Here’s a quick look at some of the more memorable events that took place at Baylor University in 2014, as compiled by Randy Fiedler of the College of Arts & Sciences
January 1—In its first BCS bowl game, No. 6 Baylor (11-1) loses to the No. 15 University of Central Florida (11-1), 52-42, in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. It is the highest-scoring game in Fiesta Bowl history, and the Bears finishes their season with an 11-2 record.
January 3—Two days after the Fiesta Bowl, Baylor’s Art Briles says he has no interest in pursuing other football coaching positions now open. “As I have said many times, I am both humbled and honored to be the head coach at Baylor University, and believe we have something special going here. I look forward to leading the Bears onto the field next fall at McLane Stadium and defending our Big 12 championship,” Briles says.
January 13—Inaugural classes begin at the new Austin extension campus of George W. Truett Theological Seminary, with a limited number of classes offered.
January 13—The No. 7 Baylor Lady Bears basketball team ends its national-best 69-game home winning streak by losing to the No. 1-ranked Connecticut Huskies, 66-55, in the Ferrell Center.
January 16––At its first meeting of the spring 2014 semester, Baylor’s Faculty Senate presents President and Chancellor Ken Starr with a Senate resolution congratulating him on his recent appointment as Chancellor and commending him for his leadership of the University.
January 17—Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty is awarded the inaugural Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, recognizing the top offensive player in Division I football “who also exhibits the enduring characteristics that define Campbell: integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, drive, community and tenacity; specifically tenacity to persist and the determination to overcome adversity and injury in pursuit of reaching goals.”
January 18—Baylor student Madison Adams of Fort Worth is chosen as Miss Waco 2014 and will soon compete in the Miss Texas pageant.
January 23—President Ken Starr and athletic director Ian McCaw sign the final steel beam to be placed on McLane Stadium during a topping out ceremony. Officials from contractor Austin Flintco say construction will be completed in time for the stadium’s debut game Aug. 31 against SMU.
January 27–Baylor announces a gift of $1.5 million from Billy and Elaine Williams of Naples, Fla., that will create the Williams Family Soccer and Olympic Sports Center, an on-campus, $3.3-million facility. The 14,500-square-foot center will feature a coaches suite and locker and training rooms, and will provide the soccer team and other sports housed in the Turner Complex with a 5,000-square-foot weight room and visiting team locker rooms.
January 30—The C-SPAN Bus visits the Baylor campus on its tour of Big 12 universities.
February 1–Baylor’s R.E.B. Baylor statue at the entrance to Founders Mall celebrates its 75th birthday. It was dedicated on Founders Day 1939.
February 6—At Furman University in Greenville, S.C., Baylor executive vice president and provost Dr. Elizabeth Davis is announced as the university’s next president. She will step down from her Baylor duties in June and assume the Furman presidency July 1.
February 14–Baylor Regents approve naming the new $18.1 million track facility the Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium in recognition of longtime Baylor track coach Clyde Hart.
Regents also appropriate $16 million to refurbish North Russell Hall, and approve $1.7 million for the design and construction of Elliston Chapel, a 3,000-square-foot, 100-seat chapel that will be built next to Hallie Earle Hall in the East Village complex.
February 14–President and Chancellor Ken Starr notifies the Baylor Board of Regents that he has appointed Dr. David Garland, dean of Truett Seminary, as interim provost to succeed Dr. Elizabeth Davis when she leaves in the summer.
February 23—Baylor baseball coach Steve Smith records his 700th career win as a coach when the Bears beat Austin Peay 12-1 at Baylor Ballpark.
March 2—The Lady Bears basketball team breaks its 35-game winning streak at home against Big 12 conference foes with a heartbreaking, last-second loss to West Virginia, 71-69. It is the last home game for Baylor seniors, including the nation’s top scorer, Odyssey Sims, who scores 39 points. Coach Kim Mulkey’s daughter Makenzie Robertson also plays her last home game.
March 4—The Lady Bears clinch their fourth straight Big 12 crown with a 70-54 win over Iowa State on the road. Baylor and West Virginia share the Big 12 regular season championship.
March 9—In the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament, the Baylor Lady Bears basketball team beats Oklahoma State 65-61, giving Coach Kim Mulkey her 400th career victory.
