Presidential Perspective - August 8, 2019

August 8, 2019

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

In just a few weeks, after we cheer on our newest Baylor graduates during Summer Commencement, we’ll begin to see the exciting signs of the fall semester and the start of a new academic year. Among the many special events are the enduring traditions of Move-In and Welcome Week. It’s always exciting – even in this Central Texas heat – to make the final preparations to welcome students and their families to our beautiful campus. And speaking of Move-In – yes, the First Gent and I do enjoy carrying those cardboard boxes from the vehicles to the residence halls and up all of those flights of stairs. It’s a fun time to connect with friends and meet new students. I just try to leave the heavy boxes labeled “books” for the First Gent!

Here are several items of note for this week:

  • We are thrilled to welcome #BU23 to the Baylor campus. This year’s class is outstanding – and once again will be the most academically qualified in the University’s history. Our talented team in Undergraduate Admissions also projects increases in ethnic and racial diversity, male students and out-of-state-students. Additionally, we are proud to welcome approximately 125 students as part of our new BU Global Gateway Program. We will provide a final update for you once the 12th class day arrives.
  • Next Tuesday, Aug. 13, Baylor will host the second annual Community Prayer Breakfast. I look forward to welcoming pastors and leaders of all faiths and denominations throughout Waco and Central Texas to campus. We will join together to pray for students, parents, faculty, administrators, community well-being and community ministers.
  • As I mentioned last week, Miller Chapel in our iconic Tidwell Bible Building holds special significance for many in the Baylor Family who were married in that sacred space or attended special events there since the mid-1950s. As we prepare to restore Tidwell – including preserving the chapel’s beautiful stained glass windows and adding a new prayer chapel with a breathtaking view of campus from Tidwell’s top floors – we have more details about the open house from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, for alumni and our campus community to celebrate their cherished connection to Miller Chapel ahead of the football season opener.
  • One of the great joys of serving at Baylor is learning about students who’ve discovered a passion for research. In the summer edition of Baylor Magazine, I enjoyed reading a piece written by 2018 Goldwater Scholarship recipient Christina Gaw, a senior biochemistry and anthropology major from Belton, Texas, whose first exposure to undergraduate research was through the Baylor Summer Science Research for Freshmen program. Christina writes: “My undergraduate research involvement and the faculty at Baylor have provided me the ability to be competitive for scholarships and internships related to my research interests.”

This past week, we were reminded that, despite all of the good and excitement in this world, there is darkness. I ask that you join me in continued prayer for the victims, families and communities reeling from the horrors of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Gilroy, California. In times of trial, I find truth in these words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

As we strive to be a campus community that is filled with love, care and respect for each other, let us be the light of Christ.


Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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