Baylor University’s vice president of development has been fired, a decision that comes as the university is in the early stages of a new $320 million fundraising campaign.
Ken Hall was fired Friday, exactly two years into his time as senior vice president of development and strategic initiatives for the university.
Hall said the move was unexpected and that he was not given a reason for his firing, which he said was ordered by President and Chancellor Ken Starr.
“I’ve not met with him. The message was delivered to me,” Hall said, adding that he was given formal written notice of his termination Monday.
“They’ve been great to me this week, trying to help me (transition). Thoroughly professional, everyone at Baylor, handling this. I think everyone was surprised.”
Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogleman said the university would not comment on personnel matters and instead referred to an email Starr wrote to faculty and staff Tuesday announcing the decision.
Starr’s letter does not give a reason for Hall’s departure, saying only that he “will no longer be serving at Baylor.”
The email highlights the university’s fundraising accomplishments during Hall’s tenure. For example, the university already has raised $90 million toward its $320 million, five-year campaign since announcing the initiative in May.
Baylor aims to raise funds for new scholarships and a new Dallas campus for the Louise Herrington School of Nursing, plus increase support for academic programs, endowed professorships, student life services and career development.
“He effectively reorganized and refocused our university development office, and his energy and creativity have helped Baylor reach historic milestones in private giving,” Starr said in the letter.
“In short, Ken Hall has made a positive and enduring impact on Baylor University. For his many talents and his able service to Baylor University, we are immensely grateful.”
Baylor reported $345.3 million in gifts and pledges between Feb. 1, 2012, and Feb. 28, 2014, the largest two-year fundraising total in the university’s history. Nearly half went to support the construction of McLane Stadium and other athletics venues, while the rest was directed toward academic programs, scholarships and new facilities.
Despite the sudden termination, Hall said Baylor administrators have been gracious in helping him transition out of the office. He said he and his wife will relocate back to their lake home in East Texas.
“I’m just going to continue to reflect and just root for the Baylor Bears for the rest of this fall, for sure,” Hall said. “Hopefully, we’re going to win out and go to the playoffs. (I’ve gone) from an employee to a loyal fan and supporter and donor.”
Before arriving at Baylor, Hall was the CEO of Buckner International, a faith-based service organization that raises funds to support orphans, needy children and families, and seniors.
He also chaired the 10-person presidential search advisory committee that eventually selected Starr to be Baylor’s president in 2010, and briefly served on Baylor’s board of regents before he was appointed to the vice president’s post.
Hall was the fourth person to fill the university’s chief development role in 10 years.
His termination also follows a string of turnovers in Baylor’s leadership team this year. Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Davis left this summer to become president of Furman University in South Carolina, while Vice President of Human Resources John Whelan stepped down to become associate vice president of human resources at the University of Indiana.
Karla Leeper, who had been promoted to vice president of board relations and executive affairs at Baylor just last year, took a position as chief of staff to the president at Georgia Regents University.