Baylor & Association Seek Accord

June 7, 2004

Charged in the February Regents meeting to mend the rift between the University and the Baylor Alumni Association, representatives of both organizations have met throughout the spring. 
Conciliatory gestures began as a result of recommendations made by Regent Will Davis, who chaired a regent-appointed review committee to look into alumni and faculty concerns. Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. and Association President Susie Jaynes signed an amendment of a May 2003 memorandum in mid-February as the first step toward addressing concerns. 
Areas of contention between the two groups include University funding and its subsequent impact on the association's independent status, use of the University database of alumni addresses and of the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center, licensing and contractual agreements and the publication of separate magazines. 
In spring 2002, Baylor notified the association it would discontinue approximately $350,000 in annual funding. That summer, the University launched an alumni services division, now known as the Baylor Network, to extend services and outreach to all alumni. Also premiering that summer was the bimonthly University publication Baylor Magazine, which is mailed to all alumni at no cost. 
New association executive director Jeff Kilgore, BSE '90, MS '92, says his greatest challenge is creating a supportive environment where unity can be restored, even among alumni who hold differing views. "To be an effective alumni association, it requires involvement and engagement with the entire Baylor family. I think it's important for me to listen to those varying opinions, those extremes and those who are somewhere in the middle," he said.

The memorandum signed in February outlines the following measures:

  • the negotiation of written contracts designating specified maximum reimbursement amounts for work provided by the association for co-sponsored events such as Homecoming, class reunions, the Heritage Club, the commencement tent, and the Legacy, Alumni-in-the-Making and class ring programs;
  • continued availability of the alumni database to the association, which agrees to use it in ways supportive of Baylor and consistent with the University's mission;
  • a good-faith effort to coordinate publishing schedules of respective publications; and
  • cooperation in the printing or electronic posting of alumni biographical information.