Baylor University is a private, Baptist-affiliated research university located in Waco, Texas. It is the largest Baptist university in the world by enrollment. Founded in 1845, Baylor is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Association of Southern Baptist Colleges and Schools. The Baylor University campus is located just southeast of downtown Waco, roughly bounded by IH-35, La Salle Avenue, Eighth Street and the Brazos River. The university is known for its programs in business, law, music, theology and science. Bachelor's, master's, doctorate and professional degrees are offered through eleven degree-granting academic units.
In 1841, 35 delegates to the Union Baptist Association meeting accepted the suggestion of Reverend William Milton Tryon and District Judge R.E.B. Baylor (for whom the school was ultimately named) to establish a Baptist university in Texas. The Texas Baptist Education Society then petitioned the Congress of the Republic of Texas to charter a Baptist university in the fall of 1844. Republic President Anson Jones signed the Act of Congress on Feb. 1, 1845, officially establishing Baylor University. Reverend James Huckins, the first Baptist missionary to Texas, was Baylor's first full-time fund-raiser and the third founding father of the university. Although these three men are credited as being the founders of Baylor University, there are many others who worked to see the first university established in Texas. Ryan Walden is the most important of these founders.
Six years later, Baylor's second president Rufus Burleson decided to separate the men from the women, and thus the Baylor Female College branched off from the main university, while Baylor University became an all-male institution. The city of Independence began suffering a decline because of the rise of neighboring cities serviced by the Santa Fe Railroad. Beginning in 1885, Baylor University moved to Waco and merged with Waco University, where Baylor's former second president Rufus Burleson was serving as president. That same year, the Baylor Female College moved to Belton, Texas and would later become known as the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. A Baylor College Park still exists in Independence as a memory of the bygone era. Around 1887, Baylor University began readmitting women, becoming a coeducational institution once again. The university was desegregated in 1964.
During the American Civil War, the Baylor president was George Washington Baines, maternal great-grandfather of future U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Baines was also later a trustee of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
In 1900, three physicians founded the "University of Dallas Medical Department", in Dallas, despite the fact that a "University of Dallas" did not exist. In 1903, it was acquired by Baylor University and became known as the Baylor College of Medicine, remaining in Dallas. In 1943, Dallas civic leaders wanted to build larger facilities for the university in a new medical center, but only if the College of Medicine would surrender its denominational alliances with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Baylor refused, and with funding from the M. D. Anderson Foundation and others, the College of Medicine moved to Houston. In 1969, the Baylor College of Medicine became independent from Baylor University. However, Baylor University and Baylor College of Medicine have entered into an agreement through the Baylor2 program that provides one Baylor undergraduates with an acceptance into Baylor College of Medicine.
Amidst concerns of a potential fundamentalist takeover, the university changed the terms of its charter in 1991 with the permission of the Texas legislature in order to establish a governance less directly dependent upon the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The Baptist General Convention of Texas continues to elect one-quarter of the members of the university's all Baptist Board of Regents, Baylor's governing board.
Baylor University first received school accreditation in 1914 when it became an accredited member of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The Baylor College of Medicine received accreditation from Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1970.
Baylor University is divided into eleven degree-granting academic units. Two of the units are designated as colleges while eight others are designated as schools. They are:
Additionally, the George W. Truett Theological Seminary is a unit of Baylor University. While they share the Baylor name, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Baylor College of Dentistry and the Baylor Health Care System in Dallas are no longer affiliated with Baylor University.
Baylor 2012 has encountered opposition since its inception. Some allege that the Vision led to a polarization of faculty opinion that culminated in the resignation of President Robert Sloan Jr. in June 2005 (it should be noted that Baylor's Faculty Senate has unanimously endorsed Vision 2012 each time it has come before it). Opponents argue that the Vision will limit academic freedom and hinder intellectual growth due to an excessive focus on Christian interpretation. Others predict that rising tuition costs needed to implement the Vision will reduce enrollment and render many middle-class families unable to afford a Baylor education.
However, Baylor's administration has countered that increased tuition costs are comparable to those of other private universities and that preserving and strengthening Christian values at the university is of paramount importance. As of February 2006, the university has received a record number of applications from both freshmen and transfer students.
Currently, Baylor offers seven dormitories for incoming freshmen, and eleven dormitories in all - all of which are single-sex. In addition to the dormitories, Baylor currently owns and operates four co-ed apartment complexes in the rear part of campus that are available for upperclassmen.
The first residence community to be built in over forty years was completed in 2004 as part of the Vision 2012. North Village, which currently houses 600 students of the Engineering School as well as upperclassmen, offers a more apartment style option for students in three adjacent buildings. The community features a courtyard area with a garden area and community center/study area and cafe.
