A longstanding dispute between Baylor University and the 157-year-old Baylor Alumni Association ended March 9 with settlement of a lawsuit filed in 2014.
Baylor sued the alumni association in 2014 for trademark infringement stemming from a dispute that began in 2009 when members objected to a request by the university that the group surrender its independence and come under control of the administration.
The Baylor Alumni Association filed counterclaims in 2014 and 2015 accusing the university of breach of contract for tearing down the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center that housed the association’s office to make way for construction of a new football stadium.
Under terms of the settlement in McLennan County District Court, Baylor agrees to pay the Baylor Alumni Association $2 million to use in any way that advances the association’s nonprofit mission, such as a new office space or scholarships.
Unlike a 2013 transition agreement that would have totally dissolved the association, the Baylor Alumni Association will live on under a new name, most likely the Baylor Line Foundation, and will no longer hold itself out as an “alumni association.”
Under its new name, the Baylor Alumni Association will continue to publish the Baylor Line, a magazine dating back to 1946, with even greater editorial control and operational independence.
“The BAA is proud of its 157-year association with Baylor University,” said Tom Nesbitt, the association’s president. “With this lawsuit behind us, we look forward to ushering in an exciting new chapter for our members and for Baylor, an institution we all hold dear. We are eager to move forward together — united as one Baylor family.”
Baylor President Ken Starr said both parties sought “to bring about a unified effort among all members of the Baylor family to continue to move Baylor forward in a positive direction.”
“The steadfast commitment and active engagement of alumni have been vital to Baylor since the university welcomed its first graduates in the 1850s,” Starr said. “We will continue in the years to come to serve the best interests of our alumni worldwide and to ensure that the light emanating from our cherished university continues to shine brightly and reflect positively on all who feel an affinity for Baylor University.”