In October 2018 Baylor announced a gift of $3.5 million from Mark (BBA ’80) and Jennifer (BSEd ’80) McCollum of Houston to create the McCollum Family Chair in Data Sciences within Baylor’s nationally ranked School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS).
The gift will serve as a cornerstone upon which growth and development of the University’s initiatives in data sciences will be built, leading to the expansion of Baylor’s service to the surrounding world and providing Baylor undergraduate and graduate students with dynamic opportunities to further their education and open doors to leadership positions in a variety of careers.
“Jenni and I are extremely thankful for the opportunity to support President Livingstone’s vision for Baylor serving as a preeminent Christian research university,” said Mark McCollum, who has served as a member of the Baylor Board of Regents since 2011. “We love Baylor and believe in Baylor’s mission and strategic direction, particularly toward growing Baylor’s capacity and impact in the data sciences due to the field’s promise in benefitting communities around the world.”
Data sciences is a rapidly advancing field relying on techniques and theories drawn from machine learning, data mining, scalable data storage and digital communication, as well as the disciplines of statistics, mathematics and library sciences. Baylor is conducting a national search for a person with a distinguished record as a scholar and teacher to become the inaugural holder of the chair.
“Through the creation of this endowed chair, Baylor now has the wherewithal to dynamically pursue opportunities in data sciences, both within engineering and computer science as well as collaboratively where biology, statistics, and computer science intersect,” Dr. Dennis O’Neal, ECS dean, said. “As an area of academic research with real-world applications, data sciences is an important and dynamic field, and Baylor’s mission as a Christian research university positions us to make a significant contribution to its development.”