Presidential Perspective - November 15, 2018

November 15, 2018

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

I enjoyed having the opportunity to visit with many of you last night at one of Baylor’s special traditions – our All-University Thanksgiving. We truly have so much to be thankful for as a community of faith here at Baylor. I wish you all safe journeys over the Thanksgiving Break, and I hope to see you back on campus Nov. 26 – rested and recharged for the end of the fall semester.

Here are several campus happenings that may be of interest:

  • Baylor Law has an unparalleled record of success among the 10 law schools in Texas, ranking first on 23 of the 35 bar exams given since 2001, including the most recent exam in July. And now, in what is believed to be a first in Texas bar exam history, the top three individual scorers of the July 2018 bar exam are Baylor Law graduates. According to the Texas Board of Law Examiners, 1,532 individuals took the exam in July, with Spring Branch native Stephen Burbank, J.D. ’18, earning the highest score and Rachel Koehn, J.D. ’18, of Houston and Kyle Steingreaber, J.D. ’18, of Porter tying for the second.
  • One of the nation’s top entrepreneurship programs for students who aspire to launch their own businesses resides in our Hankamer School of Business, and I learned this week that The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine believe that as well. Their latest rankings moved our entrepreneurship program up to No. 6 nationally among the top 25 Best Undergraduate Programs for Entrepreneurs. Exciting news for our entrepreneurship faculty and students who carry on the program’s long tradition of excellence.
  • Congratulations to 25 Baylor faculty members from a wide range of disciplines who have been named Rising Stars. This program through the Office of the Vice Provost for Research provides early career faculty with an intensive mentorship experience that helps put them on the fast track to pursue highly competitive external research funding. Rising Stars also have the opportunity to advocate for their transformational research in Washington, D.C. I deeply appreciate our active community of scholars who engage in research and discovery that address critical issues facing our world.
  • Speaking of Baylor research, did you know that whales have earwax? Using a technique they pioneered six years ago, Stephen J. Trumble, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, and Sascha Usenko, Ph.D., associate professor of environmental science, both in the College of Arts & Sciences, analyzed earplug laminae, a growth layer representing six months found in whale earwax, as part of their recent study published in Nature Communications. They were able to reconstruct baleen whales’ lifetime stress response to whaling and other manmade and environmental factors spanning nearly 150 years.
  • This Saturday night, you will have the unique opportunity to sit in on a History 2365 lecture – courtesy of C-SPAN’s American History TV – by Distinguished Professor and James Vardaman Endowed Professor of History Thomas Kidd, Ph.D., as part of the “Lectures in History” series. C-SPAN was on campus in September to tape Dr. Kidd’s class on the first Great Awakening in the Americas. Faculty who deeply value teaching undergraduate students is a hallmark of a Baylor education, and I look forward to seeing one of our distinguished scholars in the classroom at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. CST Saturday on C-SPAN 3.
  • For our faculty and staff, time is running out to participate in the United Way of Waco’s Workplace Campaign for 2019. Our goal is for 1,000 employees to give $12/month to the United Way’s General Impact Fund. That’s giving up one coffee (or tea for me!) and one breakfast burrito each month. The deadline for campaign participation is Nov. 30, and you can learn more here.

Saturday at McLane Stadium is going to be special, as our football team takes on rival TCU with bowl eligibility on the line. We will also honor an outstanding group of seniors as part of their final home game as a Baylor Bear. I hope you will make plans to get up early and help us #SicTCU! And be sure to visit for the full schedule of athletics events, including our soccer team hosting Vanderbilt in the second round of the NCAA Tournament tomorrow at 7 p.m.

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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