A Family Portrait of Giving

November 1, 2014
A Family Portrait of Giving

One of the hallmarks of the Baylor experience is the ability to find your calling, your place in God's plan. As students are surrounded by caring faculty, challenged by rigorous academics and connected to the diverse Baylor family through organizations and student activities, they discover who they are created to become. For most alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends, Baylor becomes an important part of their life stories. They feel a connection to Baylor and Baylor wouldn't be the same place without them--young and old, established professional and new grad, nurse, accountant, teacher, lawyer--it's everyone's Baylor.

Each person is a unique part of the family, and like most families, there is a deep commitment to provide for the future.

Throughout the past year, the Baylor family has continued to give financially to the university at an unprecedented level--continuing an upward trajectory that began in 2012. In 2013, more than 23,766 donors gave almost $174 million to programs, faculty, student scholarships, facilities, and other areas of need at Baylor. In fiscal year 2013, the University also welcomed 6,242 first-time donors who made a decision to support their area of passion within Baylor, and donors from all generations--those who graduated in the 1920s to the 2010s--made gifts to Baylor.

The Baylor family portrait of giving is a collage of selfless individuals who find their passions and choose to continue their legacies in this place. Gifts small and large become powerful agents of change in the lives of students and for the future of the institution.

A grateful student sows seeds of generosity in the lives of deserving students

Baylor alumni and friends can likely state the names of those who've made significant gifts to scholarships and facilities, but the stories of how the seeds of giving first took root in their hearts are often left untold. To these men and women, giving back is more than philanthropy; it is a deep-seated conviction to care for the future, but the story behind the scenes is often of even greater magnitude.

Tom (BBA '60) and Pat (BBA '62) Powers are two of the many alumni who have generously and consistently supported Baylor University.

For Tom and Pat Powers, it all began with a promise.

At nineteen years old, Tom faced a life-altering decision. Tom's father--a man of great stature and fortitude--was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease and given only a year to live. As his health rapidly declined, Tom planned to put his education on hold in order to stand alongside his father in his final days. His father, however, decidedly challenged Tom's resolve.

"You didn't hear God right, son," Tom's father said. "That was your heart, not God telling you what was best. Your scholarship was a gift from God. He knew we couldn't afford college and He blessed us, and you are not, under any circumstances, going to quit Baylor University."

Tom's response was noble. He realized his full scholarship to attend Baylor was a miracle for their family, so he made a promise. Just as his father had taught him through the years, he wrote down the words on a card as a covenant to himself: "Dad, I promise myself to live a better life for Christ as I go back to school."

Tom honored that promise, continuing his education at Baylor and graduating with an accounting degree in 1960. He also met his wife, Pat, a fellow business student, during those years. After marrying, Tom learned that a scholarship also had funded Pat's Baylor education.

"A tree planted by Texaco for Baylor University allowed me to enjoy its shade and get an education," Tom said. "It was a tree planted by someone else that allowed my wife to attend Baylor. It then became our responsibility to plant many more trees for those who came after us, and we continue to strive to fulfill that promise."

By the 1990s, Tom had steadily climbed from humble beginnings to the top of the investment management ladder. He and his business partner knew it was time to sell the company. With this decision, Tom and Pat saw an exciting opportunity to share their blessings with the next generation.

They immediately tithed a portion to God and began discussing how they could "give back" to Baylor. Recalling travels in England to some of the world's oldest universities, the Powers remembered how impressed they had been that Chairs of departments today were established hundreds of years ago. And they decided this would be their first major gift to Baylor University.

After establishing the Pat and Thomas Powers Chair in Investment Management, Tom's own niche in the business industry, they decided to create a scholarship in an area of Pat's growing passion. Having volunteered for several years with the DePelchin Children's Center in Houston, Pat had watched firsthand as orphaned children discovered hope for the first time, and she knew she wanted to provide more opportunities for social workers to be equipped. The Powers translated their zeal for restoration into a scholarship in Baylor's School of Social Work. They also established scholarships in business and the School of Music to help meet the growing need among students.

"The survival of Baylor over the long-haul is based on the support of people giving what they can," Tom reflected. "With giving, you don't get the reward immediately; it's an investment in the future. You may not ever sit under the tree that you planted, but someone will. Baylor opened the world for me by giving me a scholarship."

The Powers have given above and beyond because they believe in Baylor University, and they have created a tradition of giving in their family. A promise that seemed simple and insignificant has grown into an oak that will provide shade for generations, including Tom and Pat's own children and grandchildren.

On Tom's 75th birthday, his family gathered around him with a gift that brought tears to his eyes. His eldest grandson had discovered Tom's promise to his father, written on a small card, in a Bible that was passed down from his great-grandfather, and framed it along with a several new promises. Surrounding the card was each grandchild's handprint inscribed with a promise to live for Christ.

