Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:
There is so much buzz on campus about Saturday, and I am just as excited as all of you. For nearly two years, we have talked about Baylor being a place “Where Lights Shine Bright.” Well, the spotlight on our great University could not be brighter on Saturday as we host ESPN’s College GameDay from 8-11 a.m. and then the Oklahoma Sooners at 6:30 p.m. on ABC.
As I wrote in a Waco Tribune-Herald editorial this morning, we have an opportunity to showcase Baylor as an institution that provides a transformational education in a safe and supportive environment for our students and to proudly proclaim our quest for national recognition as a Research 1/Tier 1 university. And it’s also as much an occasion to celebrate our hometown of Waco as both the setting and a key source of our strength as a growing Christian research university.
A few additional items to spotlight this week:
- Don’t forget that nationally renowned speakers Drs. Robert P. George and Cornel West will be at Waco Hall tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. for a spirited discussion on civil discourse as part of our Baylor Conversation Series. I strongly encourage students, faculty and staff to attend. The event is non-ticketed, but note that bag check security procedures will be in place and backpacks are not allowed.
- Beginning Sunday, Baylor and Waco will welcome the Annual Meeting of Texas Baptists for three days of fellowship, preaching, worship and workshops at the downtown Waco Convention Center. We appreciate the Baptist General Convention of Texas for its historic partnership in support of Baylor’s ongoing mission as a Christian university with a Baptist heritage. Also, following the meeting, many visitors will stay on for Truett Seminary’s inaugural National Preaching Conference Nov. 19-21 at First Baptist Church, Waco.
- Did you know that our four-year graduation rate has risen at a record rate for six consecutive years? One of the reasons for that trajectory is Baylor’s Student Success Collaborative, which combines technology, research and predictive analytics to build a coordinated network of care to support students on a path to timely graduation. I’m so pleased their impactful work was recognized nationally with EAB’s Technology Pioneer Award for testing new solutions to advance student success.
- I am truly thankful for the ongoing support and selfless service of the Board of Regents. A most recent example is Regent Bill Mearse, B.B.A. ’78, M.B.A. ’79, who joined the Board in July. Bill and his wife, Tanya, have stepped forward with a visionary gift to establish The Mearse Endowed Chair in Biological and Biomedical Engineering, which will provide senior leadership for this emerging program within our School of Engineering and Computer Science. This is the third faculty position funded as part of the Baylor Academic Challenge matching program since its creation in May, helping Baylor advance the priorities within our Illuminate strategic plan.
- I’m excited to report that the Ignite project – bringing transformation to Baylor business processes and resource management strategies – continues on track for a June 2020 premiere. Watch for opportunities over the coming months to learn more about how Ignite will enhance the way Baylor operates and how it will be another source of light supporting Illuminate. Be sure to regularly visit the Ignite website and read the new Ignite newsletter for the latest information.
- If the cold weather this week has you thinking Christmas, you’re not alone! Here’s an early Christmas gift idea for you: This year’s Baylor Traditions Christmas ornament, featuring the iconic interlocking BU. Proceeds support Give Light, as the annual ornament offers the Baylor Family a chance to add a little green and gold to their Christmas trees.
I hope to see everyone outside of McLane Stadium along the banks of the Brazos River for ESPN’s College GameDay at 8 a.m. Saturday and then for the football game at 6:30 p.m. Let’s fling our green and gold and shine a light for the entire country to see. Sic ’em, Bears!
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.