September 30, 2011

Gift to Hankamer funds national competition for student entrepreneurs

Hankamer School of Business announced in mid June the reception of a $2 million anonymous gift that will endow the Baylor Entrepreneurship Innovation Challenge, a business plan competition for students from all over the nation as they seek to develop their business ideas.

In rankings conducted for Entrepreneur magazine in 2011, The Princeton Review placed Baylor's undergraduate entrepreneurship program as No. 3 in the nation. The launch of a business plan competition will sustain and broaden the national influence of Baylor entrepreneurship. Business plan competitions have become a significant measure of program quality and an important criterion that national publications use to assess and rank program strength.

"This generous endowment will provide students the opportunity to participate in the type of competition that will support ventures they have been creating in class," said Dr. Kendall Artz, chair and director of Baylor's Entrepreneurship Studies Program.

The spring of 2012 will mark the inaugural Baylor Entrepreneurship Innovation Challenge, which will be an annual event held each spring, in addition to Baylor's longstanding fall event, the National MBA Case Competition in Ethical Leadership.

Fashion program earns high praise from 'Fashionista'

Baylor University's program for apparel merchandising, design and product development has been ranked among the country's 20 best fashion schools by Fashionista, an influential blog that focuses on trends, events, companies and personalities in the fashion world. Fashionista weighed factors such as jobs procured, opinions of people in the fashion industry, and standout program offerings, ranking Baylor 19th.

Associate Professor Dr. Lorynn Divita said that Fashionista's assessment reinforces comments she hears regularly. "Wherever I go -- New York, Dallas, Houston, on any kind of a corporate visit -- I'm always told that Baylor alumni are the best."

Three Baylor grads win highly competitive Lilly Fellowships

Baylor University alumnus Adam Urrutia, who graduated summa cum laude in 2007, was selected as one of 16 Lilly Graduate Fellows. The highly competitive Lilly Fellows Program supports outstanding students who want to explore the connections among Christianity, higher education and the vocation of the teacher-scholar.

Urrutia, who majored in religion and philosophy at Baylor, was a member of the Crane Scholars Program and will study toward a doctorate in systematic theology at The Catholic University of America.

Other Baylor alumni chosen for the Lilly Fellowship were Gideon Jeffrey and Amanda Weppler.

Jeffrey earned his bachelor's degree as a University Scholar in 2010 and is in his second year of doctoral study at Saint Louis University, pursuing a doctorate in philosophy.

Weppler, also a University Scholar at Baylor, earned her bachelor's degree in 2007. She studies in the Medieval Institute at Notre Dame, working towards her doctorate.

Baylor/Waco Foundation announces scholarship for local high school students

Baylor University has announced the establishment of the Baylor/Waco Foundation Endowed Scholarship Fund, benefitting students who are graduates of McLennan County high schools.

This endowed scholarship supports The President's Scholarship Initiative, a three-year, $100 million effort to increase endowed scholarships at the university.

Since 1959, Baylor/Waco Foundation has served as the official hometown support for Baylor University. The foundation utilizes 100 percent of donations to sponsor projects that enhance life in the Central Texas community.

Philosophy profs guests of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame's Center for Philosophy of Religion, the world's leading think-tank of the philosophy of religion, has welcomed two Baylor professors.

Dr. Robert C. Roberts and Dr. Trent Dougherty, members of Baylor's philosophy department, have been awarded year-long fellowships through grant funding provided by the John Templeton Foundation.

Dougherty, an assistant professor, was awarded a one-year fellowship with the center to investigate the epistemological aspects of evil. He has received a book contract for the first application of his results.

Roberts, Baylor Distinguished Professor of Ethics, received the Center's highest honor, the Alvin Plantinga Fellowship, named after the most famous philosopher of religion in the 20th century. The Plantinga Fellowship "provides time for reflection and writing to those whose work is in the forefront of current research in the philosophy of religion and Christian philosophy," according to the center's website.

Texas Hunger Report Outlines Food Insecurity Across Texas, Resources to Solve It

Baylor University's Texas Hunger Initiative, the Texas Food Bank Network and First Choice Power released "Hunger by the Numbers: A Blueprint for Ending Hunger in Texas" in September. The 508-page report (available online at includes a hunger scorecard for each of the 254 counties of Texas, a state which ranks second in the nation for food insecurity. The report also provides a road map with resources for funding and programs to fight hunger at a local, statewide and national level.

"This is the first time one report measures and describes the extent of hunger and its potential solutions in each of Texas' counties," said Barbara Anderson, executive director of the Texas Food Bank Network, a coalition of the 19 food banks in Texas.

The report incorporates the newest national data on hunger made available by Feeding America, the nation's network of food banks, along with U.S. Census data and statewide data on usage of federal and state programs.