Presidential Perspective - November 21, 2019

November 21, 2019

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

Serving as President of Baylor University has provided many “firsts” for me. My latest “first” was pardoning a turkey at the beginning of last night’s All-University Thanksgiving meal! It was so good to see the Baylor Family – some 8,000 – gathered in the middle of our campus to offer thanksgiving for our many blessings and to spend time with each other in community. As I think back on such an incredible evening, I am reminded of the following Bible verse:

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” (1 Chronicles 16:34)

As we look toward Thanksgiving Day next week, I give thanks for all of you and for the opportunity to serve this great University during such an important time in her history. I pray for safe traveling mercies for each of you during the holiday season.

A few additional items to spotlight this week:

  • Each week I try to give an update on Illuminate, Baylor’s strategic plan for achieving our goal of becoming the preeminent Christian research university. One of the people who plays a significant role in guiding our path toward Research 1/Tier 1 recognition is Dr. Kevin Chambliss, who serves as our Vice Provost for Research. Last week he stopped by KWBU to record a podcast for Baylor Connections, in which he discusses several new initiatives as part of Illuminate.
  • If you were not able to attend last Friday’s Baylor Conversation Series with Drs. Robert P. George and Cornel West on civil discourse, I would strongly encourage you to watch this important discussion online. Throughout the fall, the series has focused on ways we can improve our ability to communicate with one another across idealogical boundaries — specifically ways to get past the “us vs. them” approach that dominates so much of our society. I look forward to continuing our conversations around civil discourse this spring.
  • Over the past six weeks, more than 100 faculty and 45 student leaders have engaged in small-group discussions focused on the question of how we can best support Baylor’s LGBTQ+ students. This major undertaking was sponsored by the Faculty Senate and the Division of Student Life in coordination with the Offices of the President and Provost. These small group discussions were skillfully led by Dr. Helen Harris of Social Work and Professor of Law Jeremy Counseller for the faculty, and for the students, Drs. Liz Palacios and Josh Ritter of Student Life and Dr. Monique Marsh-Bell of Athletics. A report will be prepared based on the feedback from the conversations. I would like to thank our facilitators, as well as the many faculty and students who gave up several hours of their day to civilly engage in a sensitive, but important discussion.
  • A new Texas law requires any employee of a college or university in Texas to report to the Title IX Coordinator any information regarding an alleged incident of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking, committed by or against a person enrolled at or employed by the institution at the time of the incident. The law requires colleges to terminate employment for employees who fail to report such matters and imposes criminal penalties of up to a year in jail. The obligation to report applies whenever an employee receives, in the course and scope of employment, information about any of the above-mentioned conduct committed by or against a person who was a student or employee at the time of the incident. A party’s desire for confidentiality does not relieve the employee’s obligation to report.

    Reports can be made online at or via email (, phone (254-710-8454) or in person (Clifton Robinson Tower, suite 285). For additional details about reporting, including information for those designated as confidential resources, please click here.
  • Tomorrow will be an “Incredible” day for 24 children in foster care whose adoptions will be finalized by 21 forever families as part of the 12th annual Adoption Day celebration hosted by Baylor Law, Baylor Law’s Public Interest Legal Society and the Department of Family and Child Protective Services. Under the superhero theme that “Adoptions Are Incredible,” Adoption Day – created by Professor of Law Bridget Fuselier and supported by student volunteers – provides a joyful celebration at the end of a legal process for adopting families and the children who have waited for a family to call their own. This event – and the bringing together of families – is so beautifully aligned with the University’s mission and our call to selfless service to our community.

Congratulations to our No. 3 volleyball team for taking down top-ranked Texas last night in front of a record 7,357 fans at the Ferrell Center. The atmosphere was electric! Let’s go for a Texas two-step on Saturday as we host the Longhorns at McLane Stadium in the final home football game for our seniors.


Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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