Baylor University Announces $1.5 Million Gift Establishing New Social Work Chair
Fuller Family Endowed Chair for Social Justice will receive support through Illuminate Chair Matching Program
WACO, Texas (May 4, 2023) – Baylor University today announced a $1.5 million gift from Charlie and Cindy Fuller of Woodway, Texas, and their family, establishing an endowed faculty chair position to support innovative research and teaching within the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work.
The Fuller Family Endowed Chair for Social Justice will focus on social justice for marginalized populations and a commitment to informing the lives of churches through research. The endowed chair supports the Human Flourishing, Leadership and Ethics initiative in the University’s strategic plan, and will qualify for matching support through the Give Light Campaign’s Illuminate Chair Matching Program.
“We are truly grateful to the Fuller family who have chosen to establish this significant family legacy within the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. This gift will further support our faculty’s research and the impact made through their scholarship and preparation of future practitioners,” President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., said. “We honor their family’s faith, which has informed their gift and inspired their decision to support research impacting many areas of today’s society. We give thanks for their transformational gift.”
The Fuller Family Endowed Chair for Social Justice will be used to attract, retain and support a distinguished Christian faculty member who will research and teach in the area of social justice for people made vulnerable in society. The chairholder also will have a commitment to educating and supporting the lives of churches through research. Consistent with the profession of social work’s Code of Ethics, particular attention will be given to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed and/or living in poverty. This individual will promote the growth and development of research and scholarly activity in social work and will be a significant contributor in furthering the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work’s position as a national leader in this area.
“The Fuller Chair provides the Garland School with an opportunity to illuminate biblical justice through social work research, seeking to understand and support the needs of the most vulnerable in our society,” said Jon Singletary, Ph.D., dean and holder of The Diana R. Garland Endowed Chair of Child and Family Studies. “The scholar we identify will strengthen the School’s legacy of advocacy and leadership in this area, while also serving the faith community through our broad network of churches.”
The Fuller Family Endowed Chair for Social Justice was established by a gift from Charles and Cynthia Fuller, as well as their daughters, Becky and Sarah, in support of the Garland School of Social Work. The family, which includes three Baylor alumni, provided the following remarks as their purpose in giving to support faculty endowment at Baylor:
“The Fuller Family feels a deep responsibility to heed the consistent call of the gospel to care for the poor, the oppressed and those that have been marginalized by society. The two-fold call to both advocacy and action is rooted deeply within Scripture, from the Hebrew Scriptures to the Gospels to the very end of the New Testament. It is a call universal to all who claim the name of Christ, both as individuals and as churches.”
A family’s legacy of support
Charlie Fuller (B.M.E. ’79 cum laude, M.Div. ’10), Cindy Fuller (B.M.E. ’79, B.M. ’80, both magna cum laude) are long-time supporters of Baylor University, and have maintained deep roots within the institution, both as proud alumni and as Baylor Parents. The Fullers’ daughter, Becky Fuller (J.D. ’08), continued the Baylor tradition.
Charlie is a native of North Little Rock, Arkansas, and Cindy a native of Grand Prairie, Texas. Charlie and Cindy met as music students at Baylor in the 1970s and married in 1980. Their daughters, Becky and Rachel, were born in Azle, Texas, and Sarah in Longview, Texas. Their travels took them as a family from Texas to Arizona, back to Texas and then to Arkansas. In 1999, the Fuller family was returning to Little Rock with a choir from Ouachita Baptist University. Their plane crashed on arrival and middle daughter Rachel died from injuries sustained in the crash.
Upon graduation from Ouachita and Baylor Law School, Becky Fuller moved to the Dallas area and practiced law before having three sons. Sarah Fuller, after graduation from Hardin-Simmons University, moved to Seattle, where she completed a master’s degree at Antioch University, began a practice in mental health counseling and had a daughter. In 2017, she and her daughter moved to the Dallas area, as well.
Charlie Fuller has been a teacher, choral director, music professor, dean, chaplain, coach, minister and pastor. He was named Professor Emeritus of Music by Ouachita in 2016, where he also served as dean of the School of Fine Arts. In addition to his degrees from Baylor, he holds graduate music degrees from West Texas State University and Arizona State University. He holds the Doctor of Ministry degree from the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond and the Associate Certified Coach credential from the International Coach Federation. From 2003-2022, he was a part of the music staff of The CenturyMen, a chorus that shared the Gospel through song for 53 years until disbanding in 2022, serving the last nine years as music director/conductor.
Fuller also was minister for congregational life at Second Baptist Church in Little Rock and executive pastor of the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, D.C. The position of transition pastor for Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco brought Charlie and Cindy back to Texas in 2019.
Charlie Fuller’s service with numerous organizations as an officer or board member includes the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, American Choral Directors Association, Family Promise of Pulaski County Arkansas and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.
Cindy Fuller is a retired lecturer in music at Ouachita. In addition to her two degrees from Baylor, she also holds a graduate music degree from Sam Houston State University. Beginning as a teenager, Cindy served numerous Baptist churches in Texas, Arizona and Arkansas in various capacities as a pianist, organist and children’s choir director. Before her time at Ouachita, she taught music lessons while raising three young daughters. From 2009-2022, she was the organist for The CenturyMen and currently serves as organist/pianist for Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco.
Baylor publicly launched the Give Light campaign on Nov. 1, 2018. To date, the campaign has raised $1.3 billion. The Campaign has seen 89,116 alumni, parents and friends give to the University’s priorities, as well as establishing 791 endowed scholarships and 44 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 DIANA R. GARLAND SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
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 that explores humanity, engages spirituality and promotes equality. Upholding its mission of preparing social workers in a Christian context for worldwide service and leadership, the School offers a baccalaureate degree (BSW); a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree available in Waco or online; three joint-degree options, MSW/MBA, MSW/MDiv and MSW/MTS, through a partnership with Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business and George W. Truett Theological Seminary; and an online Ph.D. program. Visit the School of Social Work website to learn more.