BAA Welcomes New Baylor President
On Monday, February 15, in communications emailed to faculty, staff, students, and alumni, Baylor University announced that Kenneth W. Starr has been named the institution’s fourteenth president. He will be introduced to the Baylor family at a press conference at 3 p.m., Tuesday, February 16, in the Bill Daniel Student Center’s Barfield Drawing Room.
Starr, sixty-three, has served as a professor of law and dean of Pepperdine University’s School of Law in Malibu, California, since April 2004. He is also of counsel to Kirkland & Ellis LLP, a law firm where he was a partner for eleven years. Born in Vernon, Texas, Starr earned a bachelor of arts degree from George Washington University in 1968, a master of arts degree from Brown University in 1969, and a law degree from Duke University in 1973.
“First and foremost, I want to extend a welcome back to Texas from the Baylor Alumni Association to Mr. Starr and his family and to thank the presidential search committee, the advisory committee, and everyone else involved for their work,” said Jeff Kilgore, executive vice president and CEO of the Baylor Alumni Association (BAA). “Throughout the listening sessions held by regents to initiate this search process, we heard alumni agree upon a number of traits that they were looking for in a new president, including servant leadership, transparency, and a collaborative, consensus-building approach, and I look forward to working with and helping President Starr to the fullest possible extent.”
Starr has had a long and notable career in public service, the law, and higher education. He was U.S. Solicitor General from 1989 to 1993, during which he argued more than two dozen cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1994, he was appointed as Independent Counsel to investigate U.S. President Bill Clinton, a position in which he became a nationally prominent figure. After a wide-ranging investigation, his report was released in 1998 and led to Clinton’s impeachment.
Starr previously was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, serving from 1983 to 1989, and was counselor to U.S. Attorney General William French Smith from 1981 to 1983. Following his graduation from law school, he was a law clerk for U.S. Circuit Judge David W. Dyer of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from 1973 to 1974 and for Chief Justice Warren Burger of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1975 to 1977.
The author of numerous law review articles and the book First Among Equals: The Supreme Court in American Life, Starr taught constitutional law for twelve years as an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law and has been a distinguished visiting professor at George Mason University School of Law and Chapman Law School in Orange, California. He is admitted to practice in California, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
A fifth-generation Texan, Starr was raised in Centerville and San Antonio, where he graduated from Sam Houston High School in 1964. His father was a Church of Christ minister, and the first two years of Starr’s undergraduate studies were spent at Harding College (now Harding University), an Arkansas institution associated with the Churches of Christ. Starr has indicated that he will join a Baptist church in Waco as he assumes the leadership post at Baylor. He will take office as Baylor’s president on June 1, 2010.
Kilgore said the BAA is grateful to the Baylor Board of Regents for including Tom Phillips, former chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court and current BAA board member, in the presidential search process. “Ken Starr has shown the intellect, patience, eloquence, humility, and integrity to be a transformative leader of the world’s largest Baptist university,” Phillips said. “His unique gifts match Baylor’s need to unite all parts of the Baylor family in a renewed dedication to provide a world-class education at a faith-based institution of higher education.”
Emily Tinsley, president of the BAA for 2010, said, “Congratulations to the Board of Regents on their unanimous appointment of an outstanding new president for Baylor University. We pledge our continued support of our new president to the benefit of Baylor. It is critical that Ken Starr be a president around whom the Baylor family can unite and work together to assure that Baylor’s best days are ahead of her. We are very encouraged to hear so many positive affirmations of Ken Starr’s personal and professional leadership skills and of the respect those who have worked with him in the past have for him.”
The Baylor Alumni Association welcomes your input as members. If you would like to comment on this news, you may do so by e-mailing the BAA at BaylorLine@BaylorAlumniAssociation.com. Your response will be considered for publication unless you indicate otherwise.