News Briefs

Students gather for 72-hour prayer and worship event

In spring 1945, a group of Baylor students prayed for spiritual renewal for 90 straight days. Their prayers led to a movement that helped inspire ministries around the world, from the Journeyman mission program to the Passion Conferences.

In spring 2019, hundreds of Baylor students gathered again in Jesus’ name for FM72 (FM for Fountain Mall, 72 for 72 hours of prayer). 

Students from dozens of college ministries and organizations — coordinated by Baptist Student Ministries (BSM) at Baylor — prayed March 31-April 3 in tents in the heart of campus. One tent focused on prayer for the University campus, another on prayer for the nation and world, and the third on personal prayer.

Students gathered nightly for a worship and prayer service on Fountain Mall. Each evening featured special guest teachers and worship leaders. See more at

“We have become inspired and challenged by the faithful lives and dedicated service of men and women who came before us,” Baylor BSM director Charles Ramsey, BA ’97, MA ’00, PhD, said. “We want to see a move of God in this generation like that which came before. The prayer of the students for this past year has been, ‘Lord, do it again.’”

Juan Carlos Esparza Ochoa, PhD
Juan Carlos Esparza Ochoa, PhD
Scholar to direct ISR, Latin American studies

A top scholar who has researched and taught about religion in Latin America for nearly two decades joined the Baylor faculty this semester.  

Juan Carlos Esparza Ochoa, PhD, will serve as director of the Program on Religion and Latin America Studies in the Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) and as research assistant professor in both ISR and Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. 

Baylor in Latin America is one of the five signature initiatives of the University’s Illuminate strategic plan. The initiative facilitates meaningful collaboration across disciplines that will help improve conditions within Texas and Latin America.

From 2011 to 2018, Esparza Ochoa managed data for the global religious demography projects housed at the Pew Research Center. He is the co-director of the Project on Religion and Economic Change.

College unveils redesigned common core requirements

Beginning with the fall 2019 semester, first year and transfer students working toward undergraduate degrees in the Baylor College of Arts and Sciences will follow a redesigned core of common courses.

The University is one of only about two dozen academic institutions nationwide to routinely earn an “A” for the high quality of its core from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). 

“Since change in our culture and our world is continual, we can’t simply rest on our laurels,” Arts and Sciences Dean Lee C. Nordt, PhD, said. “We must periodically review our essential academic skillsets and core curriculum, with the goal of assessing what we teach, and why.”

The new unified core is designed to impart a shared foundation of knowledge, essential skills and moral and intellectual virtues while providing increased academic flexibility and interdisciplinary learning. 

More than half of all Baylor undergraduates are now pursuing degrees through Arts and Sciences: BA, BFA, BS and BSAS.

Students will be required to complete seven common courses, attend two approved cultural events in each of six semesters, and select additional courses in nine different areas.

For more information on the unified core process and courses, visit

Jerry K. Clements, JD ’81
Jerry K. Clements, JD ’81
Clements Elected Board Chair

At its May 2019 meeting, Baylor’s Board of Regents ushered in a new era in institutional governance when it elected Jerry K. Clements, JD ’81, of Austin, to serve as the first female board chair in the University’s history. 

Her term as board chair began June 1. 

Clements serves as chair emeritus of Locke Lord LLP in Austin. In her former role as chair and managing partner of Locke Lord, she managed one of the country’s top 100 law firms with offices in 20 cities, including London and Hong Kong. During her 11 years as chair, she took the firm from a regional firm based in Texas to a global firm recognized throughout the world. She was one of only a handful of women in the U.S. leading an American Lawyer Am Law Top 100 law firm.

A list of the members of Baylor’s Board of Regents can be found at