BOLIVAR — Southwest Baptist University (SBU) trustees Feb. 19 approved a five-year, seven-part strategic plan with initiatives and goals for the university.
The SBU Executive Cabinet, which consists of seven members plus President C. Pat Taylor, spent three days to hammer out the details of the plan that board members wound up passing.
“I believe this is the best strategic plan that we’ve had in my 161/2 years at SBU,” Taylor said.
“Deans and directors will begin leading their units to develop goals and specific objectives with each area on campus. Every work unit, every academic department, will play a role in determining how the strategic plan will be accomplished.”
One of the goals in the strategic plan is to raise the university’s endowment to $30 million in the next few years. The endowment is currently $22.4 million.
Spring enrollment on campus is down from 1,607 in the fall to 1,417. Taylor noted that while that number is 12 more than last year it still fell 18 short of what was projected. Offsetting that a bit is continued strong graduate enrollment and the prospect that the university’s record budget of nearly $52 million will be balanced.
The meeting began on a somber note with the announcement that Trustee Larry Payton died Feb. 18 after a brief illness. Payton was a businessman from Tulsa, Okla., who owned Celebrity Attractions, a company that presents major theatrical, musical, and family entertainment and handles marketing and group sales for national touring events. He was a 1970 graduate of SBU.
“Larry was a wonderful board member,” Taylor said.
Board Secretary Randy Johnson called the roll and mentioned that Payton’s status was “not here but more alive than ever.”
Taylor devoted a good portion of his president’s address to the effort to change the ObamaCare health care mandate that may force universities like SBU to distribute abortion-inducing drugs. He noted that there are 44 current lawsuits to provide a remedy, including 10 filed by Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) members. GuideStone is also advocating on SBU’s behalf.
“The shocking thing to me is that our own federal government would even consider threatening us with a mandate that clearly violates our religious liberty,” Taylor said.
The theme of Taylor’s message to the trustees revolved around change. He said that he believes the university student goes through more changes from ages 18-22 than at any other time of his or her life. SBU is in a constant state of change as well even as the university’s core values and mission statement remain stable.
“We must stay the same while we are constantly changing,” he said. “This paradox is not easy.”