2023 Founders Medal Recipient: William E. Crenshaw

Baylor University’s alumni are making an impact in their communities, in their professions, in the world. They also are making an impact at Baylor, keeping their ties to this community through philanthropy, service on advisory boards and through their prayerful support of our administration, faculty and students.

They are helping to shape Baylor’s future.

William E. (Ed) Crenshaw, B.B.A. ’73, is one of these alumni who has used his time, his talents and his treasure to provide transformational support to the University. To recognize his support and untiring service, Baylor has named him the 2023 Baylor Founders Medal recipient.

“We are grateful and humbled to count Ed Crenshaw among our Baylor University Founders Medal recipients,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “Ed has been an inspiration for our students, using his exemplary career and legacy as a Christian business leader to inform and impact the careers of Baylor Bears who follow in his footsteps. We are grateful for the way he and Denise have supported our Baylor students through their incredible generosity to support Student Foundation and scholarships, and for their dedication to the priorities and growth of Baylor’s academic enterprise. We celebrate this announcement, and we hope the Baylor Family will join with us in congratulating Ed on a life of exemplary service and support.”

The Founders Medal, one of Baylor’s highest honors, celebrates alumni and advocates whose support and service have shaped the University, impacting the future of Baylor in historically significant ways. 

“I’m humbled and grateful to receive the 2023 Founders Medal,” Crenshaw said. “I’ve been blessed to be able to give back to the University that has shaped my life in so many ways. My hope and prayer is that Baylor will continue to grow and prosper and lead the way in Christ-centered education.”

Ed and his wife, Denise, have been longtime supporters of Baylor University and its students. Ed’s commitment to excellence in Christian higher education is reflected in his Sept. 2020 leadership gift to the Give Light Campaign. The Crenshaws’ gift created two endowed faculty positions for the Hankamer School of Business, which are being used to propel forward the School’s innovative research and teaching priorities. Their gift also created The William E. Crenshaw Endowed Scholarship Fund in Student Foundation to support Student Foundation members enrolled in the Hankamer School of Business. 

The Give Light Campaign is the largest fundraising campaign in Baylor’s history, aimed at undergirding the aspirations and initiatives of Illuminate.

“Ed Crenshaw’s life of service and provision for Baylor University and the Hankamer School of Business provides a powerful example for how Baylor’s students can leave this institution to make an impact on the world,” said Sandeep Mazumder, Ph.D., the William E. Crenshaw Endowed Dean of the Hankamer School of Business. “It is an honor to steward his legacy at Baylor, and it is an honor to serve in this role as the Crenshaw Dean. From our faculty to our students, Ed and Denise have sought ways to support the educational priorities of the University, while remaining dedicated to meeting the needs of the people of Baylor University. We are proud to see another Hankamer alumnus receive this prestigious award, and we celebrate Ed’s legacy at Baylor University.”

In 2016, Ed Crenshaw retired as CEO of Publix Super Markets Inc., an employee-
owned, private supermarket chain based in Lakeland, Florida, and currently serves as Chairman of the Board. Ed has been a strong advocate for Food for All, a hunger relief charity which Publix began supporting in 1990 with gifts totaling more than $20 million. Another of the Crenshaws’ passions is the Lakeland Regional Medical Center (LRMC), where Ed and Denise have served on several boards and committees and have helped sponsor several fund-raising events, all of which led to them being named “Philanthropists of the Year” for LRMC in 2006. In 2019, Ed and Denise received Philanthropist of the Year honors from United Way of Central Florida.

A graduate of the University of Georgia, Denise Crenshaw is a dedicated volunteer with Peace River, a United Way agency assisting women in crisis. In 2017, Denise served as the steering committee chair for Peace River’s 20-bed mental health crisis stabilization unit in Lakeland. She also has served as a Guardian ad Litem volunteer, a volunteer who speaks on behalf of abused and neglected children in the court system. Denise was the 2018 Jere Annis Leadership Award winner as a member of the Leadership Lakeland Alumni Association. She and Ed are members of the First United Methodist Church of Lakeland. They also were recognized in 2012 with the Baylor Legacy Award, which is awarded to individuals who demonstrate extraordinary service and philanthropy to Baylor.