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 retiring this year — men and women whose faces will be missed, but whose impact will not be forgotten:
Dr. Franklin Potts (BBA ’67, MS ’68) joined the Hankamer School of Business faculty in 1974; his brother, Dr. Tom Potts (BBA ’70, MS’71), followed a year later. Together, they’ve taught finance for nearly 100 years’ worth of Baylor students. Beyond the countless numbers of graduates they’ve helped guide in the classroom, Franklin has also served for years as faculty adviser for the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. Tom, meanwhile, was honored in 2019 with the National Financial Planning Association’s highest award for his lifetime of contributions to the financial planning profession.
Baylor geology/geoscience students know Dr. Don Greene for his 43 years teaching in the department; many Central Texans beyond Baylor’s campus know Greene from his nine years as meteorologist at KXXV, Waco’s ABC affiliate (1997-2006). Greene joined the Baylor faculty as a lecturer in 1979, earning promotion to assistant professor in 1981 after completing his doctorate at Oklahoma. With a career that spanned six decades (1970s-2020s), Greene by his count has taught more than 22,000 Baylor Bears.
Maxey Parrish (BA ’78, MSED ’93) has really had two careers at Baylor. From 1980-2000, he worked in Baylor Athletics, helping lead the sports information department and launching what is now BaylorBears.com. He moved to the academic side in 2001, teaching journalism and public relations students for the last two decades. Parrish has also led a dozen study abroad trips, to locations such as Maastricht, Florence and Budapest. He was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Hall of Fame in 2019, and won a “Betsy” as one of the College of Arts & Sciences’ best undergraduate mentors in 2021.
The orchestral scene in Waco will miss Stephen Heyde upon his retirement. Heyde has led Baylor’s orchestral program since 1984, and the Waco Symphony Orchestra since 1987. (In fact, Heyde and former Baylor music Dean Emeritus Daniel Sternberg have been the BU orchestra’s only permanent conductors in its 76-year history.) Under Heyde’s guidance, the Baylor Symphony has won five American Prizes in Orchestral Performance, toured internationally, and been featured in the nationally televised PBS special Christmas at Baylor.
Dr. Helen Harris joined the Baylor School of Social Work’s faculty in 1997 after more than 20 years of social work clinical practice (including beginning Waco’s first hospice). One of the nation’s leading experts on loss, grief and faith, Harris has authored or co-authored more than 30 peer-reviewed articles, as well as chapters in more than a dozen books. She was honored as a “Woman of Distinction” by the Girl Scouts of America in 2002, and as one of Baylor’s outstanding faculty lecturers in 2013.
Since 2012, Dr. Dennis O’Neal has served as dean of Baylor’s School of Engineering and Computer Science. Prior to that, O’Neal had taught and served in administration at Texas A&M for almost 30 years. In his decade leading Baylor ECS, O’Neal has guided the school’s growth as part of Baylor’s move toward R1, including overseeing the creation of Baylor’s first doctoral programs in mechanical engineering and computer science.
These aren’t the only Baylor professors retiring this semester… Others with more than 30 years of experience at Baylor include: Betsy Willis (BBA’ 71, MT ’87) (accounting & business law, 45); Becky Jones (BA ’77, MBA ’78) (accounting & business law, 44); Richard Strot (education curriculum & instruction, 39); Dr. Kenneth T. Wilkins (Arts & Sciences associate dean, 39); Katherine L. Hutchison (BA ’75, MS ’84) (mathematics, 37); Dr. Eric C. Rust (history, 37); Suzanne Abbe (BBA ’83, MBA ’87) (accounting & business law, 35); Dr. Manfred Dugas (mathematics, 35); and Dr. Charles J. “Chuck” Delaney (finance, insurance & real estate, 34).
Sic ’em, Baylor retirees!