Dear Baylor Family,
First days. I remember so many of them marked with excitement and anticipation – my own first day in college; my first day as a college professor; my first day as a dean. On each of those days I felt God’s presence as He prepared me and encouraged me to face a new chapter. My prayer on this, my first day as Baylor University’s president, is that God’s love and mercy will shine on each of you and on the University’s leadership as we seek the strength and daily renewal necessary to faithfully serve and guide this remarkable institution into the future.
I am truly honored and humbled to have been selected as president of this historic institution of higher education and to return to the beautiful Baylor campus, where I formerly had the pleasure of serving as a faculty member and as associate dean for graduate programs in the Hankamer School of Business.
During the 15 years since I last worked on campus, the Baylor skyline has certainly changed. And along with impressive new facilities, the University has added a great number of academic programs and significantly expanded its staff and acclaimed faculty. There is one thing, however, that clearly has not changed: Baylor’s absolute dedication to helping students fulfill their utmost potential in all areas of life, from academics to spiritual growth.
Focusing on the Baylor Family
My priority this summer will be engaging with the members of our faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni and friends, listening to their Baylor stories and gaining an understanding of their goals and dreams for the University. I am certain that one common commitment we will discuss at length is the development of our students into dynamic men and women with the capacity for leadership and a dedication to service. That has long been the benchmark of excellence at Baylor, and it will remain of paramount importance as we move forward.
As I express my excitement in returning to Baylor and eagerly anticipate our days ahead, I also wish to commend Dr. David Garland and the entire Baylor community for their tremendous work over the past year to create a better Baylor as we emerge from the challenges and heartbreak surrounding incidents of sexual violence in our community. All have joined hands to renew our commitment to providing a safe and welcoming home on campus for our students and to redouble our efforts to advance Baylor’s distinctive Christian mission in higher education.
An essential focus as I begin my tenure as president: to bring the Baylor Family together in support of our students, faculty and staff. They truly are the core of our Christian mission as an institution, and I will begin and end each day in prayer for their well-being and the well-being of the entire Baylor Family. I invite you to join me in that discipline, and also to reach out to Baylor students in your families and communities this summer to let them know you care for them and support their decision to attend Baylor.
Today marks a watershed moment in the history of Baylor University. On one side lies our institution’s past – a heritage of devoted service to church and state that is memorialized by the motto inscribed on the Baylor seal, Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana. On the other side stretches out the future of Baylor – a story that remains to be written by our own hands and animated by our hearts.
Like any university with a long history, Baylor has experienced periods of triumph and turmoil over the decades. We will do well to celebrate our triumphs and learn from the turmoil. While acknowledging our past, it is also essential that we engage in the act of casting our collective vision forward. Our future does not simply await us. It calls for us to joyously and thoughtfully give it shape. It is ours to create, together.
Thank you for your prayerful and unceasing support of Baylor University.
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.