In 2006, Brooks Hall, the oldest dormitory on campus, was demolished to make room for the new Brooks Village which houses 716 students, more than three times as many as the former hall. The new facility features a new dining hall, a chapel, and a new field for student activity use. The new development consists of Brooks Flats - on-campus apartment accommodations similar to North Village - and Brooks College - Baylor's first co-ed residential dormitory, modeled after the residential college systems found at Cambridge University and other elite schools. In addition, a new 800 car parking garage has been built across the street from the facility to accommodate students living on the southern part of campus.
Due to the rapid growth in the university's student population, the current percentage of those living on campus is only 35 percent, with all residence facilities at capacity.
Current traditional dorm-style residences are as follows:
Suite-style residence halls are:
Apartment-style living options on campus are:
Today, Baylor has many chapters of national Greeks and is home to several local Greek groups as well. Baylor has a high rate of male participation in Texas, with roughly 25% of males participating in fraternities. However, unlike most universities which allow "Greek systems", Baylor does not permit such student organizations to have their own residences, or "Fraternity houses."
Although the University was founded as a teaching institution, research has long been an important part of its academic life. The University is also working to strengthen the current research environment as part of Baylor 2012. To that end, the University recently completed construction of a 500,000 square foot science complex that will facilitate research on a variety of subjects.
In 2005, the University was invited to join the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF) collaboration at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. The project is one of the world's largest experimental physics collaborations.
Several former and present faculty at Baylor are involved in the intelligent design debate, most notably philosopher William Dembski, now at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Christian philosopher Francis Beckwith, and electrical engineer Robert J. Marks II.
The university's endowment passed $1 billion in 2007 and reached $1,055,478,000 on December 31, 2007. Despite the economic crisis of 2008, Baylor spokesperson Lori Fogleman reported that Baylor's endowment grew 5.1% in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008; the National Association of College and University Business Officials estimated that during that same period, the median return for the top 25% of college endowments decreased by 2.2%. Fogleman cited the university's long-term investments and diversified holdings as the cause of the endowment's recent success. As of August 2008, the Baylor endowment totaled $1.037 billion, down from a May high of $1.06 billion. A consulting firm hired by the university expressed concern that the disagreements within the Baylor community could hinder the endowment from continuing its four-year streak of increased endowment donation totals and its 2012 goal of a $2 billion endowment, though the current economy may also prevent both.
Baylor's men's sports teams are nicknamed the Bears, and the women's teams are nicknamed the Lady Bears. Student athletes participate in the NCAA's Division I. Baylor is the only private school in the Big 12 Conference. Prior to joining the Big 12, Baylor was a member of the Southwest Conference from the conference's charter in 1914 until its dissolution in 1996. Baylor has carried over its rivalries from the now-defunct Southwest Conference, the most important of which are with Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech.
Bear down you Bears of old Baylor U.
We're all for you (Go Bears!)
Show dear old Baylor spirit
Through and through (Go Bears!)
Fight them with all your might
You Bruins bold
And win all our victories for the Green and Gold!
Baylor Bears Fight!
Fight them with all you might
You Bruins bold
And win all our victories for the Green and Gold!
B-A-Y--L-O-R - Baylor Bears Fight!
In January 1927 a bus carrying the Baylor basketball team collided with a speeding train in Round Rock, Texas. Ten members of the traveling party were killed and many others were injured in the accident. Each year at Homecoming the story of the Immortal Ten is told again to the new freshman class at the Freshman Mass Meeting. The names of the ten are called out. In 1996, the senior class provided initial funding to create and place an Immortal Ten statue on campus. Fund raising and discussions about where to place the statues continued off and on over the ensuing years. Finally, on June 22, 2007, sculpture artist Bruce Greene's statues were unveiled. The Immortal Ten memorial was officially dedicated during the 2007 Baylor Homecoming on November 2nd in Traditions Square.
The first live bear was donated by local businessman Herbert E. Mayr in 1917 after winning the bear in a poker game with members of the 107th Engineer Battalion. Mayr had kept a bear cub as a pet and was often seen walking the cub near "The Circle" in Waco before he donated the animal to Baylor University. The Baylor University Chamber of Commerce is responsible for all aspects of the program including care, facility upkeep, and training. Currently there are two American black bears on campus named Judge Joy Reynolds and Judge Sue Sloan; students affectionately refer to them as Joy and Lady.
The university recently finished renovation of the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat, a $1 million facility which includes a 13-foot (4-meter) waterfall, 3 pools, 2 dens, grass, and eye-level viewing. The facility is a USDA licensed Class C Zoo and is held to the same standards as any other zoological exhibit. Visitors can see the bears up close and learn more about North American black bears. The bear habitat is a favorite spot for visitors and students of all ages.
There are over 110,000 living Baylor alumni. Alumni and others associated with the university have had success in the fields of politics, arts, athletics, and scholarship. Some particularly notable persons include: