WACO, Texas — Former
Whitewater special prosecutor and current Pepperdine University Law School Dean
Kenneth Starr has been named the 14th president of Baylor University.
Baylor’s board of regents elected
Starr unanimously on Feb. 12, upon the unanimous recommendation of both a
14-member search committee and a 10-member advisory committee for the
presidential search, according to a Baylor news release.
The world’s largest Baptist university will be led by the man whose
investigation of a 1980s Arkansas real-estate deal gone bad nearly brought down
the nation’s last Baptist president in 1998, with Congress’ failed attempt to
remove President Bill Clinton from office.
Starr will succeed John
Lilley, who was fired
for failing to “bring the Baylor family together” in July 2008. Lilley’s
two-year tenure followed the 10-year presidency of Robert Sloan, which was
marked by discord over the university’s future, specifically Baylor 2012, a
decade-long strategy. David Garland, dean of Baylor’s George W. Truett
Theological Seminary, has been interim president since August 2008.
Starr, a Texas native with a background in the Churches of Christ, has been
dean of Pepperdine’s law school in Malibu, Calif., since 2004. He is a former
federal judge and solicitor general of the United States, and he remains
an attorney with the prominent Washington-based law firm Kirkland & Ellis.
He is a longtime member of McLean Bible Church in McLean, Va., a conservative, non-denominational
evangelical congregation in the Washington suburbs.
From 1994 to 1999, he was
independent counsel for five investigations, including the death of White House
counsel Vince Foster, the Whitewater real-estate dealings of Bill and Hillary
Clinton, and Bill Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
His investigation resulted
in the Starr Report, which asserted Clinton lied about his affair with Lewinsky
in a sworn deposition. That allegation led to Clinton’s impeachment.
Starr was born in Vernon,
Texas, in 1946 and raised in San Antonio. His father was a Churches of Christ
minister, and Pepperdine is affiliated with the Churches of Christ.
He is a graduate of George
Washington University, Brown University and Duke University Law School.
Early in his career, Starr
clerked for Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David Dyer and U.S.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger.
He is the author of more
than 25 publications, including First Among Equals: The Supreme Court in
According to the Waco
Tribune-Herald, Starr has said he will join a Baptist church upon moving to
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Knox is
editor of the Baptist Standard. ABP Managing Editor Robert Marus contributed to this story.)