March 10—The Baylor Lady Bears avenge their recent loss to West Virginia, beating the Mountaineers 74-71 in the Big 12 Tournament’s final game. It is the Lady Bears’ fourth straight tournament crown.
March 12—The Baylor men’s basketball team beats TCU 88-62 in the opening game of the Big 12 basketball tournament, giving Bears coach Scott Drew his 200th victory in 11 seasons at Baylor.
March 14—Scott Drew becomes the winningest coach in Baylor men’s basketball history as the Bears beat Texas 86-69 in the Big 12 Conference Tournament seminfinals. The win gives Drew 202 wins in 11 seasons, pushing him ahead of the previous record of 201 wins held by Coach Bill Henderson.
March 15—The Baylor men’s basketball team falls to No. 16 Iowa State, 74-65, in the championship game of the Big 12 Tournament. Baylor was the tournament’s seventh seed.
March 22—Members of the Baylor Bear Foundation vote 59-2 to dissolve the group’s nonprofit status and formally incorporate with Baylor. The change will go into effect on June 1.
March 22–About 2,300 runners take part in the 12th annual Bearathon race, which honors the memory of the late Daniel Jones, a Baylor senior and Student Foundation member who passed away in 2013’s race near the finish line.
March 23—The Baylor men’s basketball team advances to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament with an 85-55 win over Creighton in San Antonio. The Bears shut down and end the college career of Creighton’s Doug McDermott, who ranks fifth on the NCAA career scoring list.
March 24—The Baylor Lady Bears advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament by beating California 75-56 in the Ferrell Center. It is the last game in the Ferrell Center for seniors Odyssey Sims, Makenzie Robertson and Mariah Chandler.
March 27—The Baylor men end their NCAA Tournament run with a 69-52 loss to Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 round in Anaheim, Calif.
April 1–Baylor University and McLane Children’s Scott & White unveil their partnership on a new facility in Waco that will merge diagnostic, therapeutic and clinical services for children with developmental disabilities. The new Baylor University Center for Developmental Disabilities aims to centralize care for children living with conditions like autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
April 7—Lady Bears basketball senior Odyssey Sims is announced as the winner of the 2014 Wade Trophy by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. The prestigious award is regarded as “The Heisman of Women’s Basketball.”
April 7—Former Baylor baseball coach Dutch Schroeder is inducted into the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame. The 89-year-old Schroeder coached Baylor’s teams from 1961-1973.
April 10—Arlington junior Dominic Edwards is elected student body president.
April 14—All-American guard Odyssey Sims is chosen as the second overall pick in the WNBA draft by the Tulsa Shock. Sims will join former Notre Dame All-American Skylar Diggins in the backcourt.
April 17—Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr is among those who speak at a ceremony in West to mark the one-year anniversary of the fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people. The Baylor Singing Seniors provide some of the music for the event.
April 27—Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams win Big 12 Conference Championship crowns. The men beat No. 3 Oklahoma, 4-3, to win their eighth Big 12 postseason title, while the women beat No. 25 Oklahoma State 4-1.
April 27–The Baylor Club Golf team wins the Spring 2014 NCCGA National Championship in Hamburg, N.J., beating out teams from other schools such as Michigan State, Rutgers, Florida, Ohio State and Missouri. With the win, Baylor Club Golf joins the 2001 Baylor rugby team as the only Baylor club sports teams to win a national championship.
May 1—Fox News commentator Juan Williams answers questions from Judge Ken Starr and audience members in Waco Hall as part of Starr’s latest “On Topic” event.
May 5—Waco artist Kermit Oliver speaks about his work to a packed lecture hall in the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center, and also autographs some of the Hermés scarves he designed that have been brought by audience members. During his presentation, Oliver’s new painting titled “Armillary,” commissioned by Waco philanthropist and art patron Sue Getterman, is unveiled. The painting, which shows the dome of Pat Neff Hall in the background, will be displayed as part of a Martin Museum of Art exhibit.
May 6—A “college and university neighborhoods overlay district” aimed at controlling development around Baylor receives the unanimous vote it needs to pass the Waco City Council. The overlay district adds an extra layer of rules on new private development in the Baylor area, forbidding front-yard parking, limiting building heights and requiring windows to face major streets.
