Baylor Legacy Award: David & Shirley Lake

October 1, 2015

Awarded to individuals who demonstrate extraordinary service and philanthropy to Baylor or to causes that fit our mission as a Christian university

David, BA '60, and Shirley Lake seek to mold the joyful and painful moments of their lives into blessings for others. To the Lakes, that's what "living life to the fullest" means.

Their steadfast focus on sharing helps numerous students receive access to a Baylor education through the David and Shirley Lake Endowed Scholarship Fund and shapes pastors across the country into more effective ministers.

The couple definitely understands the value of financial assistance for a family. Shirley's advice for parents sending multiple students to college at the same time is "a lot of prayer." At one point, all four of their children--Joel, BA '92; Jonathan, BBA '93; Kyle, BA '94; MDiv '97; and Kristi Lake Fuller, BA '95, MSG '96--attended Baylor at the same time.

They have experienced countless joys in life since David's Baylor roommate set them up on a blind date nearly 50 years ago. In addition to their children with a combined six Baylor degrees, they have 14 grandchildren who they bring to games and are lobbying to attend Baylor someday. Many of their lifelong friends are a part of the Baylor family, deepening their connection to the University through the decades.

David and Shirley also have known great heartache. Their son Kyle, a beloved pastor at University Baptist Church in Waco, died while preparing to baptize a believer in 2005. Following Kyle's death, the couple felt the embrace of the Baylor family and a deepening sense of the calling on their lives.

"The Baylor family wrapped their arms around us and loved us," David recalls. "We could not have made it without them. But that's the way Baylor is. We send our students out around the world to minister and to work, but we are amazed to experience that outreach to us firsthand."

Kyle ended each service at University Baptist with the benediction, "Love God, embrace beauty and live life to the fullest." The benediction resonates within their hearts a decade after his death.

"I think living life to the fullest embraces all that God has blessed you with" Shirley says. "If He's blessed you with an abundance of friends, celebrate that. And if He's given you a ministry, then be as active as you can and put all your energies into doing the best you can, no matter what the Lord has given you. Living life to the fullest means embracing everything, even the ups and downs, because we're supposed to give thanks even for those times that do not go the way we would want them to go."

In keeping with their desire to steward the most difficult moments for something good, the Lakes have found multiple ways to ensure that Kyle's legacy lives on in students who benefit from their generosity.

Baylor students and non-Baylor students alike have been blessed by the 66 scholarships awarded by The Kyle Lake Foundation, which David and Shirley founded after Kyle's death, along with The Kyle Lake Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund at George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

They also established the Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching in Truett Seminary.

"The Center for Effective Preaching is premised and purposed toward the preaching ministry, pastors who preach and share the gospel," David says. "To be effective in a world that's constantly changing, pastors need to utilize new methods and means of getting the gospel out. There's a real need for more ministers to be equipped to make the message of Christ meaningful. That's what Kyle was all about, and I know Truett fulfills that niche, training young people for the preaching ministry."

Baylor continues to be a major presence in their lives. Their love for all things green and gold continues to advance the Baylor mission in the lives of generations of future students. It’s a legacy that they hope inspires others.

"I think all of us teach more through example than through what we say," Shirley says. "I hope the way we live our lives will encourage other students coming through, and be an encouragement to others. We can all participate in making Baylor just as great and as meaningful of a University in the coming years as it is today. God blesses us not for our own benefit, but to bless others. That's what our hearts are all about."