Honoring some familiar Baylor faces retiring this year
Every spring, the Baylor Family bids happy retirement to professors and staff who have dedicated their professional lives to the university and its students. It’s always a bittersweet mix — sadness in seeing them go, happiness for a well-deserved next step — but we wish them all well in the next phase of their lives.
Here, we honor some of the longest-serving and most recognizable professors who are moving on this year — men and women whose faces will be missed, but whose impact will not be forgotten:
Dr. James Curry was recently recognized by both the Texas House and Senate for his 47 years of service to Baylor, including 14 as chair of Baylor’s political science department. The longtime director of the Bob Bullock Scholars Program and the Baylor Washington Internship Program, Curry has helped countless students find internships with members of the Texas Legislature and in our nation’s capital. He has been recognized at Baylor with the Outstanding Tenured Faculty Award and for his excellence in teaching on several occasions by Phi Beta Kappa and Mortar Board.
After 44 years in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business (including the last 24 as dean), Dr. Terry Maness (BA ’71, MS ’72) is retiring this summer. A two-time Baylor grad, Maness taught at Baylor for one year before heading to Indiana to earn his doctorate. He remained there one extra year after graduating before returning to Baylor in 1977. He earned two “distinguished professor” awards and was twice voted Hankamer’s most popular professor before moving up to dean in 1997. In that role, he’s overseen dramatic growth for the school, including the move into the Foster Campus for Business and Innovation in 2015.
Dr. W.H. “Bill” Bellinger has been a familiar face in Tidwell Bible Building since 1984, when he came to Baylor to teach religion. He twice led the department’s graduate program (1991-2000 and 2003-06) before being named chair of the Department of Religion in 2006. A widely respected Old Testament scholar (particularly on Psalms), Bellinger has written a dozen books and been honored with both Baylor’s Centennial Professor Award (1989) and its Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year honor (2013).
Dr. Darryl Lehnus (EdD ’93) originally came to Baylor as a member of the athletic marketing department, a role in which he served from 1986-2003 (during which time he also earned his doctorate in educational administration). He moved to the Hankamer School of Business and a full-time teaching role in 2003, helping co-found what is now the Center for Sports Strategy and Sales — a unique training program for those looking to go into the business side of sports.
What hasn’t Dr. Randy Wood (BA ’70, PhD ’78) done at Baylor? A two-time Baylor graduate, he returned to his alma mater’s School of Education in 1985 as a professor of curriculum and instruction and director of Baylor’s Center for Christian Education. He has worked extensively with private Christian schools across Texas and helped sculpt Baylor’s teacher preparation program that places students in schools as early as their freshman year. On the side, he has also served as advisor for Baylor’s club baseball team and for the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.
Not one, not two, not three, but four iconic names are retiring from the Baylor School of Law this year. Mike Morrison came to Baylor in 1977, just three years out of law school, and has taught at Baylor ever since; he also served as Waco’s mayor from 1996-2000, as Chief of Staff to the Baylor President from 2005-06, and as Baylor’s director of international education for many years. Ron Beal came to Baylor in 1983; his treatise on Texas Administrative Practice and Procedure is considered the bible of Texas administrative law, and his writing is frequently cited by the Texas Supreme Court. Mike Rogers joined the Baylor Law faculty in 1984 and became the architect of Baylor Law’s alternative dispute resolution program; a former varsity athlete, he also served as Baylor’s Faculty Athletics Representative to the NCAA and the Big 12 for more than a decade. Last but not least, Gerald Powell (BA ’74, JD ’77) is best known as the long-time director of Baylor Law’s legendary practice court; he received one of Baylor’s highest honors in 2005 when he was named a Master Teacher.
These aren’t the only Baylor professors retiring this semester… Others with more than 30 years of experience at Baylor include Dr. Jerry Johnson (BBA ’62, MBA ’65) (marketing, 46); Dr. Ron Thomas (English, 43), Dr. Jeff Bass (BA ’72) (communication, 39), John Faribault (BSED ’77, MSED ’79) (health, human performance & recreation, 39), Dr. Gary Hardie (cello/strings, 39), Dr. Deborah Johnston (MSED ’81) (health, human performance & recreation, 39), Karen Johnson (BBA ’78, MIM ’79) (economics, 38), Dr. James Kennedy (religion, 34), Dr. Robert Cloud (MS ’66, EdD ’69) (educational leadership, 33), Dr. Wickramasinghe Ariyasinghe (PhD ’87) (physics, 32), Dr. Jesse Jones (chemistry, 32), Dr. Jana Millar (BM ’75) (music theory, 32), Krassimira Jordan (piano, 31), and Dr. Larry Lehr (MS ’85) (environmental science, 30).
Sic ’em, Baylor retirees!