Elizabeth Vardaman Engaged Learning Endowed Fund
Join us in honoring Elizabeth “Betsy” Vardaman for her 38 years of service to Baylor University by making a gift to help establish The Elizabeth Vardaman Engaged Learning Endowed Fund.
Elizabeth “Betsy” Vardaman earned her B.A in 1965 and her M.A. in 1980 from Baylor University. Betsy is retiring at the end of May as the Associate Dean for Engaged Learning.
For more than 20 years, Betsy served as mentor for many of Baylor’s top students in her role as Associate Dean for Engaged Learning in the College of Arts & Sciences. Her guidance paved the way for Fulbright, Truman, Rotary, Marshall, Rhodes, Gates and Soros Scholars. Her dedication to Baylor’s students is legendary as she has helped them find their purpose, celebrated their victories, and consoled them during their challenging moments. In her years of experience, she expressed the following in an interview published in Baylor Art & Sciences May 9, 2017.
"I’ve had too many privileged moments to count with students. In fact, I imagine almost all of us here have had such interactions that adhere to our souls, too, as students think, pray, wrestle, meditate, contemplate, push again, deny failures, weep, startle to attention with epiphanies, embrace success and jump with joy. They make us feel younger than we have a right to feel, and when student faces morph into something new, or bright lights seem to be going on and off in their heads, they reaffirm for us why we went into teaching. As they have interior, perhaps life-altering, conversations with themselves guided by their faith, sometimes we have the honor of being in the room, or on Skype, when it happens. Many of us could list hundreds of such moments.
Many Baylor students have bid for national and international scholarship opportunities, knowing that all the work they invest might still leave them outside the winners’ circle. Still, they go hammer and tong at the challenge –– and sometimes they prevail! They send us postcards from around the world. Last week, one of our students at Oxford sent me a text and invited me for tea! We jubilate with them at the moment, and then through the mind’s eye, for years afterward.
All this is to say, across the campus, every day, our faculty encounter students who are seeking their own defining passions for their careers and lives. We help them figure out who they are, their callings, their talents, their purpose. Faculty, staff and administrators meet the terms of their contracts in dynamic classrooms, in research, and serving on committees here and within the larger Waco community, but they also spend other hours helping students take first steps toward aligning their skills, interests, aptitudes, values –– and joys. As an institution, we have always been famous for that. We always will be."
Betsy’s commitment to Baylor is honored through The Elizabeth Vardaman Engaged Learning Endowed Fund and seeks to support the students she served during her time at Baylor. This fund will provide students with transformational experiences through opportunities such as undergraduate research, internships, study abroad, community service, or other experiences outside of the classroom.
*Elizabeth "Betsy" Vardaman will be notified of all donors who have helped to create this endowed fund in her honor.