Presidential Perspective - February 14, 2019

February 14, 2019

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

It’s been a great week to be a Baylor Bear, particularly as we celebrated Baylor Day at the Capitol in Austin on Tuesday. I am extremely appreciative of the “Baylor Delegation” – members of the Legislature who are either Baylor alumni or represent the Waco area – for their ongoing care and support for the University. And our Student Ambassadors did a fantastic job of advocating for Baylor and explaining the benefits of higher education in a Christian environment.

Here are several updates for this week:

  • Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Dr. Karen Melton and Dr. Maria Boccia in Baylor’s Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences have published new research in the Journal of Marriage and Family that examined the release of oxytocin – sometimes referred to as the “hugging hormone” – associated with distinct types of leisure for couples, such as playing board games or taking a painting class together. Oxytocin is associated with bonding and family cohesiveness, so their research has implications not only for couples, but for our families. It’s a good reminder for us to step away from our phones and find those small, meaningful ways to interact, whether at dinner, going for a walk or doing homework with a child.
  • You might recall that C-SPAN’s American History TV was on our campus last fall to film Dr. Thomas Kidd’s history class on the first Great Awakening for the channel’s “Lectures in History” series. Apparently our history professors have made quite an impression on C-SPAN! They sent another production crew to Baylor on Tuesday to film Dr. Julie Sweet – decked out in her Continental Army uniform – as she taught her popular history class on the American Revolution and the Constitution. What a remarkable opportunity to showcase our outstanding faculty and the University’s commitment to a transformational undergraduate education.
  • Congratulations to Samantha Yruegas, a fifth-year doctoral student in chemistry and biochemistry and a member of Dr. Caleb Martin’s research group, on the distinctive honor of being named to the Periodic Table of Younger Chemists by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). Among the elements on the Periodic Table, Sam was selected to represent erbium (Er), but her research centers on another element, boron (B), and its potential applications in electronics and pharmaceuticals. She is a remarkably productive researcher – contributing to 12 publications so far. She also is a first-generation college student, and I give thanks for her passion for mentoring undergraduate students and her outreach efforts that promote diversity in science.
  • As we continue our celebration of Black History Month, the Black Student Union, in conjunction with the Department of Multicultural Affairs, will host the 32nd annual Black Heritage Banquet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, on the fifth floor of the Cashion Academic Center. The keynote speaker for the event is Jemar Tisby, president of The Witness, Black Christian Collective and author of The Color of Compromise. Tickets are available at the SUB Ticket Office.
  • I join many across our campus and the Waco community in giving a standing ovation to the Baylor Symphony Orchestra, choral ensemble and School of Music faculty for an incredible President’s Concert last Friday night. The performance of Gustav Mahler’s monumental Symphony No. 2 in C minor (the “Resurrection” Symphony) was exquisite. Check the weekly calendar for upcoming musical performances that you will not want to miss.

I am thankful for the richness of educational opportunities that are available not only for students, but for our entire Baylor Family. I encourage you to illuminate your Baylor experience and explore everything that the University has to offer.


Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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