Baylor University Mourns Passing of Alumnus, Benefactor and Former Regent William K. Robbins Jr.

Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences named in recognition of Bill and Mary Jo Robbins’ transformational philanthropy in 2014

April 15, 2023
William K. “Bill” Robbins

Baylor University alumnus, benefactor and former Regent William K. Robbins Jr.

Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media & Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (April 15, 2023) – Baylor University is mourning the passing of longtime University benefactor and dedicated alumnus William K. “Bill” Robbins of Houston. Bill is survived by his beloved wife, Mary Jo Robbins, with whom he shared a passionate love of Baylor and a deep commitment to its Christian mission.

A visitation will be held on Thursday, April 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Forest Park Lawndale Funeral Home in the Grand Chapel, 6900 Lawndale St., Houston, Texas 77023. The funeral service will take place Friday, April 21, at 11 a.m. at Tallowood Baptist Church, 555 Tallowood Rd., Houston, Texas 77024 with a reception following. A burial service will take place at 3 p.m. at the Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery, 6900 Lawndale St., Houston, Texas 77023.

“We are praying for Mary Jo, their family and so many in our Baylor community who had formed deep friendships with Bill over so many decades of support,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “We mourn his passing, but we honor his life of service and the tremendous faith that guided and inspired him. The impact he leaves behind at Baylor is nothing short of transformational. He has supported, guided and exhorted our faculty and administration in the areas of healthcare and leadership, and the legacy that he and Mary Jo have created is truly humbling. Bill was renowned as a business leader and healthcare expert, but, most of all, he was known as a man of faith. What a powerful legacy.”

The Robbinses have a deep sense of commitment to Christian missions, education and healthcare. Bill and Mary Jo have supported important causes throughout the world, both personally and through The Robbins Foundation. The Robbins Foundation’s mission is to tell the world about Jesus, educate and heal the sick. They support organizations in the United States, Canada, India and other countries, ranging from youth programs to post-secondary education programs, health care initiatives, the arts, entertainment, music and science.

At Baylor, their steadfast philanthropy has supported everything from institutional initiatives to scholarships to the Robbins Institute for Health Policy and Leadership within the Hankamer School of Business, as well as Robbins Chapel within Brooks College. In March, Bill and Mary Jo visited Baylor’s campus to dedicate the Mary Jo Robbins Clinic for Autism Research and Practice, named as part of a leadership gift by Bill in loving honor of his wife. The clinic is housed within the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences, which itself was named in honor of Bill and Mary Jo to recognize a 2014 gift the couple made to support the newly formed academic unit.

“Bill had a vision for Baylor and for the opportunities available to our Baylor students,” said Robbins College Dean Jason R. Carter, Ph.D. “We pray for Mary Jo and their family in this season of grief. Bill’s commitment to supporting our faculty has left an enduring impact. We are proud to carry forward his name, honoring his legacy through our research, teaching and mentoring of Robbins College students.”

“We are praying for Mary Jo and the rest of the Robbins family,” said Mark Rountree, B.B.A. ’86, M.T.A. ’87, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents. “Bill, as a former regent, had a deep love for Baylor and a commitment to our Christian mission. There are few alumni who have so wholeheartedly answered Baylor’s call for support, and we are truly grateful for the wonderful legacy that he and Mary Jo have established here. Bill’s commitment to excellence in higher education has informed and shaped many academic programs and resources that help our faculty and students thrive at Baylor – from scholarships to academic programs, laboratories to sacred spaces for worship and reflection. We are grateful for his wonderful legacy.”

Bill earned his Bachelor of Arts degree and his Bachelor of Laws from Baylor University. He went on to earn a Juris Doctor from Baylor Law School. A veteran of the Korean War, Bill was founder and CEO of Houston-based North American Corp., which is engaged in consulting, finance, investments and oil and gas activities. He started his company with two mandates, “dare to be different” and “provide opportunities that people wouldn’t otherwise have.” He previously served as an officer and director for various international subsidiary companies of Union Carbide and as legal counsel for Humble Oil and Refining Co. (now Exxon).

While at Baylor, Bill was a member of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Society. Bill served on the board of advocates for the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences, along with Mary Jo. He also served as a member of the Baylor Board of Regents and a member of the Hankamer School of Business Robbins Institute for Health Policy and Leadership advisory council. Bill and Mary Jo received the James Huckins, Pat Neff and President’s Medallions in recognition of their transformational giving to Baylor.

Mary Jo Robbins, nee Huey, earned a BSN from the University of Texas in 1975 and served as a dialysis nurse for 27 years. During her nursing career, she opened and managed 10 dialysis facilities in Texas. In 2003, Mary Jo was honored as a Baylor Alumni by Choice recipient, nominated by Bill due to her love and support of Baylor. She serves on the board of advocates for the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences and serves on the advisory board for the Robbins Institute for Health Policy and Leadership.

In 2014, the Baylor Board of Regents voted to name the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences after Bill and Mary Jo Robbins in recognition of their generosity to the academic unit. Prior to that time, their leadership gift in 2011 established the Robbins Institute for Health Policy and Leadership, supporting teaching, external programming and health services research. A gift to the MBA Healthcare Program in 2010 helped to position Baylor and its students as internationally recognized leaders in the fields of health policy, research and education. In 2006, the Robbinses provided the gift that supported construction of Robbins Chapel in Brooks Village, which provides students a place for everyday prayer, meditation and worship.

“Bill and Mary Jo have left an indelible mark on Baylor University,” said David Rosselli, vice president of University Advancement. “They have sought to support our faculty and our students in significant and deeply affecting ways, always keeping their focus on the Christian mission of this institution. Over a lifetime of commitment to Baylor, Bill and Mary Jo have incorporated the Baylor Family into their own, and we mourn together today. We pray for Mary Jo, their children and their grandchildren, just as they so often have prayed for us.”


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research 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.


The Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences at Baylor University seeks to prepare leaders in health and quality of life through science, scholarship and innovation. Together, the departments housed within the Robbins College – Communication Sciences and Disorders; Health, Human Performance and Recreation; Human Sciences and Design; Occupational Therapy; Physical Therapy; Public Health; and a number of Army-Baylor graduate programs – promote a team-based approach to transformational education and research, establishing interdisciplinary research collaborations to advance solutions for improving quality of life for individuals, families and communities. For more information, visit the Robbins College website.