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Starr Assumes Helm of Baylor University

June 2, 2010

News - Starr Assumes Helm of Baylor University

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President Starr's first day as president began with a jog around the Bear Trail, the 2 1/4 mile track surrounding the university, a fitting metaphor for a man who intends to hit the ground running in his early days at the helm. His meeting schedule took a break yesterday afternoon when he and hundreds braved the mid-afternoon heat for a meet and greet session outside Pat Neff Hall, where he met many faculty, staff, and students. And it's on these students, he said, that his focus begins.

The rising cost of higher education has been greatly scrutinized, with a four year education at Baylor costing will in excess of six-figures, a total prohibitive to many families. Said Starr, in his first letter to Baylor, the school needs to look for ways to alleviate that financial burden.

He said accomplishing this goal will be his biggest early challenge, something he spoke about with the school's deans yesterday.

In addition to the stemming the costs, President Starr mentioned the Greater Waco Education Alliance and the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative as areas to which he'll be attending in the coming days and weeks. There will be an official inauguration ceremony this fall when students have returned to campus. Junior Brandon Ratliff of Stephenville met Starr yesterday and said that a majority of students are eager to support the president.

While some in the community expressed initial dismay over the hiring in February, the reviews for the new president have been positive during his conversations with the various Baylor constituencies. Jeff Wallace of the Office of Investments said that the vibes yesterday and in prior weeks are decidedly upbeat.

You can hear prior stories regarding the hiring of Starr as Baylor's 14th president online at kwbu.org. In the coming days, we'll look back at the tenure of Dr. David Garland as the school's interim president. For Waco NPR news, I'm Derek Smith.

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