• Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana: Six Baylor alums leading Texas Baptists today

    Dr. David Hardage

    Baylor’s motto, “Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana,” means “for the Church, for Texas.” Since legendary Baylor President Rufus Burleson established the motto in 1851, those words have reminded generations of alumni that a Baylor education is a call to serve. Baylor’s influence extends far beyond Texas’ borders today, but those ideals are still embodied by Baylor graduates, such as the six Bears who lead Baptist ministries in Texas today.

    Given Baylor’s status as the world’s largest Baptist-affiliated institution of higher learning, it only stands to reason that Baylor and the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) have a long history of partnership — and it’s only fitting that the BGCT is led by a Baylor alum. Dr. David Hardage, BA ’79 (pictured above), has served as BGCT executive director since 2012. Hardage, a longtime minister and former Baylor employee, oversees the work of connecting more than 5,500 Baptist churches with some 2.3 million members.

    Other Baylor alums in Baptist organization leadership include:

    * Brent Edwards, BM ’77, MM ’82, president of International Commission, a Texas-based Baptist organization which conducts service and evangelistic outreach in more than 125 countries around the globe.

    * Gerald R. James, BBA ’83, president and CEO of the Baptist Church Loan Corporation, which helps churches secure affordable loans for building projects and other needs.

    * Cody Knowlton, BBA ’89, MBA ’97, president and CEO of the Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio (BHFSA), which provides grants to non-profits that provide healthcare services and education throughout the San Antonio area.

    * Todd Roberson, BBA ’89, president and CEO of Children at Heart Ministries, which coordinates a series of ministries for single mothers, at-risk teenage boys, abused and neglected children, and families navigating the foster care and adoption processes.

    * Jeff Smith, BA ’85, JD ’89, president and CEO of Highground Advisors (formerly the Baptist Foundation of Texas), which manages charitable gifts for Baptist and other non-profit institutions.

    Of course, if we extended this list to include all the Baylor alums who serve in leadership roles throughout the church, both Baptists and beyond, runs much, much longer; the Baylor Family is filled with pastors, teachers and others who utilize their professional skills for the good of the Church, and the communities in which they live, lead and serve. Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana.

    Sic ’em, Texas Baptist leaders!