Strengthened by the Baylor Family

Strengthened by the Baylor Family

Five years ago, I was given the great privilege and honor of becoming the 15th President of Baylor University.

Acting as the guardian and champion of Baylor’s heritage has been a profound responsibility for all who have held this office. It is one I accepted with a commitment to carrying out what Samuel Palmer Brooks, Baylor’s President from 1902 to 1931, encouraged everyone at Baylor to do in his Immortal Message: “Build upon the foundations here the great school of which I have dreamed, so that she may touch and mold the lives of future generations and help to fit them for life here and hereafter.”

The best part of our recent success is that we are far from being done. The future of Baylor University lies before us, set on a strong foundation and waiting for us to shape it for the next generation.

My first day on the job — June 1, 2017 — was one of excitement and joy for me and my husband, Brad — Baylor’s first First Gentleman. We knew God’s hand had guided us to that moment, and we were deeply filled with gratitude.

When I think back on the installation ceremony on October 26, 2017, that highlighted my inauguration as Baylor’s President, a flood of emotions and many happy conversations return to me. From my perspective on the stage — as I listened to the speakers and looked out at those gathered in the Ferrell Center — I saw the faces of various groups of people whose significance and importance in my life have grown even stronger over the subsequent years.

Most importantly, I saw my family — Brad and our daughter, Shelby, who has now become a graduate of Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary. Also in the audience were my mother, Charlotte Parrack, my two brothers and their spouses, and my sister. Though my father, Doyle Parrack, had passed on to heaven, his spirit was present, too. As I noted in my inaugural address, he had been the first person in his family to go to college, and in doing so he had established a legacy of higher education that now extends two generations and will be multiplied for many more to come. Certainly, the strong bonds of family formed the foundation of my becoming Baylor’s President and have since supported me in so many ways during my tenure.

I also saw Baylor students that afternoon — so many young men and women who had chosen Baylor for their higher education and who had so warmly welcomed me. I have since spent many hours in the company of our outstanding students. They inspire me every day.

During my inauguration, I saw members of Baylor’s wonderful faculty and staff who are a joy to work alongside every day. I also saw those serving on our Board of Regents, who had placed their faith and trust in me to lead the University, as well as the faces of the greater Baylor Family — supporters and advocates who surround the University with their love and are helping to create Baylor’s future.

In the five years since that memorable day in late October, we have achieved mighty things together.

Through the collaborative planning and dedicated work flowing into and from Illuminate, our strategic plan, Baylor has earned Research 1 status from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, advancing our goal to be the preeminent Christian research university. Today, Baylor stands out as a shining light among the nation’s most highly regarded universities.

Through the generosity of more than 85,000 donors making gifts and pledges, we have exceeded the Give Light campaign’s initial goal of $1.1 billion. These funds are allowing us to make improvements throughout the scope of Baylor’s academic enterprise and across all aspects of the Baylor experience.

The best part of our recent success is that we are far from being done. The future of Baylor University lies before us, set on a strong foundation and waiting for us to shape it for the next generation. 

During my inaugural address, I said that as I looked to the future I drew inspiration from the message of Romans 12:2, and today those words continue to guide me as Baylor’s President: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Thank you for your support and love of Baylor University.

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
Baylor University President