Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:
Greetings from 30,000 feet in the air somewhere between Denver and Atlanta! We have taken our Baylor Conversation Series across the country this week, as we're visiting with alumni, parents, friends and prospective students about the great things happening at Baylor and sharing an overview of Illuminate, our academic strategic plan. Two things continue to impress me as I travel and meet with the Baylor Family: The tremendous pride and passion that everyone has for Baylor, and a sincere excitement about our University's future. I look forward to returning to campus on Friday evening to wrap up the spring semester and get ready for Commencement, as well as prepare for our Board of Regents meeting next Wednesday-Friday.
Here are a few noteworthy items to share for this week:
- I imagine many of you are like me, who fondly remember summers spent at camp, both as a camper and a counselor. It was truly inspiring to be part of the inaugural Camp Commissioning Ceremony on Tuesday for 500-plus Baylor students who will let their #BaylorLights shine bright across the country this summer as camp counselors. The ceremony was so moving and encouraging, and it demonstrates our enduring commitment to supporting and praying for all students, our camp partners and the young people who will attend these summer camps. One of our special guests was Reed Livesay, B.B.A. '96, president and CEO of Pine Cove camp, who said he has "never been prouder of Baylor University" than he was on Tuesday evening.
- It's exciting to see our undergraduate students maximizing their education through a variety of research and scholarly activities both inside and outside the classroom. Recently, more than 100 of our most talented and innovative undergraduate students from across the disciplines were honored for their outstanding platform and poster presentations given during the 10th annual Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement (URSA) program's Scholars Week. A panel of faculty and staff judged 143 poster presentations and 64 platform presentations – all guided by more than 100 faculty mentors. I hope you will take a moment to read the full list of our award-winning students and their projects, as well as the program leaders and faculty mentors who were recognized for their significant contributions to our students and the undergraduate research experience at Baylor.
- Baylor continues to support our local community in so many ways. The University recently received the High Impact Campaign Award from the United Way of Waco-McLennan County for doubling our employee giving from last year to more than $91,000. Additionally, Baylor employees sponsored and installed the Born Learning Trail at Cotton Palace Park as part of Hands On Waco (HOW) Day. Our appreciation goes out to Baylor campaign chairs Becky Ivy and Drexel King, as well as Vice President of Human Resources Cheryl Gochis, who chaired the overall United Way campaign.
- We are excited to announce two new benefits for our staff, who selflessly serve Baylor and our students and faculty in their scholarly endeavors. The first provides paid time off for staff in the event of the death of an immediate family member to make funeral arrangements, attend the funeral and attend to related matters. The second expands paid leave for staff who serve in the military or as emergency responders in a uniformed service. Both of these policies became effective May 1.
Thank you for the outpouring of birthday wishes on Tuesday. I can't believe that the spring semester is coming to a close. Best wishes to our students during finals, and thank you to our faculty for sharing your knowledge throughout the semester.
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.