$2 Million Gift to Baylor University Establishes Medical Humanities Chair
Scott & Susan Orr Family Endowed Chair in Medical Humanities & Christian Faith will receive support through the Illuminate Chair Matching Program
WACO, Texas (Oct. 26, 2023) – Baylor University today announced a $2 million gift from Scott and Susan Orr of The Woodlands, Texas, establishing the Scott & Susan Orr Family Endowed Chair in Medical Humanities & Christian Faith to support teaching, mentorship and innovative research in the Medical Humanities Program within the College of Arts & Sciences. This endowed chair brings the total number of new endowed chair and faculty positions funded by the Give Light campaign to 45.
The Orr Family Chair supports the Health and Human Flourishing, Leadership and Ethics initiatives within the University’s strategic plan Illuminate and qualifies for matching support through the Give Light Campaign’s Illuminate Chair Matching Program. The Scott & Susan Orr Family Endowed Chair in Medical Humanities & Christian Faith is the second endowed chair established within the Medical Humanities Program since 2020.
“We are truly grateful for Scott and Susan Orr and for their family’s generous support of the faculty of Baylor University,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “The Orr Chair provides significant resources with which to support our faculty within the Department of Medical Humanities and to foster strategic growth within the Department. We are truly grateful for this family’s commitment to Baylor’s Christian mission and vision, and we are grateful for the support this provides to our faculty, who invest of their time and talents in our students through transformational teaching and mentoring.”
The Orr Family Chair will be housed within the Medical Humanities Program, one of the few of its kind in the country for students who aspire to careers in healthcare and other affiliated professions. The program is intended to pair foundational science curriculum with courses in history, literature, Christian philosophy and other disciplines to inspire deep discussion and critical thinking, providing a holistic, interdisciplinary approach for many pre-health students. The Orr Family Chair will support the program’s Christian identity by fostering an appreciation with students of the importance of the doctor-patient relationship, the spiritual and emotional dimensions of disease and a heightened awareness of the human experience of illness.
The Scott & Susan Orr Family Endowed Chair in Medical Humanities & Christian Faith was established by the Orrs, who became connected to Baylor University through their children, Andrew Orr, B.B.A. ’15, M.B.A. ’17, and Jennifer (Orr) Bondaruk, B.S.N. ’16, as well as Jennifer’s husband, Mark Bondaruk, M.Div. ’19. Jennifer and Andrew both participated in the Medical Humanities Program, becoming students of Lauren A. Barron, M.D., inaugural Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., Selma DeBakey and Lois DeBakey Chair for Medical Humanities, clinical professor and director of the Medical Humanities Program.
“The Christian mentorship, teaching and compelling research of our faculty is central to the mission of the College of Arts & Science’s Medical Humanities Program, and we are grateful to Scott and Susan Orr for this endowment,” said Lee Nordt, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “It will provide transformative educational experiences for our students. We look forward to the additional support the Orr Chair will provide as this program continues to grow and flourish.”
The Orrs’ motivation for this gift is to recruit and retain faculty leaders who will continue the program’s rich tradition of intentional mentorship, fostering deep discussions and inspiring prospective physicians, nurses, healthcare administrators and other allied healthcare professionals through their teaching on the history, impact and role of the Christian faith in healthcare delivery and administration.
“The Medical Humanities Program at Baylor is very special to our family, and we’re thrilled to be able to support the program in this enduring way with our gift,” Scott Orr said. "We have the utmost confidence in Dr. Barron as she leads and grows the program and are very excited to see the program’s impact on students in all areas of healthcare.”
“Healthcare and faith touch and impact us all, and with this gift we hope that students for years to come will have the opportunity to use what they’ve learned through the program to make a practical impact on the lives of patients in need of healthcare,” Susan Orr said.
The support through the Illuminate Matching Chair Program for the Scott & Susan Orr Family Endowed Chair in Medical Humanities & Christian Faith will provide greater support for the chair’s research and other activities related to academic discovery and instruction. The matching program supports the University’s efforts to generate high-impact research and scholarship, focusing especially upon research faculty chairs that support Illuminate’s five academic initiatives: Health; Data Sciences; Materials Science; Human Flourishing, Leadership and Ethics; and Baylor in Latin America.
A family’s legacy of support
Scott and Susan Orr and their family have a deep history in medicine and healthcare, and they are committed followers of Jesus Christ. With this gift, Scott and Susan hope to bring these two passions together to benefit future generations at Baylor.
Scott and Susan both attended the University of Puget Sound and were married in 1986. Scott went on to obtain a juris doctor at Western State University College of Law. Scott spent his career in the healthcare field, initially working for Medical Evaluation Specialists, becoming its president and general counsel, and then Veterans Evaluation Specialists, as its senior vice president and general counsel. Scott and Susan raised Andrew and Jennifer in El Dorado Hills, California, and when Andrew was in 11th grade, he accompanied Scott on a business trip to Dallas, following which they drove down to Waco to tour Baylor. Andrew decided on the spot that Baylor was where he wanted to attend college, and Jennifer ended up following him two years later. Scott and Susan visited Andrew and Jennifer often over the course of their time at Baylor, and they became connected to the Waco community and the Medical Humanities Program, initially through founding director Michael Attas, M.D., and later through Dr. Barron. They were captivated by Dr. Barron’s passion for mentoring students and her strong belief in the role of faith in healthcare.
Following their time at Baylor, Scott and Susan’s children both have gone on to careers in the healthcare field. Andrew is the vice president of operations at Health by Design. While at Baylor, Andrew was a member of the Medical Service Organization, American Medical Student Association, Future Healthcare Executives and Alpha Lambda Delta honor society. Andrew and his wife, Callie, are active in their church and community in Boerne, Texas, and they recently welcomed their first child, a son, Rowan MacGregor, to their family. Jennifer Bondaruk is a registered nurse, working in both the ED and ICU, and is completing a master’s degree in nursing. While at Baylor, Jennifer was a member of the National Student Nurses Association, Medical Services Organization and the Baylor Student Nurses Association. Jennifer and Mark have a daughter, Maya James, and they enjoy serving their community in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Scott and Susan are retired and enjoy spending time traveling and visiting Maya and Rowan.
Baylor publicly launched the Give Light campaign on Nov. 1, 2018. To date, the campaign has raised $1.4 billion. The Campaign has seen 96,164 alumni, parents and friends give to the University’s priorities, as well as establishing 818 endowed scholarships and 45 endowed faculty positions. For more information or to support Give Light: The Campaign for Baylor, visit the Give light website.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 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 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
ABOUT THE COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s largest academic division, consisting of 25 academic departments in the sciences, humanities, fine arts and social sciences, as well as 11 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. The College’s undergraduate Unified Core Curriculum, which routinely receives top grades in national assessments, emphasizes a liberal education characterized by critical thinking, communication, civic engagement and Christian commitment. Arts & Sciences faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit the College of Arts & Sciences website.