Baylor Honors College Hosts Alumnus Samuel Chen for Academic Honors Convocation

April 28, 2023
Baylor Honors College recently hosted alumnus Samuel Chen (B.A. ’09, M.A. ’11) as the keynote speaker for Academic Honors Convocation. Chen—an award-winning political scientist, consultant, and strategist—gave a powerful address to this year’s honorees in his talk titled, “What Does Washington have to do with Waco?”

“It was an honor to speak to this year’s class of outstanding students,” Chen said. “My hope is that I provided them with a little bit of encouragement as they walk into a world that so desperately needs people who can reject power-obsessed approaches and strive to live as examples of truth and virtue.”

During Chen’s address, he encouraged students to remember that formation is not a destination, but a journey that will continue beyond the walls of the classroom.

“The world defines us by what we do,” Chen said, thinking about the outsized role of workplace and profession. “My hope is that students will remember that their identity – who they are in Christ – determines the significance of every relationship they have and the success of everything they do. Their Baylor education has prepared them well, and it was a privilege to provide them with a charge before they embark on their careers.”

Chen’s talk came on the tail end of J. Harry and Anna Jeanes Academic Week. This year over 120 Honors Program students presented their thesis research and outstanding students from 50 academic departments were recognized. In addition, the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award was announced with Richard Russell, Ph.D., professor of English, as recipient.

Chen, an Honors Program graduate, was thrilled to be invited back to speak because of his own transformational Baylor experience.

“Baylor was life-changing for me,” Chen said. “This is a campus, this is a school, this is a faculty, a student body that just gave so much to me. I consider it a responsibility to give back and invest in the next generation by doing things like partnering with Baylor in Washington and helping the Honors College any way that I can.”

Today, Chen is the founder and principal director of The Liddell Group, a strategy firm recognized for its innovative approach to politics, public policy, and communication. He is also the host of the television show Face the Issues and the author of Thirteen Minutes: Winning, Losing, and Living as Taught by the 2016 Election. Outside of politics and media, Chen also serves as Assistant Professor and Director of the Political Science Program at Northampton Community College.

“I’ve held Sam in high esteem ever since his student days,” said Douglas Henry, Ph.D., dean of the Honors College. “He thinks about important issues with rigor and depth, and he communicates with praiseworthy clarity and conviction. All the while, Sam exudes personal interest and care for those around him. It was a privilege to have him join us for Academic Honors Convocation, and to have him enjoin us to lives of courageous fidelity to truth, especially in a culture that too often succumbs to self-interested manipulation.”

If you would like to learn more about this year’s outstanding students or any of the other awardees, click here.