The Year That Was

June 4, 2004

"Hindsight is 20/20, but 2012 isn't," said Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. at his spring State of the University address jointly sponsored by Faculty Senate and the American Association of University Professors.

"I am not perfect, 2012 is not perfect, Baylor is not perfect," Sloan told about 150 faculty members in a speech that looked back at a tumultuous year in which the Faculty Senate rendered a no-confidence vote in him. "In case anyone here doubts it, that was not a very pleasant experience for me," he said, "but I'm willing to take a long, sober look at my leadership."

Sloan discussed the enrollment shortfall in the past two years and the impact of a soft national economy on the University's financial situation. "We must pause to regain our financial breath and footing," he said, adding that a more comprehensive analysis of the budget would be circulated in the near future. He also referred to the "uncivil discourse" rampant in American society and said that at Baylor, "we must find a more excellent way to discuss our pluralities of opinions."

The president first focused on things he wished he had known three years ago when Baylor 2012, the University's ambitious 10-year Vision, was introduced. He referred to the problems of communication in a complex institution and the depth of the debate that ensued about the "character and nature of this University." He mentioned his concerns about how to reach out and meet the needs of a growing alumni base through outsourced services funded by membership dues. In regard to the dynamics of change and its impact on any plan, Sloan said he wished he had with greater accuracy foreseen "some of the unintended consequences of 2012."

Nevertheless, Sloan said that "while facing many challenges, Baylor's future has never been brighter." In a forecast of the University's potential, he talked about the "unprecedented opportunity" to build a better student body by creating communities of student scholars that integrate campus living with campus learning. In addition to the completion of North Village, the first new residential facility to be built on campus in almost 40 years, Sloan pointed to the completion of the Mayborn Museum Complex and the service opportunities it offers to the wider community. In early summer, faculty began moving into the new sciences building, a facility that will create a "new culture of science" at Baylor, he said. "It is a milestone in science education that will have few, if any, peers in national higher education."

"These are not in the distant future," Sloan said. "This summer, this fall, we will be experiencing that future."

To read the full address, go to