History on Display
At its regular May meeting, the Baylor University Board of Regents approved a four-phased framework to address several of the priorities identified by the Commission on Historic Campus Representations.
"Our goal at the outset of this process was not to erase Baylor's history, but rather to tell the University's complete story by taking an additive approach as we shine light on the past," said Board Chair Mark Rountree, B.B.A. '86, M.T.A. '87. "Some of the facts uncovered about the University's history have indeed been painful, but it is important that we move forward together as the Baylor Family through an intentional process of reckoning, repentance, reconciliation and redemption."
Work to address the strategic priorities began over the summer and will continue over the next several years. Highlights of the plan include reconceptualization of the area around the Judge Baylor statue to include enhanced historical signage, landscaping and accessibility; an area added on Founders Mall recognizing the unknown enslaved people who are connected to Baylor's founding and original campus; the renaming of Burleson Quadrangle to "The Quadrangle" and a series of enhancements to the Quad to make it more usable and accessible; a relocation of the historic bells to Independence, site of the original campus; and redevelopment of Speight Avenue into a pedestrian plaza, similar to the 5th Street Promenade.
The development of several strategic priorities are already underway on campus, including development of statues recognizing Baylor's first Black graduates — the late Rev. Robert Gilbert, B.A. '67, and Mrs. Barbara Walker, B.A. '67. The sculpting of the statues is currently underway by accomplished artist Benjamin Victor, with an anticipated installation of Spring 2023.
"It's extremely important that our physical campus represents the diverse, welcoming community that embodies the Baylor Family," President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., said. "Our work to date has been very strategic and intentional as we delicately weave the Gospel story and complete history of the University into our existing physical and online spaces. This work ultimately will provide not only the appropriate recognitions, but also create new areas of reflection, gathering and community in the center of campus for students, faculty, staff, alumni and guests."