May 8––President and Chancellor Ken Starr testifies in Washington, D.C., at a hearing of the House Education and Workforce Committee. He voices strong opposition to a regional National Labor Relations Board ruling that scholarship football players at Northwestern University are technically school employees and therefore are entitled to collective bargaining rights. Starr says it would be very disruptive if college athletes were allowed to unionize, and argues that the NLRB should not be driving major changes in college athletics.
May 9—Penland Hall Food Court closes so that a large renovation and expansion over the summer can begin.
May 16––Baylor Regents vote to establish the College of Health and Human Sciences by uniting four existing health-related academic units and creating a new organizational structure to advance Baylor’s commitment to health-related education and research. The anchor units will be Communication Sciences and Disorders, Family and Consumer Sciences, Health, Human Performance and Recreation and the Louise Herrington School of Nursing. Nursing school dean Dr. Shelley F. Conroy is appointed to a two-year term as the inaugural dean.
May 20–The executive board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas approves the sale of the Convention’s Dallas facility to Baylor University for use of the Louise Herrington School of Nursing. The purchase had been approved by Baylor Regents on May 16. As part of the agreement, the BGCT’s Texas Baptist Historical Collection will be relocated to Waco, and Baylor will collaborate with Historical Collection director Alan Lefever to digitize important materials.
May 23–The Lady Bears upset No. 4 seed Georgia in two games to earn Baylor softball its third trip to the Women’s College World Series.
May 30–The Lady Bears softball team completes the largest comeback in the history of the Women’s College World Series. Facing elimination, the Bears trail Kentucky 7-0 with just two innings to go. They end up beating Kentucky in extra innings, 8-7. The Lady Bears reach the semifinals for the second time in four years, but their loss to Florida the next day ends their 2014 season — a duplication of their most successful season ever.
June 1—The Baylor Bear Foundation ends its independent status and formally incorporates as a part of Baylor.
June 1—Baylor University formalizes a lactation accommodation policy that establishes a “mother friendly” employee worksite lactation program in accordance with the Texas Health and Safety Code. The program provides a work environment that is supportive of lactating mothers and encourages breastfeeding of their children for up to one year following their birth.
June 2—With the first day of summer class sessions today, Baylor adopts a new grading policy that includes minus grades.
June 3—A crowd of dignitaries and business leaders gathers to watch as a sign proclaiming the former Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco as Baylor Scott and White Medical Center––Hillcrest is unveiled. It is the first hospital in the state to wear the brand name of the $8.6 billion Baylor Scott and White Health.
June 12–Baylor freshman track and field athlete Travon Bromell sets a World Junior Record in the 100 meter finals of the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships to become Baylor’s first NCAA outdoors individual champion since 2005. During the competition, Baylor’s men’s and women’s teams match their best combined finish ever.
June 17––Dr. Joel Gregory, professor of preaching at Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary, marks the 50th anniversary of his first sermon during a celebration at The Church Without Walls (Brookhollow Baptist Church) in Houston. Gregory preached his first sermon at age 16 in June 1964 at Connell Baptist Church in Fort Worth.
June 21––Soon after receiving news that a couple of NBA teams are planning to draft him, former Baylor center Isaiah Austin hears from his mother that he has been diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that will end his basketball career. Austin learns of the condition after undergoing genetic testing in preparation for the NBA draft on June 26. In an ESPN interview the next day, Austin says, “The draft is four days away, and I had a dream that my name was going to be called. For all my supporters, I’m sorry they won’t be able to see me play in the NBA. But it’s not the end, it’s only the beginning.”
June 26—Baylor Law School receives the 2014 W. Frank Newton Award from the State Bar of Texas for the school’s efforts to provide exceptional service to the poor in Central Texas.
June 26––Former Baylor basketball center Isaiah Austin is honored by the NBA as part of the league’s draft ceremonies. “We want to take a moment to recognize Baylor center Isaiah Austin,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver announces midway through the first round of the draft. “You may have heard about him –– he’s one of the best collegiate players in the country and was expected to be picked tonight. We wanted to make sure he fulfilled at least part of his dream. With the next pick, the NBA selects Isaiah Austin from Baylor University.” Later, Austin says, “It’s one of the biggest blessings of my life. I worked so hard to get to this point, but unfortunately it was taken away. When God closes one door, he opens another. It has been one of the toughest weeks of my life, but I have a great support system behind me. I’m going to dream again and share my story with as many people as I can.”
