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What role do Baylor arts and humanities programs play in the life of an economically vibrant community?

June 17, 2009

Hyde: In my mind, this may be the most overlooked piece of the puzzle. Almost everyone understands how the school of business, the school of engineering or the sciences impact economic development. Unfortunately, some also believe a school of music, honors college, department of art or theater arts have little or nothing to do with economic development. This couldn't be further from the truth. Business drives economic development and businesses run on outstanding employees. These employees locate where their children can get a good education, learn a musical instrument, and be exposed to the humanities in a vibrant and dynamic fashion. Families look for communities offering a lifestyle that includes live theater, music and art. A thriving research university with a strong liberal arts program is a great draw for families like these.

Hernandez: There is a large body of research that links music instruction to increased intelligence. As an educator, I value the role that Baylor plays in providing enrichment opportunities for our students. I also believe that when students are engaged in extracurricular activities such as music, drama, sports, or other types of art programs at Baylor, they are exposed to the concept of college and assume that attending college is simply something that you do when you finish high school. Our goal is to prepare students and bridge the way for them to attend and graduate from college.

Vaughan: Economic development and great universities are about attracting talented and creative people. The university's programs in arts and humanities make our community richer and enable us--Baylor and Waco--to attract the best and brightest.

DuPuy: Baylor University student programs and events, homecoming, regular major athletic events, theater productions, opera, and a rich array of music productions, add significantly to the tapestry of Waco's quality of life. Only a bright, energetic university student body can deliver such venues. Waco is both benefactor and supporter of the Baylor cultural arts scene.

Likewise, Baylor faculty and administration both provide leadership and support to the educational and arts arenas throughout the community. That can only happen when a city collaborates with its university. Interdependent ventures include the Waco Symphony, the Central Texas String Academy, the Hippodrome Theatre's traveling live performances, Downtown Outdoor Public Art, the annual Cultural Arts Fest, Waco Jazz Orchestra and more. Baylor and Waco are a solid partnership.

Baylor's campus, with its handsome educational facilities and campus landscape, adds significant architectural quality to the Waco community's value proposition. Just as Baylor is working to develop its property assets to support its future growth needs, Waco is also working with Baylor to enhance the connectors between the campus and downtown, to strategically engage Baylor with the city, rich in history, art, music, theater, literature, retail, and multi-cultural offerings that support a vibrant quality of life and strong economy.