"It is so important for all of us, to the extent we have been blessed, to seek ways to "plant trees" and provide shoulders on which future generations will climb and make this world a far better place," Tom said.

Each year, dedicated students majoring in social work, music and business are awarded scholarships provided by the Powers family and their support also has touched the lives of student-athletes. Their generosity has been evident and their impact immeasurable.

2012-13 Fiscal Year Giving

An entrepreneur's commitment to the school where his journey began

Known to friends and family as "Crunch"-- a college nickname given in honor of his impressively firm handshake--Paul McClinton (BBA '62) has always had a passion for what he calls "the deal." He got his start in business pushing a "Goodie Cart" around Martin Residence Hall and selling advertising for the student-run newspaper The Lariat as a junior at Baylor. The following summer, he convinced the Baylor administration to give him, rather than a national company, the contract for installing and managing new vending machines on campus. And so with $750 gained from selling his car and the financial backing of a college friend's family, McClinton and his new company, Automatic Chef, were launched into the business world in the fall of 1960.

Automatic Chef's business dealings soon expanded within Waco and beyond.

McClinton applied his business experience and work ethic to several companies over the ensuing years, particularly in the areas of marketing and merchandising. "Ever since I was a little kid, I had a desire to win and make something happen," McClinton said. "I've primarily started all the businesses from scratch, based on seeing a need that I think I can meet. I love the thrill of working against the odds."

Paul McClinton grew up in Silsbee, Texas, and served as a U.S. Congressional Page in Washington, D.C., during his final year of high school before enrolling at Baylor in 1957. He earned a BBA degree in 1962 and the following year, married Carol, a native of West Texas who had graduated from the University of North Texas. The couple went on to form a strong partnership over the following decades, supporting Paul's business ventures while raising a family in Waco. For several years, Carol taught biology and chemistry in the Lorena ISD.

In November, 2013, the McClinton's gave $1.5 million to the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation to establish the McClinton Family Auditorium. The 350-seat auditorium will accommodate guest lectures and special events, serving as one of the building's signature features.

"Carol and I have had the opportunity to watch Baylor grow throughout the years from a small school into the beautiful campus it is today," said Paul McClinton. "I feel very fortunate that I was able to go to Baylor and gain the skills and friendships that helped me become successful in several businesses, starting with the one that I began in college. Baylor gave so much to me, and I am glad to give something back."

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A new generation makes its stand for Baylor

The spirit of giving among young alumni was sparked this past year in the Baylor vs. TCU Young Alumni Challenge. Each university's young alumni--graduates between 2003 and 2013--were challenged to make a gift to any area of their respective university during the month leading up to the November 30 Baylor vs. TCU football game. The giving competition capitalized on the historic rivalry between Baylor and TCU that began in 1899 when both universities were located in Waco, and called young alumni to express their loyalty to Baylor through action. (see related story page 8.)

Though these recent graduates are in the beginning stages of their career journeys, the response was overwhelming. The desire to see Baylor win easily translated into financial support of student scholarships, academic programs and Baylor athletics.

Clinton Kimmel is one of the 576 young alumni who made a first-time gift to Baylor during the challenge. "I graduated in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in church music," he said. "As a young graduate, I am proud of my university. Though I can't contribute much in these early years of my life, I wish to give what I can." Similar declarations of Baylor pride were shared across social media channels throughout the competition and demonstrated the selfless generosity of these young alumni.

Parents adopt the place their students call home

Many Baylor parents also have accepted the charge to provide for current and future Bears--even before their own students graduate. They have a deep investment in Baylor by entrusting their students to the university and publicly applaud the hefty return as their students flourish within an environment committed to academic excellence and Christian ideals. In return, these Baylor parents consider it an honor to help others enjoy this transformative experience.

Last year, more than 2,000 parents chose to support the university, giving a total of $4.5 million to programs across campus. One-third of those gifts were directed to the Student Emergency Fund, which helps students who experience an unexpected expense that might prevent them from completing the current semester.

"When you hear the stories and witness the love they have for the university and the sacrifices they've made, it's pretty easy to want to contribute and help those students," Bob Bozeman, a Baylor parent, reflected. "They are deserving, and you want them to have the same opportunity as your children in being able to attend Baylor."

Baylor parents understand the needs of students better than anyone, and realize that a small gift can lessen an enormous burden in someone's life. Often these gifts are made through Baylor's online giving system where parents share their stories in their own words:

"My sweet daughter discovered Baylor and decided that was the place for her. My wife and I could not be happier. The Baylor Bear family has been awesome. I can truly say she could not have made a better choice. Thank you for being there for my baby girl. Thank you Baylor for what you stand for."