In other draft news, Baylor forward Cory Jefferson is chosen by the San Antonio Spurs with the last pick in the second round of the NBA draft.
June 28—Former Baylor baseball coach Mickey Sullivan becomes the first Baylor player or coach inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. During his 21 years at Baylor, Sullivan, who died in 2012, won 649 games, captured three Southwest Conference tournament championships, and made back-to-back College World Series appearances in 1977-78. As a Baylor student, Sullivan was an All-American outfielder and hit .519 in 1954, the best ever in SWC history.
July 9—When the second summer term begins today, Collins Dining Hall is closed for good. It had stayed open to serve meals during the first summer session, after an initial announcement that it would close at the end of the spring 2014 semester.
July 10–President Ken Starr announces he has filled two open executive staff positions, appointing Tommye Lou Davis as chief of staff to the president and Dr. Juan Alejandro Jr. as interim vice president of governance and risk and chief compliance officer. Davis will retain her responsibilities as vice president for constituent engagement.
July 15—Beating Goliath: My Story of Football and Faith by Baylor coach Art Briles hits bookstores. The book, written with veteran sports author Don Yaeger, focuses on Briles’ philosophy of football and life.
July 18—Baylor Regents announce an $8 million gift from Baylor alumnus and physician Dr. Thomas J. Rosenbalm that will provide for significant renovation to Fifth Street on campus. The project will be anchored by a signature fountain that will be named in honor of Rosenbalm’s parents, the late Clarence and Claudia Rosenbalm of Bartlett. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2015 and be completed by fall 2015.
July 29—A Baylor student and a recent Baylor graduate are killed when the car they are riding in drives off the roadway of Highway 7 near Marlin and crashes into a tree. Pronounced dead at the scene are 21-year-old Laura Onwudinanti of Grand Prairie, who graduated in May 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in music education, and 19-year-old John Patrick “Jack” Stewart, a junior instrumental studies major from Dallas.
A third passenger, 18-year-old incoming freshman Megan Ritzi of Forth Worth, is hospitalized in critical condition, while the driver of the car, Jacob “Jake” Hale, a senior instrumental music major from Fort Worth, is injured but in fair condition after the accident. The group was traveling to Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge to perform at the International Clarinet Association meeting.
July 31––Baylor football player Clay Fuller successfully proposes to former Lady Bear basketball player Makenzie Robertson before the start of a Round Rock Express baseball game in Round Rock. On Baylor night at the Dell Diamond, Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty throws out the first pitch to start the festivities, and Fuller, a senior wide receiver, is behind the plate to catch it. Moments later, Fuller walks over to Robertson his girlfriend of 16 months, gets down on one knee and gives her the baseball Petty has just thrown him. Fuller has written on the ball, “Will you marry me,” and Robertson happily responds “yes” and jumps into his arms.
August 6—Judge Ken Starr is among the leaders who address major issues facing universities and the NCAA at a forum in New York City dubbed “The State of College Athletics,” hosted by the Big 12 Conference.
August 7–The NCAA Board of Directors votes 16-2 to allow 65 teams from the five richest football conferences — the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12 and SEC — to have unprecedented freedom to make their own rules on matters such as stipends, scholarships and insurance for players. “I was very encouraged by the board’s action to give us a new way to govern and allow for autonomy among the five ‘high visibility’ conferences,” Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw says. “It provides us a pathway to address a number of issues related to student-athlete welfare.”
August 11—Baylor’s new smoke-free campus policy goes into effect.
August 12—The largest-ever exhibition of works by 19th century Texas artist Henry McArdle –– Baylor University’s first art professor –– opens at the Martin Museum of Art at Baylor. The exhibition, which contains 22 oil paintings, 11 drawings and a diary, includes works loaned from the Texas State Capitol, Baylor’s Texas Collection, SMU, the Nau Civil War Collection and private collections.
August 21—Students move into South Russell Residence Hall for the first time after its complete, year-long renovation.
August 22—The renovated and greatly expanded Penland Dining Hall, now renamed “The Penland Crossroads,” serves its first meals to diners during Move-in.
August 28—McLane Stadium gets its public debut with fireworks and a free concert by “American Idol” winner Phillip Phillips. The evening “Traditions Rally,” attended by about 17,500 people, allows the public the first glimpse of the new stadium. The rally kicks off with a pep rally featuring the Baylor Bears football team and the Golden Wave Marching Band.
