Dear Baylor Family,
Wherever the heart is, more often than not, we find our home. In 1983, an inquisitive and spirited sixth grader found his heart and home at Baylor and embarked upon a life-changing journey. While this journey has not been without forks in the road, curves, and crossroads, it has been a journey of the heart in ways unimagined. Nearly four decades later, exactly where my heart first resonated, I marvel at the way life has come full circle, having unfolded in the most unexpected, but gratifying, of ways. This journey of mine has ultimately led me home … home to Baylor … a place my heart has never left.
It is difficult to articulate the profound impact a school, and those who have committed themselves to the lives and minds of young people, can have on a student. Baylor means that to me. I have been fortunate to have had numerous influential people in my life who led me to want to give back to the world of education. I am where I am in life because my parents made education a priority, and because teachers, professors, friends, and mentors cared. Most importantly, I am here because I listened to my heart. With a nod to Frost, I have found my life’s work, and I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world … I have united my avocation with my vocation. I have found that which resonates within my heart.
Looking back over the years, I realize how deeply my life was impacted by the teachers, coaches, and administrators at Baylor who worked tirelessly to provide an education like no other, who led by example, and who invested themselves in young people. The collective Baylor community cares for students as individuals and helps ignite intellectual curiosity. Jimmy Duke and Herb Barks are but two individuals whose life lessons I carry with me to this day and who unwittingly helped chart my course. As Newton so aptly stated long ago, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Former varsity basketball coach and director of admissions, Jimmy Duke, was one of the first individuals I met on a happenstance tour of Baylor’s campus. He cared deeply for students and showed a genuine interest in me that was heartfelt. He later became my coach in life, and I likewise had the privilege and honor of being with him on the last day of his own. I credit him with teaching me about heart and the power an adult can have on a child’s life. His influence has never left me; neither has the purpose and passion he shared with me and so many other students.
I am here because I listened to my heart. With a nod to Frost, I have found my life’s work, and I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world … I have united my avocation with my vocation. I have found that which resonates within my heart.
Under Herb Barks’ guidance and tutelage, I encountered the power of vision and innovation … that innate ability to see beyond traditional bricks and mortar that form classrooms. I discovered the magic that exists in stepping out of one’s zone of comfort, the brilliant teacher we have in non-traditional academic settings, and the synergy that exists in strong school communities that forms ties that unite and reunite. Dr. Barks has been a mentor, friend, and colleague, always holding me to a higher standard, a standard that demanded accountability and taught lessons best learned through experience.
What a privilege to once again walk The Hill, experience the magic that occurs in our classrooms, applaud the stars of our stage, recapture the spirit of Red Raider athletics, witness the forward motion of the river, and marvel at the blaze of ginkgo trees that punctuate campus in autumn. More importantly, I look forward to giving back, in ways large and small, all that I received from those remarkable individuals on whose shoulders I stand and who invested deeply in the life of the mind and in young people.
Thank you for the confidence you have placed in me and in Baylor – I consider it a sacred trust. I will forever remain appreciative to Scott Wilson for so capably leaving this venerable institution in good stead, perfectly poised for the next leg of our journey. I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to help write the next chapter in Baylor’s history as we face the future with courage, duty, humility, reverence, and magnanimitas.
Go Big Red!