Longtime Baylor dean, Master Teacher retiring this spring
Two Baylor alumni-turned-professors are retiring this fall after a combined seven decades on the BU campus. The first is a longtime dean who is returning to the classroom; the second, one of Baylor’s revered Master Teachers who is leaving the classroom after nearly a half-century of service.
Dr. Will May, BME ’69, taught choral music to junior high, high school and college students after graduating from Baylor before moving into administration at the University of North Texas, first as a department chair, then as associate dean and interim dean. He returned to his alma mater in 2000 as dean of the School of Music. After 14 years at the helm, May (pictured, above left) is returning to his first love — teaching — this fall. But the results of his legacy at Baylor are evident.
“Dean May shepherded us through a period of unprecedented growth,” says Stephen Heyde, the Mary Franks Thompson Professor of Orchestral Studies and Conductor-in-Residence at Baylor. “This is reflected in the excellence of the faculty, most of whom were hired during his tenure, and the exceptional musicianship and scholarship of our student body. I believe our major ensembles, the most public indicator of the capability of any School of Music, are at their highest level of all time.”
Dr. Robert Baird, BA ’59, MA ’61, came back to Baylor as a philosophy professor in the fall of 1968. He served as chair of the department from 1987-2005 and was named a Master Teacher in 1993 — the highest honor given to Baylor faculty, a recognition he now shares with some of the professors he once looked up to.
“There’s been a great deal of emotional satisfaction in coming back to a place and trying to stimulate students to think in new and creative ways, in a way that Baylor teachers stimulated me to think when I was an undergraduate,” says Baird (pictured, above right). “There’s been great emotional satisfaction in living out my life here. I don’t even begin to think of myself in the same category as the Ralph Lynns, Bob Reids and Ann Millers, but at least those are ideals I strive for.”
Sic ’em, Dean May and Dr. Baird!