News Briefs

September 2, 2008

Baylor celebrates record spring commencement
Baylor awarded 1,972 total degrees during Spring Commencement exercises--the largest number in Baylor's 163-year history--which have taken place annually since 1854. To date, Baylor has produced more than 135,000 graduates. This spring's degree breakdown:

  • Undergraduate: 1,509
  • Graduate School: 271
  • School of Social Work: 85
  • Law School: 68
  • Truett Seminary: 39

The total number of students receiving degrees was slightly lower than the total number of degrees awarded because some students received dual degrees from more than one program.

Truett professor speaks at national preaching conference
Since 1914, ministers have annually gathered for the Hampton Institute at Hampton University to address the concerns of the African American church. About 8,000 people attended June's inter-denominational conference, which is considered to be the largest gathering of African American preachers and laity in the country for the purpose of hearing preaching.

Among the speakers at this year's conference was Dr. Joel Gregory, a 1970 Baylor graduate and professor of preaching at George W. Truett Theological Seminary. Gregory was the Noon Day Preacher on days two, three and four of the event, and is among a very few--perhaps the only--non-African American(s) to speak at the conference in modern history.

Baylor Student Foundation named best in the nation
Baylor's Student Foundation beat out groups from over 300 other colleges and universities to be named the nation's Outstanding Student Foundation for 2008 by the Association of Student Advancement Programs.

During Student Foundation's nearly four decades on Baylor's campus, the organization has awarded more than $4 million in scholarship money, helping more than 5,300 students. At their annual scholarship banquet this past April, the organization awarded $240,000 in scholarships to Baylor students.

New study ranks Baylor among the nation's most successful universities
In rankings compiled by the Center for College Affordability & Productivity (CCAP), Baylor ranks as the 34th most successful university in the U.S., between Vanderbilt and NYU. These rankings are based on a number of factors, such as how much students like their courses, graduation rates and how successful students are after graduation.

Baylor fared better in the study than a number of other notable schools, such as UCLA, Michigan, USC, Florida and Texas. Baylor ranked ahead of every other school in the Big 12 Conference.

Regents approve new degrees, increase Board size
Baylor's Board of Regents held regular meetings in May and July, approving two new degrees and voting to modify the size of the Board.

In May, the Board approved new degree programs in computer science (a bachelor of science in computing to house a new major, computer science fellows) and nursing (a nurse midwifery doctorate in nursing practice). The Regents also elected Dr. Howard K. Batson, PhD '95, pastor of First Baptist Church in Amarillo, Texas, to serve a one-year term as chair. 

In July, Baylor's Regents voted to raise the Board size from a previous goal of 16 to 24 members. One-fourth of Baylor's Regents will continue to be elected by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

Baylor Lariat named best student paper in Texas
The Baylor Lariat was named the best student newspaper in Texas for 2008 by the Houston Press Club and was ranked second in the state by the Associated Press Managing Editors Association of Texas.
Lariat writers took home a host of individual awards from the Society of Professional Journalists' Mark of Excellence Awards (10 total, including five first-place honors) and the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA) Awards (18, with one first-place prize). The student-run Focus magazine earned seven honors from TIPA, while the Round Up yearbook staff brought home 14 honors.