Letters from our readers

October 13, 2003


Thank you so much for your article titled "Faculty Speak Out for Sloan" [posted on the September/October Web site at www.baylormag.com]. I was very encouraged as I read of the active support demonstrated by so many faculty members. I am in complete and total support of Dr. Robert Sloan as president of Baylor University, and I strongly encourage the faculty, staff, Board of Regents and alumni to stand in the gap for him as he leads our beloved University through the challenging events recently reported in the media.'As an alum and parent of a Baylor sophomore, I am amazed by the Vision and thrilled at the possibilities offered by the 2012 plan.'I believe Dr. Sloan is demonstrating phenomenal Christian leadership and strength of character in the face of extreme pressure from both within and without the Baylor campus.
Dr. Sloan has handled the events surrounding the murder of Patrick Dennehy with compassion and the disappointments involving the men's basketball program with appropriate, forthright action.'Despite his gifted leadership, he is experiencing negative pressure from a small number of faculty and Board of Regents members.'I am disappointed in their comments and actions, because I am convinced Dr. Sloan has been and continues to be the man for the job at Baylor University.
I pray the Baylor family will support Dr. Sloan in word and deed in the coming days, as I pledge to do. 
- Valerie (Porter) Patton, att. '80, Irving, Texas

I have not taken the time to express my support of Vision 2012, but I must do so briefly.
I graduated in 1989, having attended BU on a full academic scholarship. (I was a National Merit Finalist - an automatic free ride back then.) While I had a wonderful experience socially and spiritually, I would have to admit that academically, I might have benefited more in another university setting. In my job, I traveled throughout the country visiting college campuses my first year after graduation and at that time realized my educational experience had been less than it could have been.
I began to see Baylor as a good liberal arts college in a fine Christian environment, but not the "best" I would hope for in my children's future. It was a sad feeling to believe that I would not want them to attend my alma mater in my hometown.
I must tell you that the goals of Vision 2012 are so exciting to me that it puts a lump in my throat. I would be so thrilled to find by the time my daughters are considering colleges that Baylor is ranked in that "Tier 1." There is absolutely nothing that should prevent this achievement. Excellence should never be out of reach for an institution guided by Christian principles. Instead, it should be the only acceptable status. 
I am so pleased with the leadership that Dr. Sloan has brought to Baylor. I sometimes wish God had directed my husband and me into lucrative careers so that we could contribute financially to the Vision. Instead, as we pastor CrossBridge Community Church in San Antonio and raise our three daughters, I will pray and watch and follow the steps you take toward the Vision. (And save our money so my girls might attend beginning in 2011!)
I am confident that Baylor is going to become an even better school than it was for me. And what a celebration if and when I can introduce this University and its family traditions to my children. In addition to my husband and myself, seven other living family members are BU grads, and their grandfather (Judge Walter Smith) graduated from the Law School in '66.
Again, I applaud all the efforts being made toward Vision 2012. This is clearly not smoke and mirrors. Your communication is excellent. Your strategy seems extremely well-planned and the devotion to implementation is taking place. 
I was a part of the Greek community when the Panhellenic building was first discussed back in the late '80s. I know that some things take time. However, I am so thankful that only one decade has been highlighted as the timeframe for implementation. Thank you!
- Debbie Freeman, BA '89, Kirk Freeman, BA '88, San Antonio, Texas

I attended the Baylor Forum at Dallas [July 30] and would like to convey this message to [Dr. Sloan] as the leader of Baylor. I am a l95l graduate of Baylor with a degree of LLB. I was a student during the last part of the administration of President Pat Neff and knew Judge Abner McCall as a teacher, dean, CEO and mentor to me and untold numbers of Baylor students.
I am a survivor of the Great Depression and have great respect for the dangers and opportunities of institutional debt, but I adopt and approve Baylor 20l2. I knew and respected Abner McCall, and I believe he would approve of your leadership and Baylor 20l2. You are a worthy successor to President McCall and all of the great presidents of Baylor who preceded you.
- Bill Sheehan, LLB '51, Senior 69th District Judge, Dallas, Texas 

As a Baylor graduate, I have followed with horror and extreme sadness the tragic story of Baylor University basketball player Patrick Dennehy. The tragedy grew worse when ... another Baylor player, Carlton Dotson, [was accused of] killing the young man. 
In the midst of this turmoil, the Baylor athletic program has come under deserved scrutiny. It had been found lacking. An investigation revealed "serious or major" infractions of the NCAA rules. Then I discovered the coach had encouraged others to lie to cover up his rule breaking. I had always been proud of Baylor's stance for strong principle above athletics while competing at a high level most years. To put it mildly, I was disappointed in my alma mater. 
My sense of pride returned to read that Baylor University is again placing principle above athletics, even in the midst of tragedy. The athletic department probe was an internal investigation initiated by President Sloan. When infractions were discovered in the basketball program, the coach and the athletic director resigned, and Baylor put its basketball program on a self-imposed probation. In addition, Baylor has moved its drug-testing program outside of the athletic department's control. 
When asked about hiring a new basketball coach, Sloan said: "To be honest, I've really focused on where we are. Issues of accountability and accepting responsibility as a University are really more important to us right now." 
The events at Baylor were a tragedy. However, in the midst of tragedy and unacceptable behavior, I'm proud that at least one university president stood up to be accountable and to accept responsibility. It's easy to remain upright when the sea is smooth; it's difficult to stay that way in the midst of a hurricane. Thank you, Dr. Sloan, for keeping our ship upright and restoring my faith in Baylor University, even in the midst of a hurricane.
- Jim Bryson, BBA '83, Franklin, Tenn. 


I want to express my gratitude for the following section of Vicki Marsh Kabat's excellent interview with Horton Foote in the July/August issue [reference is to Mr. Foote stating the award that meant the most to him was the National Medal of Arts Award, which he received from former President Bill Clinton] ... This from a man who, according to your magazine's introductory comments, has won "an Academy Award ... a Pulitzer Prize ... an Emmy ... a National Medal of Arts Award ... induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame ... (and) the William Inge Award for Lifetime Achievement in American Theatre." 
Thank you for allowing those comments about President Clinton in your issue. I think they say a lot for him, coming from a man of such accomplishment and dignity as Mr. Horton Foote. 
- Les Stevens, BA '86, San Antonio, Texas