Presidential Perspective - November 8, 2018

November 8, 2018

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

Our campus continues to be aglow from last week's launch of Give Light, The Campaign for Baylor. This $1.1 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign will have a transformational impact on our campus not only in terms of facilities - which have already created a buzz within the Baylor Family - but permanent endowed funds for faculty chairs and professorships, student scholarships and growth areas aligned with Illuminate, our University strategic plan.

I encourage you to listen to last week's Baylor Connections podcast, in which Vice President for Advancement David Rosselli talks about the formation of Give Light and why it matters for the entire Baylor Family to get involved in the campaign. You will hear more about Give Light in the weeks and months ahead, but be sure to visit periodically for more information and updates on the campaign.

And in response to a couple of emails and questions I've received: The facility renderings that you've seen are simply conceptual at this stage; no building designs have been completed to date. Any new buildings will be constructed incorporating Baylor's traditional red brick and in accordance with our campus architectural standards. It's worth noting that earlier this week, Baylor was named among "The 50 Most Beautiful Colleges in America" by Architectural Digest - a distinction that is certainly a point of pride for all of us.

Here are several campus happenings that may be of interest:

  • It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and as the Baylor Family, we have so much for which to be thankful. I hope you will join the First Gent and me next Wednesday, Nov. 14, from 5-8 p.m. on Fountain Mall for our All-University Thanksgiving. The meal is free, courtesy of Baylor Dining Services.
  • I love how our students embrace serving our neighbors in the Waco community. This Saturday provides another opportunity to volunteer through Steppin' Out, our biannual day of service. At last count, more than 2,100 students from nearly 100 organizations will volunteer at a record number of work sites, ranging from a District 1 clean-up with Keep Waco Beautiful to packing up the Art Center of Waco as it moves to a new location downtown. Thank you for carrying on this important tradition of giving back to Waco.
  • A recent discovery of stone spear points at an archaeological site near Salado by Baylor, Texas A&M and University of Texas at Austin researchers may be the oldest weapons ever found in North America. These findings, published in the premier journal Science Advances, could challenge accepted theories about when the first humans arrived in the Americas. Steven L. Forman, Ph.D., professor in our dynamic geosciences department in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences, was among the team of researchers, whose discovery was reported on by several national and international media outlets.
  • I was intrigued by the perspective of Baylor Regent and former Walmart CEO Bill Simon, who was the keynote speaker Tuesday night at the "Trade Integration in the Americas" conference and policy forum hosted by the McBride Center for International Business within the Hankamer School of Business. At the event, which was covered by The Waco Tribune-Herald, Mr. Simon spoke not only on trade, but the unfortunate polarization of our society. Baylor is blessed to have several CEOs and international thought-leaders serving on our Board of Regents as we all work together to move Baylor forward.
  • Also this week, some of the leading scholars of the late Rev. Billy Graham and his work assembled on our campus to assess and celebrate his contributions to the Christian faith. You may recall that Rev. Graham passed away earlier this year, but he left an indelible legacy as part of the modern evangelical movement. The Billy Graham Centennial Symposium, which honored the centennial of his birth, was hosted by Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion and included many of our faculty, as well as Graham scholars from around the world.
  • Next Friday, Nov. 16, Baylor Law, in partnership with McLennan County Department of Families and Child Protective Services, will celebrate its 11th annual National Adoption Day. More than two dozen Central Texas families will finalize their adoptions as part of this heart-warming celebration from 1-5 p.m.
  • And best wishes to our soccer team as they open NCAA Tournament play against Abilene Christian Saturday at 7:30 p.m. here on campus at Betty Lou Mays Field.

As I conclude this week's note, a senseless tragedy has once again struck our nation in California, and our hearts ache and our prayers go out for the victims - many of them college students in the venue - and their families. As a former resident of the area, mother of a college student and president of a university committed to creating a safe environment for our students, I am even more mindful of our responsibility to care for one another and illustrate God's love in our actions every day. May we lift our prayers as a community for those whose lives have been impacted by this tragedy and for God's peace to prevail across our country.

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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