of Alumni-elected Regents

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (March 5, 2021) – After winter storms postponed committee meetings during February's quarterly meeting, the Baylor University Board of Regents reconvened committee meetings virtually this week with the full Board taking subsequent action to approve construction of an Autism Center and appointment of a new Student Regent. In addition, the Board announced the slate of Alumni-elected Regent candidates for the upcoming election this spring.

Autism Center construction approved

The Board approved construction of a $2.5 million Autism Clinic within the Department of Communication Science and Disorders in the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences. With funding through donor gifts and department funding, the clinic will be located in repurposed and renovated space in the Cashion/Hankamer complex.

The Clinic will include autism-specific clinical research spaces in Cashion for:

  • Concussion management
  • Voice, reading and social thinking
  • Motor sensory labs
  • Preschool and toddler age accommodations

The construction also will include finishes specific to the needs of clients with autism and new research lab and graduate student space in the Hankamer Academic Center.

University investment policy updated

As part of approving technical adjustments to the University’s investment policy, the Board heard a report on the status of the Baylor endowment, which currently stands at $1.7 billion. According to a 2020 NACUBO-TIAA Study of Endowments, Baylor’s endowment returns continue to be in the top 10% of U.S. endowment returns for the last one- and five-year periods as of June 30, 2020. The value of the University's endowment at that time was approximately $1.4 billion.

Student Regent Approved

The Board approved a new Student Regent for the upcoming academic year, beginning June 1. Arbra Bailey, a third-year theology student at Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary from Colorado Springs, Colorado, will serve as an Honoris Causa (non-voting) Student Regent. The Board of Regents includes two Student Regents.

Alumni-elected Regent Slate

The Board of Regents also announced the slate of Alumni-elected Regent candidates presented for election this spring. The candidates are:

  • Phil Lakin, B.B.A. ’89, M.B.A. ’99, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Katie Jo Luningham, B.A. (University Scholar) ’11, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Gordon Wilkerson, B.B.A. ’82, Lubbock, Texas

More information about the candidates will be shared with eligible voters via email and University social media channels on April 1 and in the spring issue of Baylor Magazine.

The election again will be conducted by an independent third party, through online voting only. Credentials for voting will be provided to all degree-holding alumni of the University only by email at the start of the voting period. The election will be conducted from April 26 through May 6, with results certified on May 7 and announced publicly on May 14. The candidate receiving the most votes will serve a three-year term on the Baylor Board of Regents.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 19,000 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.