-Percy Causey

"We dropped our daughter off at Baylor just over 3 years ago. Not originally from Texas, we had no connection to Baylor and had little experience with the school.  We have watched a University transform our daughter. As a walk-on athlete for the Equestrian team she was asked to work hard with morning fitness training and afternoon practices that allowed her to rise to one of the top riders. With strong academics she has struggled through the lows of Freshman year to Junior year honor roll. She has learned from coaches and teachers that hard work matters! Keeping your word and rewarding that hard work is honorable and expected! And Christian values are lasting. Baylor has taught our daughter more than a parent ever could! Our support is in simple gratitude for that."

-Robert Otis

"We love Baylor as much as our son and Baylor student does! We feel like an important part of the Baylor family even though we have degrees from other universities. Baylor is the only university where we attend Homecoming, Pigskin, All Univ. Sing, After Dark, Parents Network visit with the Professors, BUWC leadership training and Parents Network Send Off Parties, Prayer Breakfasts, Package Parties etc. Yes, we use every excuse to share fellowship and prayer with our Baylor family!"

-Taylor Watkins

Faculty and staff invest in the life of the University

Faculty, staff and retirees complete the portrait of giving at Baylor University. Each man and woman not only contributes time and talent to better the Baylor experience, but almost one out of every two faculty, staff and retirees support the university financially. They see firsthand how impactful small and large gifts are to the daily operations within each department, and how annually supporting the university provides resources for cutting edge technology, distinct research opportunities and enhanced classroom experiences.

"The work we collectively do at Baylor University has great influence as we shape the hearts and minds of Baylor students who are impacting the world for Christ," Dr. Andrea Dixon, associate professor and director of the Keller Center and Center for Professional Selling, said. "By giving to Baylor, we ensure that exemplary programming occurs and deserving students have access to the Baylor experience."

"Students' lives have been dramatically impacted by people who have given to Baylor. Through faculty, staff and others giving to funds that provide teaching and learning resources, students are able to engage more readily in the classroom," Dr. Randall Bradley, the Ben H. Williams professor of music and director of church music program, commented. "Giving modest amounts over a long period of time becomes significant."

The commitment and participation of Baylor faculty, staff and retirees enriches every aspect of campus and plays a significant role in bringing the Baylor mission to life. In 2013 alone, faculty, staff and retirees gave nearly $1.4 million to support the University.

Our work is not yet complete

As a new year dawns, an exciting future for Baylor University breaks on the horizon. Not only do we wait with great anticipation for the opening of McLane Stadium and a new on-campus track and field facility, construction is underway for Baylor's new Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation. Other capital improvements will continue to be required for growth. But Baylor is much more than bricks and mortar. Other needs will come to the fore in the years ahead including:

  • Scholarships: The financial requirements of college attendance challenge families across America. Just as the costs of energy, food, transportation, and other necessities continue to climb for families, they also rise for universities. The number of outstanding students who choose Baylor as their top college choice strengthens the university's commitment to keep Baylor affordable and grow scholarship opportunities for deserving students.
  • Discipline-specific global experiences: The mission of Baylor University to prepare men and women for worldwide leadership and service calls us to broaden the world view of our students as we teach, pursue research, innovate, and serve with full awareness of the needs of others. We have broadened efforts to increase the number of discipline-specific mission trips that allow students to use their intellectual and spiritual gifts to serve others while at the same time expanding their understanding of the rich cultural diversity found throughout the world. Looking forward, our efforts will be coordinated and focused on greater numbers of students participating in these experiences and deeper partnerships with organizations that are engaged in developing sustainable solutions to difficult challenges. Decreasing the financial burden on students who wish to participate in discipline-specific experiences will be key to growth in this endeavor.
  • Training tomorrow's healthcare professionals: An aging baby boomer population, growing access to healthcare, and a nationwide shortage of nurses and healthcare providers means academic preparation for these providers is approaching a critical point. Baylor University has been training exceptional nurses and physicians for more than 100 years. Training tomorrow's healthcare professionals will require an investment in space and technology within which to engage students and prepare them for a new healthcare landscape.
  • Endowed Faculty positions: Growth in endowed faculty positions and expansion of programs in areas of excellence will continue to position Baylor for success. An endowed faculty chair furthers the mission of an academic area and advances knowledge and skills of students by insuring the position is filled by an outstanding scholar and teacher.
  • Student life on campus: The Baylor student experience is enhanced through relationships forged as students live and study and are active together on campus. Providing meaningful and abundant student life opportunities at Baylor will continue to be a priority and the support of alumni and friends will be critical to success.

As we each take our places in the Baylor family portrait of giving, we will ease the burden for the next generation of Baylor Bears and ensure Baylor University continues to hold its distinct place in higher education. While some gifts are small and others are large, we each have a significant role to play in the future of Baylor University. Together, we make our University stronger.