Presidential Perspective - March 28, 2019

March 28, 2019

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

Before I get to my typical email, I have a few encouraging words specifically for our students. As the pace of the spring semester picks up, please reach out if you need any assistance. We all need a little help sometimes, and Baylor has many resources available to you. The Baylor Counseling Center has services to help you manage stress and other issues. Walk-in appointments are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Counseling Center also can be reached in a crisis 24 hours a day at 254-710-2467. If you are struggling with faith-related matters or simply need a prayer partner, the Office of Spiritual Life is available as well at 254-710-3517 or via walk-ins.

Here are several updates for this week:

  • In the spring of 1945, Baylor students prayed for spiritual renewal for 90 straight days, a movement that helped inspire ministries on campus and around the world. Beginning at 8 p.m. this Sunday through Wednesday, our campus community will gather again in Jesus’ name for a 72-hour prayer and worship event called FM72. At the heart of our campus on Fountain Mall, students from dozens of college ministries and organizations – coordinated by Baptist Student Ministries – have committed to pray for 72 hours, one hour at a time. At 8 p.m. each night, we will join together to worship, pray and hear God’s Word from some amazing guest teachers and worship leaders. You are welcome to join in as much as you can between classes or late into the night as we passionately seek God together.
  • I am so grateful when our students have the opportunity to let their lights – and their leadership – shine. On Saturday, Baylor students will welcome students from other Texas colleges and universities for the 2019 Baylor Leadership Summit, co-sponsored by the Department of Multicultural Affairs, Academy for Leadership Development and Office of Community Engagement. The summit provides an opportunity for students to explore many facets of leadership through program tracks on Multicultural Leadership, General and Peer Leadership, Civic Leadership and Advisors/Staff roundtable discussions that celebrate best practices.
  • Today it’s my honor to announce the three exceptional teachers who have been named finalists for Baylor’s 2020 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching. This award is the only national teaching award – with the single largest monetary reward of $250,000 – presented by a college or university to an individual for exceptional teaching. The Cherry Award Committee, chaired by Michael W. Thompson, Ph.D., associate dean for undergraduate programs in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, worked for many months to screen and evaluate more than 135 nominations from across the country. The finalists are: Jennifer Cognard-Black, Ph.D., Professor of English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland; Nancy Fichtman Dana, Ph.D., Professor of Education at the University of Florida; and Reuben A. Buford May, Ph.D., Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence at Texas A&M University. I want to thank members of the Cherry Award Committee for their hard work, and I look forward to welcoming our finalists to campus for their lectures this fall.
  • With Baylor in Latin America designated as one of the five signature initiatives of Illuminate, our academic strategic plan, a top scholar who has researched and taught about religion in Latin America for nearly two decades has joined our faculty this semester. Juan Carlos Esparza Ochoa, Ph.D., is the new director of the program on religion and Latin America studies in the Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) and will also serve as research assistant professor in both ISR and the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work.
  • The month of April is designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the University has a wide range of events scheduled throughout the month. The First Gent asked that I pass along information about a new organization called M.A.R.S., or Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault. M.A.R.S. will kick off next week with a free lunch on Monday from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in Foster 143 with a discussion on masculinity. Here’s an email address for more information about the weeklong activities.
  • I know you will want to mark your calendars for this special event … Martha Lou Scott, Ed.D. – a Baylor “institution” – has announced her retirement after more than 48 years at the University. We will host a campus-wide reception in her honor on Wednesday, May 1, from 3-5 p.m. in Barfield Drawing Room. To get you ready for the event, I encourage you to listen to this recent Baylor Connections podcast with Dr. Scott. Her love for Baylor and our students is truly genuine and heart-filled.

Thank you for all that you do for Baylor. And don’t forget to fling your green and gold tomorrow for Spirit Friday!


Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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