Baylor University Announces New Physics Chair Established Through Estate Gift

April 15, 2021
Baylor Sciences Building

Baylor Sciences Building on the Baylor University campus.

Baugh family advances University priorities in materials science

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (April 15, 2021) – Baylor University today announced an estate gift from John and Eula Mae Baugh, creating an endowed chair in physics. The Eula Mae and John Baugh Chair in Physics, which will receive matching funds through the Baylor Academic Challenge, will provide faculty funding within the department of physics and focus on innovative research and teaching in the area of materials science.

“The Baugh family name is synonymous with support of and dedication to the Christian mission and vision of Baylor University,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “John and Eula Mae were steadfastly dedicated to Baylor, and that commitment continued through their daughter, Babs (Baugh), over her lifetime. We are grateful for the Baugh family’s continued commitment through Babs’s daughters and their families. Their philanthropy continues to shape our campus and our future, and we are grateful for the Baugh family’s enduring generosity.”

The Baughs’ $2.5 million gift through their estate establishing The Eula Mae and John Baugh Chair in Physics qualifies for the Baylor Academic Challenge program, the University’s dollar-for-dollar matching program for faculty positions created through donor support that undergird and advance the priorities of Illuminate, the University’s strategic plan. The Baugh Chair’s purpose is to attract and retain a distinguished faculty member within the College of Arts & Sciences’ department of physics, which will further Baylor’s mission and vision within Illuminate and expand academic discovery and teaching in materials science.

In recognition of the family’s support of the restoration of the Tidwell Bible Building, the University has announced the naming of the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foyer at Tidwell in their honor. Renovation and restoration of the iconic building underway on the Baylor campus will provide updated, flexible classrooms to enhance teaching, spaces for community building and consolidated faculty offices within the building for the religion, history and sociology departments.

In their continuing support of Baylor, the family – through the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation – also provided a leadership gift to The Foy Valentine Chair in Christian Ethics. Jackie Baugh Moore, B.S.Ed. ’86, and Julia Baugh Cloud, B.A. ’89, continue to lead philanthropic efforts for the family foundation. Mrs. Moore and Mrs. Cloud are the daughters of Barbara “Babs” Nell Baugh, John and Eula Mae Baugh’s only daughter.

Mr. Baugh was founder and retired senior chairman of SYSCO Corp. He served Baylor from 1987-96 as a trustee and regent and generously supported numerous Baylor programs and projects, wherever he saw a need, for more than 20 years. Mr. Baugh died March 5, 2007, and Mrs. Baugh passed away in August of the same year. Babs Baugh of San Antonio passed away June 14, 2020. She was a dedicated Baylor parent and philanthropist, and after her death, a portion of her parents’ estate was given to the University in accordance with the wishes of John and Eula Mae Baugh, as well as their family.

“I am truly grateful for the transformational generosity of John and Eula Mae Baugh and their family,” said College of Arts & Sciences Dean Lee Nordt, Ph.D. “John Baugh believed strongly in excellence in higher education – in Christian higher education. He truly believed in giving where there was need, and we are humbled that through their estate, the Baughs have given once again to help Baylor excel in areas of need and strategic growth. We celebrate the resources and support that the Baugh Chair will provide for our department of physics, and we give thanks for the legacy of the Baugh name, of the impact that John, Eula Mae and Babs made here, and we are grateful that it continues to impact this University through Jackie and Julia’s dedication and support.”

In January, the Baugh family also provided grant support for Baylor’s research through their philanthropic foundation. Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor of English at Baylor, recently was awarded a $488,000 grant to study “racial mythologies” that have often been accepted uncritically in America throughout the centuries. Racial mythologies, which are stories, anecdotes or legends that elevate one race at the expense of another, can be found in literature, film, political discourse, sermons and more. Garrett, a leading researcher and author on faith and culture, will use the funding to support research and public engagement. The grant enables detailed study of the roots, expansion and acceptance of these mythologies and funds the creation of publications and programming in higher education, church and government settings to spark meaningful conversations about race in America. Through his work, Garrett hopes to address racism by helping participants develop a heightened consciousness of racist mythologies embedded in popular culture and conversation.

John and Eula Mae Baugh were both Alumni Honoris Causa of Baylor, the highest honor bestowed by the University upon non-alumni, and recipients of one of Baylor's most distinguished awards – the Founders Medallion – which is reserved for men and women whose service and contributions have been unusually significant to the life and future of the University. Mr. Baugh also received Baylor's W. R. White Meritorious Service Award, the Herbert H. Reynolds Award for Exemplary Service, the George W. Truett Distinguished Church Service Award and the Abner V. McCall Religious Liberty Award.

The Baughs were among the founding benefactors of Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, as well as lead donors for the construction of the Baugh-Reynolds Campus of Truett Seminary at Baylor. The Baughs also were dedicated in their support of entrepreneurship within the Hankamer School of Business, establishing the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship in 1989, as well as other business programs. The Baughs were supportive of more than 20 additional programs and projects at Baylor throughout the years, including the School of Music and the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, as well as endowed scholarships, academic programs and capital projects.

Babs Baugh was a steadfast supporter of Baylor University. She continued her parents’ support of philanthropic initiatives at the University through word, deed and prayer. An alumna of the University of Maryland with her bachelor’s degree in music education, Babs Baugh gave generously to foster the arts at Baylor. Her continued support of endowed faculty positions honors many of the faculty and alumni she grew to count as friends over her decades of involvement with the University, including support for The Diana R. Garland Endowed Chair of Child and Family Studies, The David E. Garland Chair of Preaching, The Foy Valentine Chair in Christian Ethics and The James Vardaman Endowed Professorship of History.


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.