August 29—McLane Stadium hosts its first official football game –– a high school game between Class 5A powers Aledo and Cedar Park. Aledo wins, 21-17, before an estimated crowd of 8,000.
August 31—No. 10-ranked Baylor plays its first football game in McLane Stadium against SMU, shutting out the Mustangs 45-0 before a sellout crowd of 45,733. The game is preceded by the dedication of the 9 ½-foot tall Robert Griffin III statue. Griffin attends the statue dedication and the game, and other special guests at the game include Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura. George Bush, Griffin and lead donor Drayton McLane participate in the coin toss, which Bush calls and SMU wins. The first Baylor score in the game is a 23-yard field goal in the first quarter kicked by redshirt freshman Chris Callahan. The first Baylor touchdown in the stadium is scored by running back Shock Linwood, who scores on a four-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter.
September 4––Baylor announces a $500,000 gift from Silsbee, Texas philanthropist Charline Dauphin that will create a space where Baylor’s NFL and pro players will “always have a home” when they come back to Baylor. Construction is expected to begin later in fall 2014 on the Charline Dauphin Pro Locker Room within the Simpson Athletics and Academic Center at the Alwin O. and Dorothy Highers Athletics Complex.
September 6—In Baylor’s second football game in McLane Stadium, the Bears beat the Northwestern State Demons 70-6. The Demons score the first points by an opponent in McLane Stadium, a field goal by Chris Moore in the second quarter. The win is the 12th straight home game victory by the Bears.
September 7––The Baylor School of Music hosts a memorial concert in Jones Concert Hall in memory of Jack Stewart and Laura Onwudinanti, the two music students killed in a July 29 highway accident.
September 11—Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson, author of Gilead and Home, delivers the 2014 Roy B. Albaugh Lecture, speaking on “Reconceiving Realism: The Case for a Deeper Attention.”
September 12—The Baylor College of Arts & Sciences releases its long-range strategic plan, titled A&Spire: Acts of Determination in Support of Baylor University Pro Futuris.
September 17—Officials figures released by the Office of Institutional Research and Testing show record numbers in fall 2014 for freshman, undergraduate and overall enrollment. A record number of 16,263 students are enrolled, topping last fall’s record enrollment of 15,616. It’s also the first time Baylor enrollment has reached 16,000 students. There is also a record diversity among the student body, with minority enrollment now at 34.3 percent.
September 22—Baylor sophomore vocal performance major Lindsay Webber wins the grand prize in the 2014 “Stand and Be Heard Anthem Singing Contest” sponsored by FMC Agricultural Solutions, taking home a $10,000 scholarship for her performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
September 29—Novelist Amy Tan speaks with English classes, then later delivers the 2014 Beall-Russell Lecture in the Cashion Building.
October 3—The sixth annual Hunger and Poverty Summit at Baylor concludes with a discussion between President Ken Starr and U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) on practical methods for reducing poverty and domestic hunger.
October 8–For the second year in a row, Baylor wins the Baylor vs. TCU Young Alumni Challenge after a close race, raising $38,913 from 1,011 Baylor young alumni. TCU, by contrast, raises $23,570 from 535 alumni.
October 11—In the first matchup between two Top 10 teams in Waco since 1956, No. 5 Baylor’s Chris Callahan kicks a field goal with time expiring as the Bears post a come-from-behind win over No. 9 TCU, 61-58 at McLane Stadium.
October 16—Baylor officially announces that beginning with the fall 2015 semester, the Baylor School of Social Work will expand its Master of Social Work program by offering the program in the Houston metropolitan area.
October 16—At 6 a.m., a new Chick-fil-A restaurant opens across Interstate 35 from Baylor on Seventh Street. The 5,439-square foot 220-seat restaurant with two drive-through lanes and 68 parking spaces is the largest design in the chain. Baylor students began setting up tents outside the new restaurant on Oct. 15 to be one of the first 100 in line when it opens, since the first 100 customers earn free Chick-fil-A meals for 52 weeks.
October 18—Baylor loses 41-27 to West Virginia in Morgantown that gives Baylor its only loss of the regular season and drops the Bears from No. 4 to Nos. 12 and 13 in the national polls.
