Presidential Perspective - October 4, 2018

October 4, 2018

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

Greetings from 30,000 feet somewhere between San Diego and Nashville! We are making a couple of stops this week with the Baylor Conversation Series as we visit with alumni, parents of current and prospective students, and friends about Baylor’s progress and Illuminate, our academic strategic plan. One of the things I enjoy most about these events is to hear from parents about the wonderful experiences their students are having at Baylor. We have an incredibly strong and resilient university, and we must all join together to embrace the many bright days that are ahead as we embark on our mission to become a preeminent Christian research university.

Here are several campus happenings that may be of interest:

  • One of the pillars of Illuminate focuses on transformational research and scholarship led by our faculty, who address critical issues and create a foundation for future discoveries. This is certainly true of five Baylor faculty members – Drs. Lorin S. Matthews, Bryan F. Shaw, Seung Kim, Caleb Martin and Howard Lee – all recipients of National Science Foundation CAREER grants. Their research discoveries span the disciplines, from dusty plasmas to life-saving medical devices and therapies to nanotechnologies that can improve the efficiency of smart devices, including bringing electrical power to remote or underdeveloped regions of the world. Very exciting, too, for students to engage in groundbreaking research and discovery alongside our faculty.
  • OK, students … Mark your calendar. Tuesday, Oct. 16, is Student Appreciation Day! We have a host of activities planned across campus, but I wanted to mention three special opportunities for you to interact with the First Gent and me. First, we will have a surprise lunch date at one of the campus dining halls during the noon hour. Second, we will host a special Dr Pepper Hour with a special giveaway. Finally, we will invite all 17,000 students over to our house for dinner at 6:30 p.m. with free food from many of your local favorites. I will have an update for you next week!
  • Our University is deeply committed to supporting and strengthening families, so I was very pleased that Baylor again is included on the 2018 Top 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces List from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption which recognizes organizations that strive to make adoption a supported option for every working parent. Our paid parental leave and adoption assistance benefits place Baylor on the list at No. 86 overall and No. 3 in education, with additional recognition for our foster care benefits. As a caring Christian community, we have made it a priority to provide a supportive work environment that enriches the lives of our faculty and staff and helps them and their families flourish.
  • Speaking of families, we had a very successful Family Weekend last weekend. I enjoyed having the opportunity to meet so many parents, siblings, friends, guardians and other family members. More than 2,500 people attended the Family Faculty Coffee, 2,144 students and family members participated in After Dark, and both seatings of the Family Dinner at the Hippodrome sold out. Congratulations to our team in the Division of Student Life for creating such a welcoming experience for our families.
  • If you see students sporting Kansas State purple on our campus today and tomorrow, please welcome them to Baylor as they join with a group of our students for the inaugural Big 12 Leadership and Service Days. The students will serve at Shepherd’s Heart Food Pantry on Thursday, volunteer at the Baylor Community Garden and Doris Miller YMCA in Waco on Friday and wrap up by attending the Baylor-Kansas State football game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at McLane Stadium. Special thanks to Lamar Bryant with the Academy for Leadership Development and Dr. Doriann Beverly with Community Engagement and Service for helping coordinate this collaborative opportunity with our fellow Big 12 member!

Let’s support our great university and our student-athletes. I hope to see you at McLane Stadium on Saturday. Sic ’em, Bears!

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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