Down a Guided Path

With retirement ahead, Terry Maness looks back on a life and career steered by unseen hands

By Justin Walker

Terry Maness, dean of the Hankamer School of Business (HSB), may not know the details of God’s plan, but he has seen the Lord’s hands at work all throughout the different phases of his life.

Maness grew up in Dallas, living in the same home throughout his childhood. Neither of his parents had attended college, but pushed their sons down that path. Being a Baptist family, their mother had one school in mind.

“They wanted us to have the opportunity they didn’t have,” Maness said. “They were very serious about us going to Baylor.”

And that’s what they did. His older brother, Ron, was first to make the move to Waco in 1964. Three years later, Maness followed. Like his brother, he started in the business school. But by his sophomore year, he was questioning that decision. A less-than-stellar performance in his first economics course led Maness to look outside of the business school.

Between his sophomore and junior year, Maness elected to give economics another chance, thinking it would give him a good foundation for whatever career he chose.

“I decided I would go back and take the second course, and if it seemed to gel, then I would pursue an Economics major in the College of Arts and Sciences,” he said.

That is what he ended up doing, earning a BA in Economics in May of 1971. The chair of the Department of Economics, Jim Truitt, saw potential in Maness, and suggested he apply for graduate school. Maness took the opportunity and began work on an MS in Economics.

While becoming a first-generation college graduate and starting grad school would normally be the highlight of someone’s year, it wasn’t the case for Maness. Earlier in 1971, he married his college sweetheart Nancy. Because she was a year behind him at Baylor, attending grad school meant she would be able to finish her degree without changing schools.

His master’s degree featured a lot of finance courses, which is something he enjoyed taking during his undergraduate career. Maness served as a teaching assistant during his program, and once again, Truitt was there as a mentor.

“He encouraged me to think about a doctoral program,” Maness said. “He offered me an opportunity to be hired on as a full-time lecturer for a year or so, to see if that was something I was interested in.”

It ended up being just that. Maness served as an instructor for Economics and Finance at Baylor beginning in the fall of 1972. Nancy had graduated the prior spring and accepted a position on campus, so the two began their post-college life in the town they fell in love in.

During that first year, Maness’s interest in a doctoral program grew. Nancy was on board, and in the fall of 1973, the two had moved to Bloomington, Indiana, where he began his DBA in Finance at Indiana University. He finished the program in three years, and spent a fourth year at IU as a visiting assistant professor in the Finance Department.

None of this was part of his plan, Maness said, if he had sat down and made one prior to it all. But he knew that all of this was the work of God.

“All of this was the Lord providing some direction through Jim Truitt, and just opening the doors up,” Maness said. “It just seemed like doors opened on a consistent path and it felt like the right thing to do.”

God continued to open doors for him, establishing His own plan for Maness, which led him back to Baylor.

While working at IU, Maness began applying for full-time faculty positions across the country. Most of the applications caused him to compare the schools to Baylor, where he ultimately wanted to be. He had phone interviews and scheduled campus visits, but when the offer came in, he knew what to do.

“I went ahead and canceled those opportunities to visit and accepted an offer from Baylor,” he said.

When Maness arrived back at Baylor in the fall of 1977, he started out as an assistant professor of Finance. He soon met his next mentor, HSB Dean Richard Scott. While Truitt saw Maness’s potential as an educator, Scott saw his potential as a leader.

A year later he added associate dean for undergraduate programs to his title, and in 1981, he became the Carr P. Collins Professor of Finance. In 1985, he accepted the position as chairman of the Department of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate.

All while taking on more leadership roles and responsibilities, Maness continued to teach. He was an accomplished professor at that, earning multiple awards and honors over the ’80s and ’90s.

“I think the role of the faculty member really puts that person into a position to have an impact on people’s lives,” he said. “Those recognitions were simply reaffirmation that I was carrying out the opportunity I had.”

And then God opened another door. In 1996, Richard Scott was named vice president of development for Baylor. Maness filled in as acting dean while a committee searched for a permanent replacement. A year later, Maness was their choice.

It has been quite the journey since then, not just for Maness but for the Hankamer School of Business as well. Since taking over in 1997, admission standards to enter HSB have risen, but so has student enrollment. Undergraduate student numbers increased from 2,989 his first semester to 3,344 in the fall of 2019. There are more graduate students as well, growing from 217 to 605 in the same time frame.

With a growing student body, the School had to grow in faculty and staff as well. There were 105 full-time faculty members and 25 full-time staff members in 1997. As of 2019, 165 faculty and 69 staff call HSB home.

And speaking of home, Maness played a significant role in the development of the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation. The building opened in the fall of 2015, allowing for continued expansion of students and programs and increasing opportunity for student and faculty success.

Maness is very proud of his involvement in this project, he said.

“It was a great opportunity that not every dean has,” he said. “To see that happen, to be involved in that and to see the end result and how it has impacted our students was kind of neat.”

As far as his greatest accomplishments in life? That would be meeting Nancy and raising their two children, David and Amy—both of whom went on to earn degrees from the Hankamer School of Business.

“Nancy has been so supportive through it all,” Maness said. “As I’ve taken on increasing responsibilities, she’s been very supportive and never second guessed anything. We have talked about them and prayed over them. I really appreciate the sacrifices she made along the way. Nancy’s calling to be a stay-at-home mom freed me up in many ways to be more involved at the School.”

Now that retirement is around the corner, he hopes to travel more with his wife, spend more time with grandkids and continue to grow as an individual while giving back to the community. And he will probably go fly fishing once or twice, as well.

“While some people call it retirement, I really see it as a different season of life,” Maness said. “I don’t think it’s stepping away from something as much as I’m stepping into a new phase. Some things I have figured out and some I haven’t, and that will be part of the adventure.”



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