A Bright Future for Baylor University

November 5, 2018

Dear Baylor Family,

What a wonderful Homecoming Weekend and a momentous and historic occasion in the life of Baylor University. Over the course of three beautifully sunny fall days, we enjoyed a host of activities connected to our annual celebration of Homecoming, ranging from class reunions and the bonfire to the largest Homecoming Parade in the country. And Saturday was topped off with a thrilling football victory over Oklahoma State at McLane Stadium.

Amid the great joy in reconnecting with fellow members of the Baylor Family and celebrating the Baylor spirit, Homecoming also marked the official launch of our $1.1 billion comprehensive philanthropic campaign Give Light, which will enable us to write the next chapter of our institution’s distinguished history. Supporting the initiatives contained in Illuminate, the University’s academic strategic plan, and a range of other campus priorities, this campaign will dramatically strengthen Baylor’s ability to provide a life-changing educational experience to our 17,000 students and to serve the surrounding world as a preeminent Christian research university.

As we announced on Thursday, the generosity of those making gifts during the silent phase of the campaign has already propelled us to nearly half of our goal. This remarkable support of the Baylor Family was further exemplified when Mark, BBA ’79, and Paula Hurd made one of the largest gifts in Baylor’s history to launch the public phase of Give Light. Their transformational gift will create the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center, a beautiful, innovative complex at the entrance to Baylor’s campus alongside Interstate 35 on University Parks Drive.

This is a time of incredible momentum for Baylor University, and we invite you to learn more about Give Light online at baylor.edu/givelight.

Effective Governance

Like all those gathered across our campus this weekend, the Baylor Board of Regents celebrated Homecoming and the launch of Give Light during its quarterly meeting. We are grateful to each member of Baylor’s governing body for being such a great source of insight and philanthropy. This diverse group of men and women representing the entire Baylor Family gives generously of themselves to serve our University. More than a third of the Board is new this year, bringing new ideas, new perspectives and new backgrounds to the Board’s work.

In action taken during the meeting, Regents approved $2.5 million for the Phase 1 renovation of the Waco Hall complex to address accessibility and other issues in Waco Hall, Waco Hall East and Roxy Grove Hall. The first phase of the project, which will begin this summer, will include construction of ADA-compliant exterior ramps and courtyards, the addition of an elevator and stairway inside the building and design planning of future interior accessibility improvements. We are always working to make our campus as inviting to everyone as possible.

On Friday, the Board received updates on several University matters, including:

  • Illuminate, with the establishment of a Faculty Steering Committee to develop plans and metrics for the strategic plan’s four pillars and five signature initiatives.
  • Provost search, for which national firm AGB Search has been engaged to assist the Provost Search Committee. The chief academic officer position has been posted on the search website and advertised in The Chronicle of Higher Education, with the goal to name a new Provost by the end of the spring semester.
  • The first phase of Ignite, Baylor’s cloud-based finance and human resources system, which will provide the financial and human resources foundation for Illuminate.
  • The completion of the Big 12 Conference’s Verification Review of Baylor’s 105 recommendations in response to past reports of sexual assault and interpersonal violence within the campus community and confirmation of all recommendations as complete and implemented. The Big 12 review was the second external verification of Baylor’s completion of the 105 recommendations. The Big 12 also affirmed Baylor’s compliance with all relevant conference bylaws and the University’s receipt of full league financial distributions moving forward. In addition, while certainly disappointing, we understand the Big 12’s rationale for its fine of $2 million toward Baylor, and we look forward to working with the conference to secure the University’s previous financial distributions as we move forward.
  • Baylor’s Alumni-elected Regent process, for which nominations are being accepted through November.The guidelines and full timeline are available online at baylor.edu/alumni/regents. We encourage our alumni to participate in this important aspect of Baylor’s governance.

A Call to Excellence

Baylor’s mission calls us to excellence. The University is moving forward as an institution where undergraduate students experience a transformative education while we elevate our academic profile and create a strategic pathway to become the preeminent Christian research university in the country.

An invaluable part of the student experience is the opportunity our students have to become the people God created them to be and to find and follow their callings. During the Board meeting, our Regents heard from a panel of Baylor students, who discussed faith formation and character development at the University. Following the recommendation from the Task Force on Character and Spiritual Formation, Baylor researchers have initiated an unprecedented longitudinal study to track the long-term impact of a Baylor education on a student’s faith and character.

First-year Baylor students participated in three surveys this fall to develop a baseline on students’ religiosity and character. Researchers currently are surveying alumni who graduated 10 years ago with a similar set of questions and also will conduct the survey with senior Baylor students at the end of the spring semester. This ongoing research project will collect information each year about students’ faith and character from when they arrive at Baylor, when they graduate and a decade after graduation to examine how a Baylor education impacts their development of faith and character over time.

There is a great sense of excitement and unity on our campus and among our alumni and friends as we join together in pursuing the development of mind and heart as articulated in Illuminate and supported by Give Light.

We are grateful for your passion and support of Baylor University.

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

Joel T. Allison
Chairman of the Board

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