The Robert & Elizabeth Palacios Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 2022 by Dr. Liz Palacios (BA ’80 & MSE ’91) and the Palacios Family of Waco, Texas, in honor of Robert and Elizabeth Palacios' 28 years at La Vega High School and 40 years at Baylor University respectively, where they taught, mentored, and guided students both in and out of the classroom. Together, as first-generation themselves, they encouraged students to not only pursue higher education, but to also become the very best version of themselves, and to give back to others.
Robert and Liz met at Baylor in 1977 and were together for 44 wonderful years. Together they have two married sons, a married daughter, three grandsons, and five granddaughters. In the Palacios family, they have eight degrees from Baylor.
Upon Robert’s death, hundreds of personal testimonials were shared about how he took a personal interest in them, was a “second father” to others, and to all was a strong, Latino, professional and personal role model. During his time at La Vega I.S.D., he taught World History, American History, and English as a Second Language district-wide. He believed in higher education as a way out of poverty. He was so very proud of all his students both in and out of the classroom. Robert’s last wish was to leave a legacy for underrepresented students to attend college, especially our alma mater, Baylor University. Robert’s joy was his faith, his family, and his students.
Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) D. Palacios is a native of San Antonio, Texas, and has over 40 years of experience in higher education. She received both her bachelor’s degree in business administration (’81) and master’s degree (’91) in student services and professional counseling at Baylor University. She joined Baylor in 1981 where she served in various areas at Baylor including graduate minority recruitment in the Graduate School and community service in the Department of Student Activities. In 2002, she earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in School Psychology and joined the faculty in the School of Education at Baylor. Dr. Palacios taught undergraduate courses in secondary education and graduate courses in school psychology and educational administration. She continues to teach a graduate course.
In 2006, she was named Dean for Student Development in the Division of Student Life overseeing various departments including Multicultural Affairs, Community Engagement and Service, the Academy for Leadership Development, Student Activities, and Campus Recreation. In 2016, she was named the first Special Assistant to the President on Diversity at Baylor University until 2019. In 2021 she was appointed as the Special Assistant to the Vice President for Student Life for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Baylor University. Dr. Palacios has authored numerous publications, presentations, and book chapters in the fields of both school psychology and student affairs. She was elected to the Board of Trustees for McLennan Community College in 2019. She is a past President of the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education, and an inaugural faculty member for the NASPA Escaleras Leadership Institute for Hispanic Student Affairs professionals. She serves on various national, regional, and local boards on higher education, retention, diversity, and leadership development. In all of her positions at Baylor, she has been the first Latina in those roles serving as a trailblazer and mentor for many students and professionals of color during her time in higher education.