Presidential Perspective - June 21, 2018

June 21, 2018

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

As we near the midpoint of the summer break, I am longing for many things … the hustle and bustle of our students on campus, the engagement and interactions with faculty, the start of football season and a Dr Pepper Float! While I love the summer, I miss Dr Pepper Hour every Tuesday at 3 p.m., especially when the temperatures are in the 100-degree range. I am already looking forward to the start of the fall semester and free ice cream every Tuesday. What other university does that?

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

  • I continue to be extremely grateful – and impressed – by the generosity of our alumni, students, parents and friends. Yesterday we announced the second-largest annual fundraising total in Baylor’s history at $113 million, representing a 12 percent increase over last year’s total. This also is the seventh consecutive year Baylor has surpassed the $100 million benchmark in annual fundraising, which was bolstered by an 8 percent increase in the number of donors who supported the University. Thank you, Baylor Family!
  • I also am deeply thankful for our faculty, staff and retirees, who gave more than $1.7 million to the University last fiscal year as part of the Our Baylor campaign. Your generous support benefited the Baylor Family Compassion Fund and other areas that make a real difference for our students and campus community. Thanks to our campaign leadership, including chair Andrea Dixon, Ph.D., and each department, college and school representative. Remember we will celebrate this achievement with a showing of “The Lion King” at 7 p.m. Friday, June 29, at McLane Stadium. All faculty, staff, retirees and their families are invited to attend.
  • Last week I had an opportunity to sit down with The Waco Tribune-Herald to discuss Illuminate, our academic strategic plan. The resulting story that ran on Saturday focused on what our higher aspirations as a Christian research university will mean for Baylor and the Waco community overall. Our goals are ambitious, and it will take all of us working together to reach our full potential. Two non-negotiables as we move forward will be our unambiguously Christian education environment and our transformational undergraduate education.
  • I appreciate the more than 60 members of our faculty who responded to Vice Provost Gary Carini’s request to participate in the design teams for the implementation of Illuminate. These experts in areas such as creativity, systems thinking, group dynamics, process modeling, networks and community will play a significant role in authoring our process for moving the academic strategic plan forward. We will provide periodic updates for you as this process evolves.
  • Congratulations to professor Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., who will honored Aug. 8 with the 2018 Lionel C. Barrow Award for Distinguished Achievement in Diversity Research and Education by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. The award recognizes outstanding individual accomplishment and leadership in diversity efforts for underrepresented groups by race and ethnicity in journalism and mass communication. Dr. Moody-Ramirez’s teaching and research emphasizes mass media representations of women, minorities and other underrepresented groups, and she is often sought out by local, national and international media outlets for her important perspective.
  • If you would like to see our top Baylor Law students in action, you will have that opportunity next week in a unique way. Beginning Monday, the Mayborn Museum, which currently hosts the blockbuster “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition,” is teaming up with Baylor Law for a mock civil trial based on the real events that led to the 1912 maritime disaster. The trial will be held from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. each day through Friday. Our law students will use modern law, technology and theories to present their cases for the plaintiffs and defendants, with volunteers serving as witnesses and members of the jury. Admission to the trial is free for Baylor students, faculty and staff.

I don’t brag enough about the First Gentleman of Baylor – my husband Brad. Over the past year, he has been such a great ambassador for Baylor, making connections with students, alumni and so many others throughout the community. Our staff with BaylorProud put together “7 Fun Facts” about the First Gent – noting the fact that he’s nearly 7-feet tall – that I thought you would enjoy. Sic ’em, Brad!

Linda A. Livingstone

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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