The Corner

Back From Baylor

I’m back in from Waco, where I attended a meeting Friday at which angry alumni of the historically Baptist Baylor University confronted the school’s president, Dr. Robert Sloan, at a public forum. Very strange, this controversy. Sloan and his administration are trying something exciting and fairly novel in Protestant higher education: broadening and deepening Baylor’s commitment to Christianity and classical Christian scholarship (which means they’re starting to dig, in a sustained and intentional way, into the historical roots of Christian philosophy and theology). I thought Sloan and his team did an admirable job of rebutting their opponents, who have been reduced to slandering Sloan as a “fundamentalist” (which is what liberal Christians call everyone to their right) because he believes Baylor should be intentional about maintaining its Christian identity, and should become a beacon of Christian intellectual endeavor in American higher education. To this end, he’s hired NRO contributor and former Boston College philosopher Dr. Thomas Hibbs as dean of the Honors College. I met several faculty members from the Great Texts program. After spending some time among the committed Baptists and small-o orthodox Christians from other faith traditions teaching in that program, I’ve no doubt that there are some pretty terrific things going on at Baylor these days. I hope Baylor gets the George W. Bush library, over which the school is competing with SMU; if Sloan succeeds in his visionary plans, Baylor is going to become an academic powerhouse within a generation.

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