Binders full of notes, correspondence and reports are neatly stacked in trays and desk shelves along the wall in the office of Baylor College of Medicine’s Chancellor Emeritus Dr. William T. Butler.
Spread across a round table, Butler has packets of outlines he is using to organize his thoughts and work for his fourth and final installment of Arming For Battle Against Disease Through Education, Research and Patient Care at Baylor College of Medicine, a project more than 18 years in the making.
The third book in the series is now available to purchase.
Bulter, a distinguished immunologist, joined Baylor in 1966. He has served as President, Associate Dean, Dean of Admissions, Acting Executive Vice President and Dean, and President and Chief Executive Officer of the College.
He embarked on recording the history of the College after he stepped down as president in 1996. Collecting more than 350 oral histories, a plethora of correspondences, documents, photographs and notes through the help of the College’s Archives staff, Butler set out to compile the College’s history.
“I spent about a year just looking at the information, to see what we had, and writing a general outline,” Butler said. “I was shocked at how long it took to just write an outline of what we would want to accomplish.”
He realized the mountains of information would become a multi-volume book, based around themes in the College’s growth.
“I wasn’t trying to write something you would call bedtime reading,” Butler said. “I was trying to write an historical document that people could come back to and use as a reference.”
He said the initial plan was to only cover the 100-year history of the College, but exciting changes and growth have prompted him to continue chronicling Baylor’s story.
“Every era builds on the past and nothing happens that doesn’t happen incrementally,” Butler said. “It’s the building block for the future, basically.”
He said each challenge the College has faced has made it stronger as an institution.
“You don’t sense it when you are there, but going back and reading some of these materials you can see the changes taking place,” he said. “When you are living it every day you don’t see the changes taking place as much because it’s so small each day. “
His final volume will chronicle the College’s new alliance with CHI St. Luke’s Health and the completion of the CHI St. Luke’s Health Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center.