Starr named Baylor president

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WACO – Baylor University regents unanimously have chosen Kenneth Starr to be the 14th president of the school.

Starr currently serves as dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law. He may be best known as the independent counsel who was appointed to investigate the death of Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster as well as President Bill Clinton’s Whitewater real estate investments. His efforts later expanded into other areas, including into Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinski.

Starr succeeds David Garland, who has served as interim president of Baylor University since August 2008 and who will continue in the role he has maintained as dean of George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

“We are delighted to announce the appointment of Judge Ken Starr as the 14th president of Baylor University,” said Regents Chair R. Dary Stone. “His depth of experience and exceptional record as a university dean and legal scholar, his dedication to the highest ideals of the Christian faith, and his profound commitment to public service and visionary leadership make him the ideal person to lead Baylor at this remarkable time in the university’s history.”

Regent Joseph Armes, who chaired the presidential search committee, also praised Starr.

“During the course of our conversations, it became clear to both committees that Dean Starr’s success at Pepperdine Law School was driven by his commitment to the highest standards of academic excellence and that he would apply that same commitment to achieving Baylor’s aspirations for scholarship and teaching,” Armes said. “A comprehensive national search process has produced a fifth generation Texan who, throughout his distinguished career in law, the academy and public service, has been an articulate advocate for Christian ideals in the public square.”

“Judge Ken Starr brings to this task an uncommon understanding of Baylor’s unique and distinct mission as a national Christian university with historic Baptist ties. He represents the very best of what it means to be an active churchman who, along with his wife Alice, puts his belief into action,” said Ken Hall, chair of the presidential search advisory committee and CEO of Buckner International.

Starr said he respects Baylor’s history as he looks forward to its future. “With its great tradition in the Christian world and its growing international reputation as a research university that continues to care deeply about undergraduate education, Baylor is poised to have an increasingly expanding global impact. With the goals of educational excellence and Christian commitment remaining firmly before us, I count it a great blessing and honored responsibility to commit my talents and strengths to stand alongside the Baylor family in writing the next chapter in this university’s storied history.”

With a distinguished career in education, the law and public service, Starr has served since 2004 as the Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and Professor of Law at Pepperdine University. He also is of counsel to the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where he was a partner from 1993 to 2004, specializing in appellate work, antitrust, federal courts, federal jurisdiction and constitutional law.

As Solicitor General of the United States from 1989 to 1993, Starr argued 25 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also served as United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1981 to 1983, as law clerk to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger from 1975 to 1977 and as law clerk to Fifth Circuit Judge David W. Dyer from 1973 to 1974. Starr was appointed to serve as Independent Counsel for five investigations, including Whitewater, from 1994 to 1999.

Starr previously taught constitutional law as an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law and was a distinguished visiting professor at George Mason University School of Law and Chapman Law School. After graduating from San Antonio’s Sam Houston High School, he earned his bachelor’s degree from George Washington University in 1968, his master’s degree from Brown University in 1969 and his J.D. degree from Duke University Law School in 1973. He is admitted to practice in California, the District of Columbia, Virginia and the U.S. Supreme Court.

He is the author of more than 25 publications, and his book, First Among Equals: The Supreme Court in American Life, published in 2002, was praised by U.S. Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle as “eminently readable and informative…not just the best treatment to-date of the Court after [Chief Justice Earl] Warren, it is likely to have that distinction for a long, long time.”

Starr has received a multitude of honors and awards, including the J. Reuben Clark Law Society 2005 Distinguished Service Award, the 2004 Capital Book Award, the Jefferson Cup award from the FBI, the Edmund Randolph Award for Outstanding Service in the Department of Justice and the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service.

By Baylor staff

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5 Responses to “Starr named Baylor president”

  1. Glen Says:

    The headline should read: “Baylor Regents Abandon the Pretense of Being Baptist.”

    Hiring a life-long Church of Christ member to run the world’s largest Baptist school is bad enough. But hiring a partisan political celebrity will bring nothing but more division and conflict to Baylor’s already tarnished image.

    Sad day on the Brazos.

  2. Sandy Grigsby Says:

    Did Mr. Starr go to a church while serving at Pepperdine from 2004 to present?

  3. John Says:

    Sandy, Marv Knox is reporting Starr and his wife attended University Church of Christ on Pepperdine’s campus.

  4. Sandra Grigsby Says:

    Mr. Starr served his first day as President of Baylor today. Is he a member of a local Baptist church?

  5. John Says:

    Sandra, Mr. Starr has joined Columbus Avenue Baptist Church in Waco, according to a Baylor spokesperson.

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