This time of year, I'm thankful to work at an institution where it's okay to use those words -- a university where mention of Christ's birth is not just tolerated, but celebrated.
From the the Advent service held at Armstrong Browning Library, to the live nativity at the center of Christmas on 5th Street, to the hymns performed at Christmas concerts across campus, Christmas at Baylor isn't just about gifts and a jolly old man -- it's about our Savior's arrival on Earth in a lowly stable.
That we can openly recognize that fact while at the same time offering a world-class education is at the heart of what makes Baylor distinct. A visiting professor from the University of Virginia, Dr. Kenneth Elzinga, went more in depth on the subject as part of the Presidential Symposium Series in October; his words are transcribed beginning on page 28 to give you an idea of what Baylor might strive to be in the coming years.
In that context, a Baylor education is not designed only to create leaders, but to create servant leaders. Thousands of BU students put that approach into action each year, serving others across Waco -- through Steppin' Out, which celebrated its 25th year this fall -- and across the world, on mission trips where what's learned in the classroom is put to work. This summer, we sent a photographer out to capture what those experiences are like; his images and students' memories are shared beginning on page 34.
Baylor graduates take that idea of Christian service and leadership with them upon graduation. The three alumni featured in another of this issue's features, "Generous Living" (page 22), exemplify that calling. Each heads a company that helps Christians learn to handle their money in a Christ-like fashion, from budgeting (being good stewards of the resources God has given us) to giving (tithes and offerings).
A second trio of leaders is profiled beginning on page 40. Like those just mentioned, these three men are also Baylor graduates who have gone on to become leaders in their fields, but from an entirely different background. In the late 1950s, these three men left China via Hong Kong to attend Baylor, and they returned home in the years that followed; one became head of a billion dollar company, one a university president, and one a longtime professor. Those short few years spent at Baylor helped launch them to their positions of prominence -- and formed friendships that have lasted for 60 years.
Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Baylor's early Christmas gift: an invitation to the Texas Bowl, where the Bears, coming off their best season in the Big 12 era, will play Illinois on Dec. 29. By the time you read this, Baylor may have already come away with its first bowl victory since 1992 -- just one more thing to be thankful about as we look back on the past year.
So again, Merry Christmas, and sic 'em!
Director, Baylor Magazine