Baylor University Names Ed Crenshaw as 2023 Founders Medal Recipient
2023 Baylor Founders Medal honors alumnus, longtime donor
WACO, Texas (Feb. 9, 2023) – Baylor University today announced William E. (Ed) Crenshaw, B.B.A. ’73, of Lakeland, Florida, as the recipient of the 2023 Baylor University Founders Medal. Crenshaw is the retired CEO and current Chairman of the Board for Publix Super Markets Inc., an employee-owned, private supermarket chain based in Lakeland. He will serve as the guest of honor at an upcoming Give Light Campaign event in Tampa celebrating Baylor donors in light of the campaign’s success.
Established in 1969, the Founders Medal is one of the highest honors conferred by Baylor University to deserving alumni and advocates whose support and service have shaped the University, impacting the future of Baylor in historically significant ways. Crenshaw has helped shape the future of Baylor University through his gifts and through his long-time service in many volunteer leadership roles within the University, specifically supporting Baylor’s Student Foundation and Hankamer School of Business.
“We are deeply appreciative and honored to count Ed Crenshaw among our Baylor University Founders Medal recipients,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “Ed has been an inspiration for our students, using his exemplary career and legacy as a Christian business leader to inform and impact the careers of Baylor Bears who follow in his footsteps. We are grateful for the way he and Denise have supported our Baylor students through their incredible generosity to support Student Foundation and scholarships, and for their dedication to the priorities and growth of Baylor’s academic enterprise. We celebrate this announcement, and we hope the Baylor Family will join with us in congratulating Ed on a life of exemplary service and support.”
Crenshaw has been a vocal supporter of Baylor University and its students, and his commitment to excellence in Christian higher education is reflected in his September 2020 leadership gift to the Give Light Campaign. His gift created two endowed faculty positions for the Hankamer School of Business, which will be used by Baylor Business to propel forward the School’s innovative research and teaching priorities within Illuminate Forward, Baylor's strategic plan. His gift also created The William E. Crenshaw Endowed Scholarship Fund in Student Foundation to support Student Foundation members enrolled in the Hankamer School of Business. The Give Light Campaign is the largest fundraising campaign in Baylor’s history, aimed at undergirding the aspirations and initiatives of Illuminate Forward and its successful predecessor Illuminate.
“I’m humbled and grateful to receive the 2023 Founders Medal,” Crenshaw said. “I’ve been blessed to be able to give back to the University that has shaped my life in so many ways. My hope and prayer is that Baylor will continue to grow and prosper and lead the way in Christ-centered education.”
Together, Ed and his wife, Denise, also have been longtime supporters of the University and its students. In 2005, the Crenshaws provided naming support for Baylor's Ed Crenshaw Student Foundation Center, establishing The Ed Crenshaw Endowed Student Foundation Scholarship and The Ed Crenshaw Endowed Scholarship Fund in the Hankamer School of Business. In 2013, the Crenshaws also provided the naming gift for the Ed and Denise Crenshaw Student Commons within the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation.
“Ed Crenshaw’s life of service and provision for Baylor University and the Hankamer School of Business provides a powerful example for how Baylor’s students can leave this institution to make an impact on the world,” said Sandeep Mazumder, Ph.D., The William E. Crenshaw Endowed Dean of the Hankamer School of Business. “It is an honor to steward his legacy at Baylor, and it is an honor to serve in this role as the Crenshaw Dean. From our faculty to our students, Ed and Denise have sought ways to support the educational priorities of the University, while remaining dedicated to meeting the needs of the people of Baylor University. We are proud to see another Hankamer alumnus received this prestigious award, and we celebrate Ed’s legacy at Baylor University.”
The Crenshaws have long supported Baylor’s Student Foundation, which recruits student leaders to serve as advocates for increasing scholarships for their fellow classmates. In addition to raising funds and awarding scholarships to bring awareness of philanthropy to the Baylor student body, Student Foundation members also serve as goodwill ambassadors among Baylor's alumni and friends. During his time at Baylor, Ed Crenshaw served as president of Student Foundation. The Crenshaws’ campaign gift and endowed scholarship fund brought the overall endowment for Student Foundation to more than $5 million, a significant milestone for the organization.
A legacy of impact
In addition to his leadership of Publix Super Markets Inc., Ed Crenshaw has been a strong advocate for Food for All, a hunger relief charity which Publix began supporting in 1990 with gifts totaling more than $20 million. Another of the Crenshaws’ passions is the Lakeland Regional Medical Center (LRMC), where Ed and Denise have served on several boards and committees and have helped sponsor several fund-raising events, all of which led to them being named "Philanthropists of the Year" for LRMC in 2006. In 2019, Ed and Denise received Philanthropist of the Year honors from United Way of Central Florida.
A graduate of the University of Georgia, Denise Crenshaw is a dedicated volunteer with Peace River, a United Way agency assisting women in crisis. In 2017, Denise served as the steering committee chair for Peace River's 20-bed mental health crisis stabilization unit in Lakeland. She also has served as a Guardian ad Litem volunteer, who speaks on behalf of abused and neglected children in the court system. Denise was the 2018 Jere Annis Leadership Award winner as a member of the Leadership Lakeland Alumni Association. She and Ed are members of the First United Methodist Church of Lakeland. They also were recognized in 2012 with the Baylor Legacy Award, which is awarded to individuals who demonstrate extraordinary service and philanthropy to Baylor.
Baylor publicly launched the Give Light campaign on Nov. 1, 2018. To date, the campaign has raised $1.28 billion. The Campaign has seen 88,286 alumni, parents and friends give to the University’s priorities, as well as establishing 747 endowed scholarships and 43 endowed faculty positions. For more information or to support Give Light: The Campaign for Baylor, visit www.baylor.edu/givelight.
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 HANKAMER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business strives to further God’s kingdom through the realm of business, using God-given gifts and academic talents to do so. Faculty and students conduct purposeful research and participate in experiential learning opportunities, all while operating in a Christ-centered mission. Undergraduate students can choose from 13 major areas of study. Graduate students can earn their MBA on their terms, either through the full-time, online or a Dallas-based executive program. The Business School also offers three Ph.D. programs in Information Systems, Entrepreneurship or Health Services Research. The School’s top-ranked programs make up approximately 25% of the University’s total enrollment. Visit hankamer.baylor.edu for more information.