For Our Future: An Update from the President

June 7, 2012
Throughout the month of June, we will welcome to Baylor's beautiful campus members of the class of 2016 as they participate in our wonderful New Student Experience. Each will be invited to explore his or her academic options and, in the process, learn about Baylor's robust academic and spiritual support, as well as our campus resources. Each new Baylor Bear will also become steeped in Baylor's glorious traditions. These baby Bears now become proud members of that Good Old Baylor Line.

The forthcoming 2012-13 academic year is extraordinarily significant. It marks the beginning of our new strategic vision — Pro Futuris. "For our future." This is the University's new strategic vision to inform and guide, by God's grace, Baylor's progress in the years ahead.

Through its clear connection to our historic motto — "Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana" — Pro Futuris recognizes and celebrates abiding truths that have been, are now and will be in the future at the heart of Baylor University. Our Christian faith, deeply woven into Baylor's rich history, will continue to guide us onward. An abiding sense of responsibility to the world around us compels the future education and service of our students and the vibrant scholarship of our mentoring faculty.

Pro Futuris calls us anew to pledge fidelity to the core principles that have guided Baylor for more than 167 years. It also summons us to action. It asks us to envision a future in which these principles come alive with hard work, helping hands and hope for a hurting world. We have witnessed the founding and early growth of Baylor in the 19th Century and its strong resilience and commitment to those foundational principles in the 20th Century. Today, we stand firmly in 21st Century Baylor. We are energized by the potential we see for our University to expand its life-transforming and world-changing impact in this the Global Century.

Pro Futuris is set forth in five aspirational statements, made accessible and memorable through a series of short phrases that will guide and illuminate our future.
  • Transformational Education that not only prepares but changes the lives of our students.
  • Compelling Scholarship that reveals truth, illuminates solutions and demonstrates creativity.
  • Informed Engagement that compels us to utilize our expertise and energy to address systemic problems facing our communities, both local and global.
  • Committed Constituents that advance Baylor through unity and personal generosity.
  • Judicious Stewardship that prudently manages our resources and pursues quality in every area of our University's life.

Guided by these aspirational statements, Pro Futuris points us toward our destination while inviting creativity in determining the specific paths by which we will arrive. Whatever the specific initiatives we — as a community — may choose to pursue, we must not impose an undue financial burden on Baylor families. Indeed, as we launch our new vision, we are convinced that strong partnerships, innovative collaboration and selfless commitment to unity of purpose will serve as engines of Baylor's future progress.

It is in upholding the Scriptural admonition that we are to be "of one mind" that Baylor will more powerfully impact the world, transform lives and communities, reveal truth yet undiscovered and bring glory to God. We are called to be generous in spirit, in word and in deed, giving freely to the work we do together as a community. "Where two or more are gathered" the Lord promises his favor. At our best, we are a community of gatherers, of partners, of collaborators and co-laborers, locking arms, working together and joyfully witnessing all that is possible when we are committed to unity of purpose.

We have already seen the benefit of such unity in the development of our new vision. We are deeply indebted to faculty, students and staff, as well as literally thousands of alumni and friends nationwide, for their faithfulness in coming together to help create Pro Futuris. From the beginning of our visioning process, all have been welcome to the conversation. In meetings on campus, in our home city of Waco and in locations across the country, Baylor Nation has come together to provide invaluable input to our visioning process. The voices of active and engaged constituents have been heard. The resulting visioning statement reflects the collective wisdom of our extended community. To those who actively participated in our process, we say thank you for contributing to this important effort and to the conversation that continues to unfold.

As we begin implementation of Pro Futuris, we invite you to visit the website that provides information about our new vision and the context in which our vision will flourish in the years to come.

Let me close by drawing from the iconic Immortal Message to Seniors of President Samuel Palmer Brooks. There, Dr. Brooks — whose name adorns Brooks Village — admonishes us "to hold the college years close in your heart and value them at their true worth." Wherever your summer travels take you, we encourage you to "fling your green and gold afar" with great enthusiasm and pride for all that Baylor University has been and all that it can be.

May the Lord bless you and keep you and shine his face upon you, and may he give you peace.

Kenneth Winston Starr
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