Baylor Regents Appoint OBU Graduate As Interim President

Baylor University’s Board of Regents appointed William D. Underwood as interim president of the Waco, Texas, university Friday morning. Underwood, a 1982 Oklahoma Baptist University graduate, holds The Leon Jaworski Chair in Practice and Procedure at Baylor Law School. He will begin his interim post on June 1, at which time current Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. will transition to chancellor.

Prior to joining the Baylor faculty in 1990, Underwood practiced civil trial law with Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, an elite litigation firm based in Dallas. He took a two-year leave of absence from the faculty between 1997-98 to serve as Baylor’s general counsel.

After completed a bachelor’s degree in political science at OBU, Underwood was a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, where he was a member of the Board of Editors of the University of Illinois Law Review. Underwood graduated as salutatorian of his class, and was a member of the Order of the Coif. Following graduation from law school, he completed a prestigious federal judicial clerkship with the Honorable Sam D. Johnson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Underwood has published extensively in the field of civil practice and procedure, including articles that have led to significant changes in federal and state procedural law. He also is a high-profile courtroom lawyer who continues to successfully represent clients in a variety of civil and criminal cases.

Underwood’s wife, the former Lesli Pearson, is a native of Shawnee. The Underwoods are the parents of two children, Jessica, 16, and William, 11. Underwood’s father, Dr. William H. Underwood Jr., is a 1966 OBU graduate.

Baylor Regents, on Friday, approved a $296 million operating budget for the 2005-06 fiscal year.