Testimonials from Friends of the Schmeltekopf Fellowship
J. Randall O'Brien, President at Carson-Newman University, Former Provost and Executive Vice President at Baylor:
"When Don Schmeltekopf arrived at Baylor University as Provost in 1990, the campus conversation regarding the essence and future of Christian higher education deepened and lengthened. During his twelve years as Provost the university’s commitment to the integration of faith and learning became more verbal, visual, and pronounced. Symposia, hiring, architecture, ethos, all reflected the passion of the Provost to build an ever-greater, intentionally Christian research university."
"Don launched me into Christian higher education administration insisting on my joining his leadership team to help Baylor “enter the top-tier of American research universities, while deepening and strengthening our faith commitment.” Along with other luminaries such as Marsden, Noll, Burtchaell, Dockery, Ringenberg, Holmes, Jacobsen, and others, Don Schmeltekopf must be remembered for shouting , “Much!” to the question put by Tertullian: “What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?” When the history of Baylor University is updated, Donald Schmeltekopf’s name will be writ large for his seminal contribution to the idea of a Christian university, at Baylor and beyond."
Stan Poole, Former Vice President for Academic Affairs at Ouachita Baptist University (2002-2022):
"Few if any individuals have done more than Don Schmeltekopf to ensure the vitality of Baptist higher education in the future. For many years Dr. Schmeltekopf and his wife, Judy, have graciously offered their support and friendship to many, nurturing a sense of community among scholars and university leaders throughout the Baptist family."
"In recent years Dr. Schmeltekopf has taken on the challenge of preparing future leaders through programs such as the Seminar on Academic Leadership in Baptist Universities. As a result of his efforts, faculty and administrators are developing a renewed vision for Christian higher education and honing their leadership skills to help make that vision a reality in Baptist institutions of all sizes, types, and geographical locations."
Todd L. Lake, Vice President for Spiritual Development at Belmont University:
"Don knew that schools that are intentional about engaging in Christian higher education attract better students and better faculty than one might predict. I remember his standing before the full faculty of Baylor and revealing the results of a study he had helped commission as Provost. In his usual understated way, he revealed that if one looked at the usual metrics, one would predict that Baylor would be on a par with...after pausing for dramatic effect...Don would mention a small, directional, state school. But in fact Baylor’s faculty achievements, average ACT, etc. demonstrated that we were punching well above our weight. He rightly credited this to Baylor’s increasing clarity about its Christian mission. This attracted students, faculty and staff who could go anywhere, but who wanted to be part of a student-centered Christian research university. Don’s leadership ensured that Baylor never bought into the false dichotomy between academic excellence and Christian commitment. Not only could Baylor have both, but he taught us that in reality they were mutually reinforcing."
C. Pat Taylor, President at Southwest Baptist University:
"Don and Judy Schmeltekopf have been great friends to Judy and me for many years. He is an exemplary leader in Baptist higher education and has often been a voice of reason in our profession. Don often has given me wise and valuable counsel. Judy and I are proud that we can call Don and Judy our friends. We always have treasured their friendship."
Mike Arrington, Former Executive Director of IABCU:
"Don Schmeltekopf has been a friend, an advisor, a colleague, and a significant role model for me and so many others in the Baptist higher education community. I deeply appreciate the many positive contributions Don and Judy have made to our common cause."
J. Larry Lyon, Dean of Baylor University Graduate School:
"Don gave me my first and only administrative position. He was guide, mentor and role model for me throughout his time at Baylor. Judy continues to remain a close friend to my wife, Carol. As a couple, they complement each other perfectly. Though I kid him about it sometimes, it is true that everyone likes Judy; most people like Don."
"During Don's 12 years as provost, we began to build a much stronger academic university. Teaching loads were reduced as research became institutionalized, PhD production doubled and six new doctoral programs were added under Don's leadership. I am a better administrator, and Baylor is a better university because of Don Schmeltekopf."
J. Bradley Creed, President at Campbell University:
"When I served as a dean at Baylor under the leadership of Don Schmeltekopf, I never contemplated becoming a chief academic officer at another institution. Now after almost thirteen years of service as the Provost at Samford University, I reflect back upon the occasions when Don’s leadership at Baylor has been an example for me. Don Schmeltekopf has also played a pivotal and strategic role in the renewal of Christian higher education in the United States over the last twenty years. His leadership at Baylor has been instrumental in the university’s fealty to its distinctive and historic Christian mission and identity. For all of us who share this vocation, he has been a champion for education that engages the riches of the Christian faith and highest standards of the academy."
Bobby Hall, President at Wayland Baptist University:
"Don’s contribution to Baptist higher education cannot be overstated. We have seen the impact of his insight, intellect, and faith not only at the institutions he has served, but also at those across the nation. Wayland faculty members and administrators have participated in the Seminar on Academic Leadership each year since its inception. Without exception, these individuals have become better equipped for the challenges we face. They are better leaders, and most are now engaged in significant leadership roles at Wayland. Watching Don and his colleagues design and grow this program has been like watching skilled artists at work. They have carefully designed, implemented, and grown a program with impactful value for generations to come. We as Baptists and educators have truly been blessed by Don Schmeltekopf."
Hunter Baker, University Fellow, Administrative Office of the Provost and Associate Professor of Political Science at Union University:
"Donald Schmeltekopf is one of the finest men I have ever known. He mentored me, included me in projects, and gave me the benefit of frank advice. He has contributed much to what Baylor has become in ways both seen and unseen. I am grateful to God that he put Dr. Schmeltekopf in my life during my years at Baylor. He has been a spiritual father to me."
Send your own comments for posting to Larry Lyon, Dean of the Graduate School.