It's that time of year again. In spite of sweltering August heat, hundreds of volunteers from across campus and the Waco community once again donned matching t-shirts and eagerly lined up to unload miles of cars carrying all the essentials a college freshman might need. As someone who lives basically across the street from campus, I have to admit I sometimes reluctantly give up the casual calm of summer to returning students. But once they arrive, I welcome the life and excitement they bring with them.
The start of the new semester seems like a good time to highlight one of the younger programs that 40 percent of the class of 2013 chose to participate in over the summer: Baylor Line Camp. Line Camp immerses students in the rich history and tradition of the Baylor experience, from an inaugural Dr Pepper Hour to a trip back in time to the birthplace of the University in Independence, Texas. Writer Lane Murphy (a Baylor grad who's just old enough to have been a freshman pre-Line Camp) participated in the activities on our behalf this summer and brings the sights and sounds to life with a first-hand look in "Right from the start," beginning on page 36.
Starting college is not only an exciting and emotional time for the 3,000-plus freshmen rolling onto campus; their parents also go through a range of emotions as they send their kids "Off to college." In the article by that name starting on page 40, parents of current students and recent graduates share what their experiences have been like as they entrusted their children to the care of Baylor. They tell us with confidence that their children were challenged, nurtured and inspired by the faculty, staff, students and the entire Baylor family during their four (or five) years here.
The Baylor Board of Regents can be counted among those echoing the positive experience and high expectations at Baylor in this issue. In the article, "A firm foundation," we throw the curtain back a bit to answer questions like "Who are the Regents?" and "How do they serve Baylor?" What you will find is an eclectic group of successful professionals from the fields of business, education, ministry and law who are passionate about helping Baylor fulfill her mission. Most of the Board is made up of alumni of the University, parents of Baylor students, or both. Paramount in their charge right now is the search for a new president, all the while ensuring excellent academic programs and an uncompromising commitment to the Christian convictions that have defined Baylor since its founding. They share an exciting perspective on the state of affairs at Baylor including the progress of Baylor 2012, the financial health of the University and a glimpse at what might be next for Baylor.
The rest of the feature line-up in this issue (and we seem to have a lot of them) covers a range of topics, including the torture of some theater professors in New York City, the identification and analysis of pharmaceuticals and chemicals that might be found in fish you caught last weekend, and a story about a stolen wedding dress and the pursuit of crocodiles in the Brazos by a young Japanese Fulbright scholar 50 years ago. You'll have to read it cover to cover to get all the details.
Randy MorrisonDirector, Baylor Magazine