Thank you, Dr. Garland!
If you want to get a sense of David Garland’s place in the Baylor family, just read through the comments left on Facebook earlier this month when Baylor Regents announced the establishment of a $5 million scholarship fund at Truett Seminary in his honor.
Over and over again, you’ll see one phrase pop up: “servant leader.” And I can’t think of any better way to describe the man who has led Baylor University through the last year.
First, consider that, when he was asked to take over as interim president last May following the release of significant failings in the university’s response to sexual violence in our community, Dr. Garland was actually on sabbatical, writing a book and recovering from the loss of his wife, Dr. Diana Garland, to cancer just a few months earlier.
Consider also that he absolutely knew what the job would require, having already served as interim president once before — from 2008-2010, when he took the role amidst internal university struggles over academic freedom and alumni relations.
Yet Dr. Garland still agreed to serve, out of his love for Baylor and what this university stands for. And he wasn’t content to just keep the seat warm for his eventual successor; here are just a few of the significant accomplishments we’ve seen this year under his leadership:
- Completion of 105 specific recommendations for improvement in awareness, prevention, response and support for those who experience sexual violence within the Baylor community;
- More than a dozen significant appointments and hirings, including Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades, head football coach Matt Rhule and Robbins College Dean Rodney Bowden;
- Expansion of Baylor’s parental leave and adoption assistance benefits, making them among the best in higher ed;
- Establishment of such student services and opportunities as the Beauchamp Addiction Recovery Center and the student exchange program with Xavier University of Louisiana;
- Completion of a series of in-depth campus surveys to learn more about what students and faculty think of their campus/workplace; and
- Commitment to join such universities as Duke, Harvard, Michigan and UCLA in educating a combined 50,000 more high-achieving, lower-income students by 2025.
Dr. Garland, words aren’t enough to sufficiently thank you for your leadership of, service to, and love for Baylor University, but they are all this humble blog has to offer. Thank you, thank you, thank you; we can’t wait to see you back on campus next spring when you return to teaching at Truett!
Sic ’em, Dr. Garland!