Letters from our readers

December 9, 2003


I just wanted to tell you how impressed I am with the Baylor Magazine ... the topics, writing, photographs ... all are very well done, and I look forward to each issue. Since graduation, I haven't felt very connected to BU, but this publication makes me feel like I'm "in the loop." I've always been proud to be a Baylor graduate, now I'm proud and informed. Thanks!
Christine Thomas, BA '88, Denton, Texas

I am a 1977 Baylor School of Nursing grad. I now have a PhD and am working in cancer control research in California. I remember the academic and theologic environment of Baylor with great fondness. I also remember the unbelievable attention given male athletes, especially football players. I played (and still play) tennis pretty well. I played on the Baylor women's tennis team my freshman year, no scholarship, no tutors, no special meals, no lodging, etc. I was just glad to play tennis and knew regular exercise was important to a healthy academic life.
Glorifying athletes and athletic events (i.e., football and basketball) at academic settings is not the mission of the University and is wrong. The summer of discontent is long overdue at Baylor. Dramatic reforms of any pursuits that outshine the mission of the University are in order. A university athletic department needs to prepare physically fit students during the college years and promote lifelong physical activity.
The death of Patrick Dennehy was a tragedy. How sad for the family and community. The media coverage of this tragedy because the young man was a collegiate basketball player represents another tragedy. Baylor needs to transform. Get rid of celebrated teams and stadiums. Get on with the real mission of higher education.
Diane Ash Drake, BSN '77, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

Please remove us from the mailing list for the Baylor Magazine. While it is a crisp, polished public relations piece for BU, it is not what I need, and it is a waste of money sending it to me. I would rather see the money go to an unfettered journalism department, where students are free to think outside the box I perceive being presented to them now.
'I am thankful for what I saw as the freedom of thought allowed at all levels when I studied in the late 1960s. That was then, and this is now.'While times change and perceptions of truth change, basic truths don't.'So, for now, I'll stick to the Baylor Line for unfiltered information. When and if the environment changes, I might reconsider.
Jim McNabb, '69, Austin, Texas

I enjoyed your November/December '03 issue. I think the Baylor and Hollywood connection is interesting. The industry is tough, and if someone moved out here, they'd be very blessed to find a connection to anything familiar (like Baylor grads!).
Our church has a lot of industry kids -- and the loneliness and isolation is a mixed encounter. There is no community in such a big city. Kids are lured by the glamour, but usually find only disappointment. They don't stay long. But please let them know that many find great support in churches ... . Church out here is hard work, and nothing like in the Bible Belt, but it's authentic. So, by all means, come to Hollywood! But retreat into the church. You'll need it!
John C. Jenkins, BA '73, Glendale, Calif.

Much info, misinfo and innuendos have been circulated the past few months. How about a few facts from my personal research.
Unhappy professors: A fairly large number of professors who have been at BU for a long time don't like the idea of having to start doing research at this stage in their careers. Those who don't do any research will, for the most part, be teaching the same thing they learned when they were students. ... Most businesses neither promote nor increase pay for employees who don't do the job required of them. 
Recruiting new professors: Some think it's impossible to maintain high academic standards and have a staff of dedicated Christians at the same time. ... Baylor has discovered the pool of highly qualified Christian professors far exceeds the need.'... 
Tuition: Total cost is still below the other major Texas private universities. The average family income level is down for the 2003-04 school year due to increases in financial aid for students.
On-campus housing: None built in the last 40 years. The 600 new beds under construction are a token of what's needed.'
The new science complex: The question is, have there been any scientific advances in the last 20 years? That's about the status of our current science facilities. Being last in academics could easily spell total demise.' 
2012 logistics: Bonds sold to finance current projects have an interest rate average of about 3.8 percent. Considering inflation, that looks to me like we get to borrow the money free! We already had a $50 million debt (so much for the myth about not being in debt) and that was also refinanced at the same bargain rate with significant savings. Baylor is still below the average indebtedness of other private universities.
Dr. Sloan's salary and transportation: Is Dr. Sloan worth it? You better believe it! BU could save money and hire someone else, but they wouldn't get much. In 1989, IBM replaced John Akers with Louis V. Gerstner as CEO because of losses exceeding $1 billion per year. Total compensation to Gerstner was over $50 million, and IBM became profitable in one year and stock value increased tenfold in 10 years. Dr. Sloan's salary is not above average for a university president.'Given Baylor's location in Waco, it would be very difficult to maintain personal contact with donors and to support recruiting without an aircraft. 
We must get on with the Lord's work. If 2012 is not the Lord's work, then He won't provide the money to make it happen. More than likely, 20 years from now I'll have had my opportunity to stand before the Almighty to account for my "deeds." I hope I can say I was a builder.
Doris, ABC '89, and Bob Mayers, BA '53, Arlington, Texas


After a summer marred with Baylor scandals making national news, your magazine was a refreshing welcome with its cover article dedicated to the element that makes the University special: its incredible faculty. Reading about the featured teachers made me recall just how uniquely gifted each of the professors was that taught the undergraduate classes I took from 1992 to 1996. The quality of graduate classes I've taken at a branch of the University of Texas also makes me realize how fortunate I was to have attended Baylor and to have learned from such great minds. 
Since your article only covered five faculty members, allow me to mention five more I feel need recognition. Dr. Richard Riley, Dr. Gayle Avant and Dr. Joe Brown of the political science department, and Dr. Naymond Keathley and Dr. Randall O'Brien of the religion department. These and other professors not mentioned continue to make Baylor the leader in an education based on the juxtaposition of Christian principles and intellectual pursuit.
Eric Fernandez, BA '96, Edinburg, Texas