Great Texts Alumnus Establishes Endowment in Honor of Grandmother
“I said yes to Baylor not knowing how I was going to make it happen, but I was able to not only survive, but thrive because people sought to give,” Scott said. “Whether it was the small offering my church collected for me or outside scholarships, every bit of my Baylor existence was touched by the generosity of others.”
Now an accomplished documentary filmmaker, Scott is in a position to give back to students like himself. This fall he established the Costell Scott Endowed Scholarship in memory of his grandmother.
“I feel like this scholarship is my tithe,” Scott said. “It’s my obligation to give back, not kick the ladder away, but build the ladder even taller. I am here today because people stepped up and decided to help, and I’m here to do the same.”
Scott’s grandmother, Costell, passed away before he began his time at Baylor. For him, this scholarship is a way to extend her legacy of sacrificial giving.
“My older brother and I were raised by my grandmother on a homemaker’s salary,” Scott said. “She and my great-aunt were the ones who took us to church and taught us what it meant to work hard. She never got to see me graduate, but her life and legacy will live on through this scholarship. It’s incredible to think her name and her hard work are represented through this endowment and will help students who will never know her afford their education for generations to come.”
Because of Scott’s generosity, the Costell Scott Endowed Scholarship will provide direct support to Honors College students.
As Honors College Dean Douglas Henry, Ph.D., observes, “Our donors often move and inspire us, and this is certainly true of Christopher Scott. His is one of those remarkable cases in which our Christian academic mission, his talents, others’ generosity, and God’s providence are beautifully united. I’m grateful that his endowed scholarship will bless students, as he has been blessed. I’m also grateful to have been touched by his special life.”
Today, Scott makes a living telling stories. He wrote and directed Class Action Park (2020), about a notorious New Jersey amusement park. It was released on HBO Max where it held number one position following its premiere. In The Five Priests (2021), a selection of the celebrated Cannes World Film Festival, Scott recounts the heroic story of five missionary priests who sacrificed their lives caring for the sick in Shreveport, LA during the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1873. Baylor Bears near and far love his latest documentary film success: Ode to Joy: The Death and Resurrection of Baylor Basketball (2022). For his storytelling and filmmaking successes, Scott was named recipient of the 2022 Baylor Alumni Award for Contributions to the Professions.
Scott’s work has been touted by the New York Times and honored at the world’s prestigious film festivals, but it was in Robert Miner, Ph.D.’s entry level philosophy class that he first discovered the power of great writing.
“When I walked into Dr. Miner’s class, I didn’t know Aristotle, Augustine, or St. Thomas Aquinas even existed,” Scott said. “His class changed my life and woke me up academically. When I began to read their work, it was like I discovered light for the first time. I was instantly hooked.”
Scott, whose career began in politics before venturing into filmmaking, credits his ability to find success in a variety of professions to the Honors College.
“True liberal arts education is designed to liberate the mind to be flexible to think, to create, and to be curious, and my time at Baylor did just that,” Scott said. “I’ve had success as a filmmaker because the Honors College taught me how to think, and when you can do that, I feel like you can find success in any industry.”
Outside of his professional accolades, Scott is proud to be a part of the new wave of black philanthropy at Baylor.
“The experience black students are having now at Baylor is completely different,” Scott said. “The work the university is doing to be more inclusive of its legacy and the history of all its students is very meaningful to me and so many other alumni. My gift is just a drop in the bucket compared to other distinguished graduates, but I am thrilled to be a part of this movement of giving by my fellow African American classmates.”