Presidential Perspective - October 25, 2018

October 25, 2018

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

Next week is shaping up to be both exciting and historic in the life of Baylor University. As you well know, it will be Homecoming Week, and we have a host of activities scheduled from several reunions to the largest Homecoming Parade in the country, and, of course, Saturday’s football game vs. Oklahoma State at McLane Stadium at 11 a.m. You also may have noticed a large structure being assembled outside of the Baylor Sciences Building, which will be used as part of the launch of Baylor’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign – Give Light – next Thursday evening. I look forward to sharing more about this transformational project with you next week.

Here are several campus happenings that may be of interest:

  • In advance of the Give Light public launch, I’m pleased to share a significant gift in support of Illuminate and to advance Baylor’s leadership in the field of data sciences. The gift of $3.5 million by proud Baylor alumni Mark and Jennifer McCollum, who also are parents of a Baylor graduate, will create The McCollum Family Chair in Data Sciences within our nationally ranked School of Engineering and Computer Science. Mark, who serves on the Board of Regents, and Jennifer are wonderful champions for our students, and we are honored they have chosen to come alongside us in an area we believe will have a lasting impact on the world through research and leadership in a rapidly advancing, interdisciplinary field.
  • The search for Baylor’s next Provost is well underway, and our search committee is working in conjunction with AGB Search to identify our next chief academic officer who will provide leadership in our pursuit to become the world’s preeminent Christian research university. The Provost search website has been updated, and nominations and applications are being accepted through Jan. 2, 2019. Our goal is to have a new Provost identified and named by the end of the spring semester.
  • Here at Baylor, research provides an avenue for our faculty to address critical issues around the world. A recent example is a 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Grant from the U.S. India Education Foundation awarded to a team of faculty, whose disciplines range from nursing and business information systems to art and video game design. They are partnering with physicians from Bangalore Baptist Hospital in Bengaluru, India, to develop a mobile app to boost awareness of diabetes and provide culturally appropriate health education. The team is led by Shelby Garner, Ph.D., R.N., assistant professor in the Louise Herrington School of Nursing, who has worked in India for six years to develop technological health resources, including a successful hypertension app.
  • Baylor Law has been ranked as the nation’s fifth-best Best Value Private Law School and earned an A- rating in the latest preLaw Magazine, a publication of The National Jurist. The rankings are based on data from the American Bar Association and U.S. News & World Report on employment rate, tuition, ultimate bar exam pass rate, debt at graduation and cost of living. Baylor Law’s full-time employment rate among graduates is outstanding. In fact, the rate for Baylor Law’s Class of 2017 is 86.2 percent, more than 10 points higher than the national average. And you can’t get any better than Baylor Law’s ultimate bar passage rate – the rate of students who pass the bar exam within two years of graduation. It’s 100 percent, the highest of all 204 ABA-approved law schools.
  • Last year during my Presidential Inauguration, our daughter Shelby announced that as a young child she would trick-or-treat at the President’s home each year and receive a full-sized candy bar. The First Gent and I have always appreciated Shelby’s honesty and hospitality, so this Halloween we invite you – Baylor students and our Baylor families – to stop by Allbritton House to trick-or-treat from 6 to 9 p.m. Thank goodness Waco is home to a Mars candymaking plant!
  • Our 10th-ranked Baylor soccer team plays for the Big 12 Championship tonight at 7 against Oklahoma at the Betty Lou Mays Soccer Field. Nine seniors and graduates will be recognized as part of Senior Night festivities, and students and fans will be able to watch the football game against West Virginia on a giant video screen beginning at 6 p.m. and throughout the soccer match. #SicOU and #SicWVU!

Let’s fling our green and gold afar tonight, tomorrow for Spirit Friday and throughout Homecoming Week. It’s great to be a Baylor Bear!

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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