Presidential Perspective - May 9, 2019

May 9, 2019

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

This certainly has been an exciting week for the University as we announced a $100 million gift that provides powerful momentum for our Give Light philanthropic campaign and puts us well on our path to being recognized as the preeminent Christian research university. This transformational act of generosity comes only days after a $15 million leadership gift from The Sunderland Foundation for the restoration of our beloved Tidwell Bible Building. These gifts – and others to Baylor as part of the Give Light campaign – will have a long-lasting impact on our campus and reflect our steadfast commitment to our historic Christian mission, a transformational undergraduate education and an exceptional faculty dedicated to teaching and research in a Christian environment.

Here are several items of note for this week:

  • Spring Commencement ceremonies for an expected 2,900 graduates are coming up May 17-18 in the Ferrell Center! I encourage everyone to plan ahead and give yourself extra travel time as construction work on Interstate 35 is well underway and a clear bag policy will be in place for all three ceremonies. If family members are unable to attend, we provide live streaming on the Commencement website. Graduates, I look forward to greeting each of you as you walk across the stage!
  • Did you know that more sleep equals better success on final exams? That’s the finding of recent sleep research by Michael Scullin, Ph.D., director of Baylor’s Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory, and Elise King, M.I.D., M.A., assistant professor of interior design, whose interdisciplinary study found that students who succeeded in averaging eight hours of sleep for five nights during final exams week did better than those who did not. I know getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging this time of year, and I continue to pray for your knowledge and well-being during finals week.
  • Congratulations to philosophy professor Alexander Pruss, Ph.D., who has been invited to give a series of highly regarded Wilde Lectures beginning today at Oxford University. The lectures were established in 1911 and are among the most prestigious lectureships available to philosophers or theologians. It’s a great honor for Dr. Pruss that reflects highly on his department and Baylor University.
  • One of the four pillars of our Illuminate strategic plan centers on faculty and students conducting groundbreaking research that addresses critical issues and creates a foundation for future discoveries. This is certainly true of a recent Baylor study, published in the journal Science, which found that recent hybridization of the Gulf killifish, a large minnow common in the heavily polluted Houston Ship Channel, has enabled the species to adapt rapidly to extreme pollution. The research team was led by Cole Matson, Ph.D., associate professor of environmental science and a member of the Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research, and Elias Oziolor, Ph.D. (Biomedical Studies) ’17, now a senior scientist at Pfizer who conducted much of the study as part of his dissertation research at Baylor.
  • Our sixth-seeded men’s tennis team will host No. 11 UCLA in the NCAA Super Regional Friday at 6 p.m. at the Hurd Tennis Center, with a spot in the NCAA quarterfinals in Orlando on the line. Let’s show our support for Coach Boland and the Bears!

As we wrap up the spring semester, I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer. We will continue to share the great things happening at Baylor University through the Presidential Perspective each Thursday over the summer months.


Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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