*Garland Named Interim President

September 2, 2008

Dr. David E. Garland, dean of Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary, was named interim president of Baylor University in late August. Garland succeeds Harold R. Cunningham, BBA '56, who had served as acting president since July.

The appointment comes after consultations with various university groups that focused on the characteristics desired in the individual selected and possible candidates to fill the position of interim president.

"We sought broad participation in this decision and consulted with members of the executive council, deans, executive committee members of the Faculty Senate, alumni, luminaries in Texas Baptist life and members of Baylor's Board of Regents," said Dr. Howard K. Batson, PhD '95, chairman of the Baylor University Board of Regents. "David was a consensus choice who was recognized as an outstanding scholar and able administrator."

Garland was named dean of Truett Seminary on June 1, 2007. He joined the seminary faculty in 1997 as professor of Christian Scriptures, was appointed Truett's associate dean for academic affairs in 2001, and then named The William M. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures in 2005. Garland, who assumed the duties of Baylor's interim president immediately, will serve until a permanent president is named. He also will continue in his role as dean of the seminary.

"During his tenure as dean, Truett Seminary has recruited remarkably talented faculty and seen its enrollment grow to record levels," Batson said. "With a profound commitment to the integration of both the faith and scholarship elements of Baylor's mission, Dean Garland embodies the best of vision 2012. He is not seeking this position on a permanent basis but has expressed a willingness to serve Baylor as interim while we move forward with a national search to fill the presidency."

"I am grateful for and humbled by this demonstration of trust by so many within the Baylor family," Garland said. "Our goals are significant and it will take all of us working together to continue our forward momentum. I ask your prayers, encourage your patience, and invite your active participation as we lead Baylor during the months ahead."

A magna cum laude graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and U.S. Navy veteran, Garland received his master of divinity and doctoral degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and also completed postgraduate work at Eberhardt-Karls Universität in Tnbingen, Germany, and Macquarrie University in Sydney, Australia. Before coming to Truett, Garland taught for 21 years at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is an elected member of the prestigious Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas.

Garland is the author of 13 books and more than 50 academic journal articles. His most recent commentary on 1 Corinthians was given an Award of Merit by Christianity Today; two other books were awarded medals by the Christian Booksellers Association. 

"Dr. Garland has many years of experience as a faculty member, both as a dedicated teacher and a respected scholar," said Dr. Georgia Green, associate dean of the Baylor School of Music and chair of the Faculty Senate. "These faculty credentials combined with his experience as an academic administrator make him an excellent choice for this appointment."

"I have every confidence David Garland will do an excellent job as interim president," said Dr. Donald D. Schmeltekopf, BA '52, provost emeritus at Baylor. "At one level, he embodies the very best of Baylor's tradition of the scholar-teacher. At another level, David understands fully Baylor's unique challenge to be the top Protestant research university in the country. I know those who care about Baylor will rally to his support." 

"It is encouraging that we have such a fine person in David Garland to serve in this role," said Jeff Kilgore, BS '90, MS '92, executive vice president and CEO of the Baylor Alumni Association. "As he has done at Truett, I think David should do a fine job continuing to build consensus through a process of inclusion on campus. I look forward to working with him and hope that this appointment is indicative of what's more to come for the Baylor family."

In the coming months, Baylor regents will study best practices in presidential searches in anticipation of a national effort to identify Baylor's next permanent president. The interim president will not be considered a candidate in the broader search for a permanent president. 

The decision to seek a new president came after a July meeting of Baylor's Board of Regents. At that meeting, Regents praised the University's progress toward the goals of the vision Baylor 2012, but decided that efforts to foster harmony among University constituencies were not progressing swiftly enough under President John M. Lilley and voted to begin the search for a new University President.

The Board had hoped to transition to a new president gradually, officially beginning the presidential search in January 2009 and eventually replacing Lilley during the final portion of his five-year contract. Plans for a gradual transition were not accepted by Lilley so the Board immediately began the search for a new president.

While it sought an interim, Regents appointed Cunningham acting president. Cunningham, a member of the Board of Regents, finished his term as board chair 

in May. 

Batson says the Board will be looking for a permanent president who can continue Baylor's progress toward meeting the goals of Baylor 2012 while working to unite alumni, faculty, staff and students.

"I would say number one, we're looking for somebody who's a great listener," he says. "Someone who can really begin to understand the concerns of the various constituencies of Baylor and try to bring those constituencies together as we move forward with Baylor 2012, which will put Baylor in the unique position of being a tier-one university that embraces faith along with learning. 

"For 160 years, the University's success has been based upon the collective efforts of the entire University community working together," he continued. "In this time of transition, we know that all members of the Baylor family will step forward to ensure that Baylor continues to do what it does best, which is educate men and women for Christian leadership and service."