Presidential Perspective - May 24, 2018

May 24, 2018

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

Greetings from New York City, where our School of Music student performers take center stage tonight at historic Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. I am excited to be in the audience as they share their musical talents on such a grand stage and spotlight our great University. A reminder that Baylor will be closed on Monday in observance of Memorial Day, as our nation pauses to remember our military men and women who died serving our country. As I walk across our campus, I am reminded each and every day of their ultimate sacrifice by the names on more than 140 memorial lampposts that commemorate a Baylor student who gave their lives while protecting the precious gift of freedom. May we always remember their sacrifice and the families of the fallen.

Here are a few noteworthy items to share for this week:

  • We have launched the Illuminate website at, which provides detailed information about our Academic Strategic Plan, including the four Foundational Pillars and five Signature Academic Initiatives. We will continue to update this site as we work together over the summer on implementation plans. This is exciting work as we strategically chart our University's path over the next five years and beyond.
  • After taking the Baylor Conversations Series on the road this spring, it certainly was nice to be back home in Waco on Tuesday night. Board Chairman Joel Allison and I had a great dialogue with alumni, parents and local business leaders about Illuminate and our plans to achieve preeminence as a top Christian research university. A recording of the event has been posted on the Baylor Conversation Series website. Next month, we are on the road again with Conversations events in California and Washington, D.C.
  • Congratulations and special blessings to Dr. Chris van Gorder and his wife, Vivian, on the birth of quadruplets on Monday! According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, the van Gorders were expecting triplets but were surprised when doctors delivered a fourth baby. We give thanks that all four little ones – two boys and two girls – are healthy and thriving and that Mom, Dad and three siblings are doing well, too. We welcome these new baby bears to the Baylor Family!
  • Three professors in history, theology and educational leadership – Dr. Beth Allison Barr, Dr. Angela Reed and Dr. Rishi Sriram – have been selected as 2018 Baylor Centennial Professors and will receive funding for research projects that aid in-depth study in their respective fields. Their research topics on sermons as historical sources, the effective use of prayer in pastoral work and the impact of residential learning communities on students are fascinating and inspiring.
  • What an exciting moment this afternoon for our Office of Career and Professional Development as CPD officially opened the Career Closet, which assists currently enrolled students who may not have excess funds with free professional dress needs. The Career Closet, built through the generosity of The Home Depot, is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Career Center on the first floor of the Sid Richardson Building. Thank you, CPD, for your dedication to our students' "Success Beyond Baylor!"

On a final note, although it's relatively quiet in between semesters, you might have noticed the extra guests (and college logos!) on our campus this week as we hosted the Big 12 Development Conference and the 2018 Organizational Development Consortium (ODC) in conjunction with Wake Forest. For ODC, it was the first time this conference for learning and development professionals in higher education has been held in Texas. It was a pleasure to welcome more than 30 universities from across the country to Baylor, Waco, and of course, the Silos!

Please be safe if you are traveling over the weekend, and I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday.

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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