Dean Hibbs: Strong Baylor Catholic to Lead University of Dallas

Founding dean going to Dallas

In March 2019, the University of Dallas announced that its year-long search for a new president had culminated with the appointment of Dr. Thomas S. Hibbs. Dr. Hibbs has led the Honors College at Baylor University as founding dean and professor of ethics and culture. He’s been a substantial figure in the Baylor Catholic community since 2003. He’ll begin his new position on July 1st, 2019.

Dr. Hibbs is an alumnus of the University of Dallas. “I am humbled and honored by this appointment, which allows me to return to the university where I first learned what Catholic liberal education is all about,” he said, in UD’s official statement on his presidential appointment.

Dr. Hibbs’ wife, Dr. Stacey Hibbs also teaches at Baylor; the couple currently co-teach a class on friendship. They have three children. Two are Baylor alumni, and one currently studies international relations at Baylor.

Accomplished dean, faithful friend of the liberal arts

Dr. Hibbs will be greatly missed by his friends and colleagues in the Baylor community. Not only was he Dean of the Honors College for sixteen years, he was instrumental in the creation of the Baylor in Washington program and helped found the Confraternity of Mary, a fellowship of Catholic faculty and staff at Baylor. One of his greatest contribution to the Baylor community, however, has been to advocate the liberal arts within Christian higher education.

A Newmanesque figure at Baylor

“Having Dr. Hibbs holding the reins at the Honors College has been like having a John Henry Newman in charge of your college,” said Dr. Melinda Nielsen, assistant professor of Classical Literature at the Honors College. “It has been an honor and a blessing to have him forming the intellectual community of many students and faculty, and uniting Christians of all stripes under the banner of faith seeking understanding.”

John Smith, director of development at St. Peter Catholic Student Center, echoed Dr. Nielsen’s remarks. “During the many years Baylor was gifted with Dr. Hibbs, he formed a more authentic, intellectually-grounded Catholic community through his presence, talks, meetings with Catholic students, collegiality with other Catholic professors (especially through the Confraternity of Mary), and in particularly his support for Catholic student organizations like the Knights of Columbus.”

Hospitality and friendship

Dr. Hibbs will be missed for far more than his intellectual accomplishments, however. Dr. David White, senior lecturer in the Classics department, recalled his favorite memory with Dr. Hibbs. “When David and Elizabeth Corey and I were running the Baylor in Italy program, Dr. Hibbs was in Italy on other business, but he made a point of coming to visit with us. We spent a wonderful afternoon and evening together, and I enjoyed getting to know him better away from our schedules on campus, in the more relaxed setting of Italy in the summertime.”

John Smith also added, “I will certainly miss our coffees and conversations about the arts, literature, and the intellectual ecumenism he fostered through the Baylor in Washington program.”

Farewell and reception

We wish Dr. Hibbs well in his move to the University of Dallas. He and his wife Stacey will be missed. They’ll be in our prayers, and we’re confident of the good work they’ll do in Dallas.

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