Every time I think I’ve published my final Trib column, something else happens at my beloved Baylor University and prompts me to sound off once more. So it is now regarding my alma mater’s search for a new president.
I enrolled in Baylor in September 1941. Three months later the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. After several years in World War II, I returned to Baylor in March 1946 and received by bachelor’s degree in May 1947. My education has served me well. After 38 years as a certified public accountant in Dallas, I retired in May 1985.
In 1992 my wife and I moved to Waco to get more involved in activities at Baylor, both academically and athletically. One shouldn’t be surprised. My wife, too, is a Baylor grad, as are three of my children. My passion has been the Baylor Bear Foundation and, as a director, I have raised nearly $4 million in contributions. Even to this day, now into my 90s, I remain deeply involved in numerous Baylor goings-on.
Not surprisingly, I’m concerned about Baylor’s direction and want only the best for it, even as it struggles amidst many controversies. However, one of my solutions may surprise friends and fellow alumni. It involves the committee formed to search for Baylor’s next president under the chairmanship of Bob Brewton, president and principal owner of Brewton Investment Corp. and 2011 Baylor Distinguished Alumnus.
Given the history of Baylor regents firing three presidents in just over a decade’s time, one might well ask what qualified person would even want to serve as Baylor’s next president. I propose one whose vitality, intellect and, yes, resilience are well-known: former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckebee, whose Baptist credentials are beyond question.
Two-time candidate for U.S. president, Huckabee has an ability to communicate with a wide range of audiences. This has been demonstrated often through his TV appearances on Fox News. He also demonstrated success in politics, considering he was one of the longest-serving governors in Arkansas history, distinguished by tax cuts, job creation, reconstruction of his state’s road system, education reform and health-care initiatives. And he has been an ordained Baptist minister.
His rich experience strikes me as ample qualification for overseeing administration of Baylor in a time of change and upheaval. And I think he would do a great job of raising money for our university.
Mike Huckabee doesn’t know me from Adam. I don’t know if he would even be interested in the Baylor presidency. But I hope the Baylor search committee — a group buoyed by people with remarkable insights into real talent and leadership, including regent emeritus Drayton McLane — takes note of the former governor and explores the possibility. If we must do without the absolutely stellar contributions of Baylor’s last president — former federal judge and solicitor general Ken Starr, the smartest man I’ve ever met — then Mike Huckabee is an ideal candidate for the tough job ahead.
Baylor alumnus Carroll Webb remains a director of the Baylor Bear Foundation, which provides scholarship funds for Baylor’s student-athletes and supports and promotes the interest and welfare of Baylor athletics.