Presidential Perspective - July 5, 2018

July 5, 2018

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July holiday yesterday! As many of you know, the First Gent is a history buff, and we've learned that two Baylor faculty members have done quite a bit of research on Benjamin Franklin, one of our Founding Fathers. Did you know that Franklin was a businessman, entrepreneur, inventor, journalist, author, printer, editor, politician, postmaster, statesman and ambassador, in addition to being a signer of the Declaration of Independence? You may want to check out the books written by Baylor's two Franklin scholars: Thomas S. Kidd, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of History and associate director of the Institute for Studies of Religion; and Blaine McCormick, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the management department in the Hankamer School of Business.

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

  • Baylor's welcoming community is both an outgrowth of our faith and a commitment to collaborations across campus that enhance diversity and cultural humility within the University. At the end of each academic year, key leaders working on these advances compile a report of initiatives that have been successfully completed and post it to the web page. This year's progress report includes student-led events and celebrations, growth in programs initiated last year, community partnerships around a wide range of topics and new resources for our faculty, among many more. I hope you will take the time to review all that has been accomplished and will actively engage in celebrating the diversity of our campus community in the year ahead.
  • As everyone starts preparing for the fall semester, our own Michael K. Scullin, Ph.D., director of the Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory and assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience, has several back-to-school sleep-related tips, including getting an early start on switching back to a normal schedule, considering a device-free zone at night and writing down tasks before heading to sleep. The bottom line, according to Dr. Scullin, "is that the more variable your schedule, the worse your cognition is going to be." That's a good tip anytime of the year!
  • I continue to be amazed and share in the success of our neighbors and alums Chip and Joanna Gaines. One of their latest ventures is a digital game – House Flip with Chip & Jo – that includes McLane Stadium and the Baylor campus as featured parts of the mobile-based app. We've included a link from the game to a new Baylor website that includes campus "must-sees" and events, welcoming game players to visit the Baylor campus. As with all things Chip & Jo, the game is drawing great crowds and introducing people around the world to Waco and our great University.
  • On another history note, our team at BaylorProud put together a nice piece on the namesake of Kokernot Hall: Herbert Lee Kokernot. He served as a Baylor trustee from the late 1920s into the 1940s, working with many other individuals whose names you would certainly recognize — Earl Hankamer, J.M. Penland, George W. Truett and Pat Neff. Every time Baylor needed room to grow, Kokernot supported the University, including a $1 million gift – nearly $13 million in today's prices – toward a new residence hall that was named in his honor. Groundbreaking was held in May 1946, and Kokernot Hall officially opened the following year.
  • Finally, I hope you will join me in welcoming Brett Dalton to the Baylor Family. Dalton comes to Baylor from Clemson University and will serve a key role as our Chief Business Officer. His first official day in the office was on Monday.

Here's to a great remainder of our short week! I am honored to serve as your President during such an exciting time in the life of Baylor University.

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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