Presidential Perspective - September 20, 2018

September 20, 2018

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

Our campus community kicked off National Hispanic Heritage Month yesterday with a luncheon and special guest speaker. Suzette Quintanilla Arriaga, the sister of the late singer Selena, shared her family’s story and reminded those in attendance of the importance of celebrating one another’s cultures. We have a remarkable and growing community of Hispanic students at Baylor, who have a number of opportunities planned through mid-October to share this celebration with all of us. From art and food to movies and lectures, I hope you will join in the fun and be a part of the diversity that makes Baylor so special.

Here are several other campus happenings that may be of interest:

  • Baylor will launch a new television commercial during this weekend’s Big 12 football opener against Kansas. This extension of our “Where Lights Shine Bright” campaign uses live action and computer animation to tell the story of the Baylor Family reflecting the light of God in the world as they pursue their callings. This commercial is unique and is certain to differentiate Baylor in the “sea of sameness” reflected in most university commercials. I want you to be among the first to see it before we begin to share the commercial on social media and with the national TV audience this Saturday.
  • So many things impress me about our campus, especially the “servant’s heart” of our students, faculty and staff. Carter BloodCare recently recognized Baylor as its 2017-18 College of the Year, thanks to donations of more than 1,000 units of blood from the Baylor Family that saved 3,000 lives. With the help of four on-campus organizations, Baylor hosted an amazing 29 blood drives over the past year.
  • A year ago today, we were praying for our students and their families from Puerto Rico as they braced for Hurricane Maria and the resulting devastation on the island. At the same time, we were actively seeking ways to help our fellow Texans along the Gulf Coast and in Houston rebuild from Hurricane Harvey. Today, our deepest prayers are for our more than 140 students from North Carolina and South Carolina as those states continue dealing with the effects of Hurricane Florence. Please know that all of you are on our minds and in our hearts.
  • One of the hallmarks of a healthy university is shared governance, which involves the participation of faculty and staff in the institution’s planning and decision-making processes. Last week we launched a new website that outlines Baylor’s robust standing committee structure and lists the members of each committee for the 2018-19 academic year. I hope that you utilize these committees as we all work together to move Baylor forward.
  • On Tuesday, more than 75 Black faculty, staff and administrators gathered together at the Foster Campus to officially launch the Black Faculty & Staff Association, which focuses on professional development, mentoring, networking, recruitment, retention and cultural awareness while supporting Baylor’s Christian commitment. Drs. Robyn Driskell, Lori Baker, Liz Palacios and Kevin Jackson addressed the group and underscored the University’s commitment to fostering a caring campus community. More information on the Black Faculty & Staff Association can be found on our Human Resources website.
  • Waco will be one of three locations in Texas hosting the IRONMAN 70.3 on the weekend of Oct. 28. Approximately 3,000 triathletes from 47 states and 20 countries will race throughout Waco as part of a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run. Wow! In order for this race to happen, there is a large need for volunteers. I hope the Baylor Family will step up in a big way in supporting our city through volunteering for this prestigious event.
  • OK, Baylor Family … Even though temperatures are expected to be in the 80s on Saturday, it’s still important to keep hydrated! We need each and every one of you at McLane Stadium on Saturday as our Bears face Kansas for another 2:30 p.m. kickoff. A reminder that fans can bring empty, clear bottles of up to 1 liter into the stadium and then use the many additional hydration stations within McLane. We’ve also added several measures to help you combat the Texas sun – if we see it on Saturday – including a second “water monster” behind the student section, misting stations, and tents and “Portacool fans” within the Baylor Line queue. Free water and Gatorade are also available before the game in the student tailgating lot.

A reminder that every Friday we wear green and gold in support of our Bears and our great University!

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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