Presidential Perspective - August 16, 2018

August 16, 2018

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

I cannot believe the fall semester is here! It is great to see our beautiful campus come back to life with the hope and excitement that a new semester brings. And to the Class of 2022, we are so excited to have you as part of the Baylor Family. I am looking forward to officially welcoming all of our incoming students tonight at McLane Stadium as part of Welcome Week. We have a host of activities scheduled through next Friday evening to make your transition into college life as smooth as possible.

Here are several campus happenings that may be of interest:

  • The First Gent and I will be out and about campus on Monday for the first day of classes. At 8:30 a.m., the President's Council will join us to hand out free Common Grounds coffee and Steak 'n Shake breakfast tacos in the lobby of the SUB. Then we have a surprise lunch date scheduled at one of the campus residence halls beginning at noon. Finally, we will pass out free ice cream on the front lawn of Allbritton House from 2-3:30 p.m. As you can tell, we are thrilled to have our Baylor students join us back on campus – our home.
  • Each year we welcome the freshman class with a special hymn that is performed during Orientation, at Chapel and worship services across campus. For the past few years, Baylor Spiritual Life has also produced a music video to complement the music. This year's video features Truett graduate students Joslyn Henderson and Ross Tarpley (BBA '15) singing "Shining Bright," which was written by the duo along with University Chaplain Burt Burleson.
  • I continue to be amazed at the passion and incredible support of our alumni. As many of you know, we are coming off the second-largest fundraising total in University history and our seventh consecutive year of eclipsing the $100 million benchmark in annual fundraising. I am glad to report that we are off to great start this year as we look to the launch of a comprehensive campaign at Homecoming later this fall. Through July, total new commitments are up 43 percent to $22.9 million, overall donor count is up 50 percent and alumni donor count is up 19 percent. These are all signs that Baylor is a strong, resilient university.
  • A new research study led by Baylor's Paul M. Gordon, Ph.D., professor and chair of health, human performance and recreation in our Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences, has found that adolescents with a strong hand grip – an indicator of overall muscle strength – have better odds of being healthy over time. The two-year study of 368 elementary school children provides new insight into grip strength as a predictor of future risks for developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and, according to Dr. Gordon, could help identify adolescents who would benefit from lifestyle changes to improve muscular fitness.
  • Baylor Law recently received the 2018 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award for its "Practice Ready" program from the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Professionalism. In the most recent employment data reported to the ABA, 82.3 percent of Baylor Law graduates from the Class of 2017 obtained positions that met the "gold standard" requirements. That number was the best out of the 10 law schools in Texas and also ranked 18th in the nation.

Be sure to say "hello" if you see me around campus. And as a reminder, we wear green and gold every Friday for Spirit Fridays! My prayers are with you all as we embark on a new journey together.

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
President

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