William K. Robbins Jr.

June 22, 2023
Bill and Mary Jo Robbins whit President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

From sacred spaces to scholarships, Bill Robbins’ philanthropy stretched to every corner of Baylor’s campus. His most recent gift established the Mary Jo Robbins Clinic for Autism Research and Practice in honor of his wife, Mary Jo. Together, Bill and Mary Jo have supported and prayed for Baylor’s students, faculty and staff, and we honor Bill’s life and this wonderful legacy.

Longtime Baylor University benefactor and dedicated alumnus William K. “Bill” Robbins, of Houston, passed away April 13, 2023. Robbins is survived by his beloved wife, Mary Jo Robbins, with whom he shared a passionate love of Baylor and a deep commitment to its Christian mission.

Bill Robbins

“We are praying for Mary Jo, their family and so many in our Baylor community who had formed deep friendships with Bill over so many decades of support,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “We mourn his passing, but we honor his life of service and the tremendous faith that guided and inspired him. The impact he leaves behind at Baylor is nothing short of transformational. He has supported, guided and exhorted our faculty and administration in the areas of healthcare and leadership, and the legacy that he and Mary Jo have created is truly humbling. Bill was renowned as a business leader and healthcare expert, but, most of all, he was known as a man of faith. What a powerful legacy.”

At Baylor, Bill and Mary Jo’s steadfast philanthropy supported everything from institutional initiatives to scholarships. In 2014, the Baylor Board of Regents voted to name the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences after Bill and Mary Jo Robbins in recognition of their generosity to the academic unit. Prior to that time, their leadership gift in 2011 established the Robbins Institute for Health Policy and Leadership, supporting teaching, external programming and health services research. A gift to the MBA Healthcare Program in 2010 helped to position Baylor and its students as internationally recognized leaders in the fields of health policy, research and education. In 2006, the Robbinses provided the gift that supported construction of Robbins Chapel in Brooks Village, which provides students a place for everyday prayer, meditation and worship.

In March, Bill and Mary Jo visited Baylor’s campus to dedicate the Mary Jo Robbins Clinic for Autism Research and Practice, named as part of a leadership gift by Bill in loving honor of his wife. The clinic is housed within the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences.

Robbins earned his Bachelor of Arts degree and his Bachelor of Laws from Baylor University. He went on to earn a Juris Doctor from Baylor Law School. A veteran of the Korean War, Robbins was founder and CEO of Houston-based North American Corp., which is engaged in consulting, finance, investments and oil and gas activities. He started his company with two mandates, “dare to be different” and “provide opportunities that people wouldn’t otherwise have.” He previously served as an officer and director for various international subsidiary companies of Union Carbide and as legal counsel for Humble Oil and Refining Co. (now Exxon).

While at Baylor, Robbins was a member of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Society. Robbins served on the board of advocates for the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences, along with Mary Jo. He also served as a member of the Baylor Board of Regents from 2010 to 2019 and a member of the Hankamer School of Business Robbins Institute for Health Policy and Leadership advisory council. Bill and Mary Jo received the James Huckins, Pat Neff and President’s Medallions in recognition of their transformational giving to Baylor.