October 21—Baylor Student Foundation hosts its first Fall Festival event on Burleson Quadrangle, designed to raise money for the foundation’s scholarship fund. The festival includes fall-themed activities such as a costume contest, pumpkin painting, a baking contest and pumpkin bowling, in which competitors knock down toilet paper rolls with small pumpkins.
October 31—At its Homecoming meeting, the Baylor Board of Regents announces that the newly created College of Health and Human Sciences will now be named the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences at Baylor University as a result of a significant gift from William K. and Mary Jo Robbins of Houston.
November 1—Prior to the Baylor-Kansas game at Homecoming, an official rededication ceremony is held for the Grant Teaff statue, which stood for 12 years at Floyd Casey Stadium before being moved to the “I Believe Walkway” on the opposite side of the Brazos River from McLane Stadium. During the ceremony, Teaff is joined by members of the 1974 Southwest Conference football team he coached, who are honored later during the Homecoming game.
November 7—Baylor alumnus (BA ’61) and famous Hollywood artist David Negrón presents his original impressionist oil painting of former Baylor Student Union Building director Marie Mathis to the University in an unveiling ceremony. As a student, Negrón worked for Mathis as her assistant in charge of student activities and decorations.
November 8—For the first time in history, No. 10 Baylor beats No. 16 Oklahoma in football on the road, trouncing the Sooners 48-14 in Norman. The win snaps an 11-game losing streak against Oklahoma in Norman, and snaps a 37-game Baylor losing streak in road games against ranked opponents.
November 13—Former First Lady Mary McCall, the wife of the 10th Baylor president, Judge Abner McCall, dies at age 95.
November 17—Kathy Hillman, an associate professor of library science at Baylor, is elected president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, becoming only the second woman to hold that position. Hillman served as first vice president of the BGCT the previous year.
November 18—As part of his “On Topic” series, Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr interviews guests Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy in Waco Hall. The Tuohys’s life was chronicled in the book The Blind Side and the resulting movie starring Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. During the interview, each Tuohy says they considered attending Baylor, but both ended up at Ole Miss, where they met.
November 21—Baylor observes a “topping off” ceremony for the $100 million Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation. The final steel beams, including beams signed by major donors, dignitaries, students, alumni, faculty and staff, is soon joined together and fitted into place at the top of the structure.
November 25––Baylor’s student Model United Nations team receives the “Overall Best Delegation” award at the American Model United Nations International Conference in Chicago, in competition with 1,500 other students.
December 2–President and Chancellor Ken Starr announces that Dr. Juan Alejandro Jr. has been appointed vice president of governance and risk and chief compliance officer, effective immediately. Alejandro had been serving in an interim capacity since July 2014.
December 5–Baylor dedicates the $18.1 million Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium.
December 6—In the morning, Baylor hosts ESPN GameDay at McLane Stadium.
In the evening, No. 5 Baylor wins its second consecutive Big 12 Conference championship by beating No. 9 Kansas State, 38-27, before a stadium record high attendance of 47,934 people. Following the game, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby presents the Bears with the championship trophy. Baylor and TCU have been declared “co-champions” by the Big 12.
December 7—Baylor finishes No. 5 in the final College Football Playoff rankings, behind No. 4 Ohio State, and ahead of No. 6 TCU. The ranking eliminates Baylor from the four-team field for the national semifinals. Instead, it’s announced that the Bears (11-1) will face eighth-ranked Michigan State (10-2) in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
December 9–After a semester-long evaluation process, members of a new Baylor class, “Philanthropy and the Public Good,” present $100,000 in grants to the executive directors and boards of eight Waco-area nonprofit organizations.
December 18–Baylor announces a $2 million gift from Jerry and Susie Wilson of Dallas to establish The Jerry and Susie Wilson Chair in Religious Freedom, an endowed chair to support the University’s educational mission and its Institute for Studies of Religion. “Baylor University is deeply grateful to Jerry and Susie Wilson for this visionary gift that addresses a vitally important issue in our world today –– the protection of religious freedom for all persons, everywhere around the globe,” said President and Chancellor Ken Starr.
December 22–President and Chancellor Ken Starr announces the appointment of Dr. Edwin Trevathan, dean and professor of epidemiology in the College for Public Health and Social Justice at Saint Louis University and professor of neurology and pediatrics at SLU’s School of Medicine, as Baylor’s next executive vice president and provost. He will begin work at Baylor on June 1, 2015.
December 25–Merry Christmas!