Presidential Perspective - February 13, 2020

February 13, 2020

Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:

Thank you to everyone who participated in Baylor Giving Day yesterday. With a theme of “One Day. One Family. One for Baylor.,” Giving Day was a wonderful way to celebrate Baylor’s 175th anniversary and to support areas of the University that you care most about. It was also a great example of how the Baylor Family – working together – can accomplish great things. I enjoyed keeping track of gift matches and giving challenges that motivated alumni, parents, friends, faculty, staff and students to give. On our first Giving Day in August 2018, 2,305 donors gave more than $521,000. Yesterday, 2,725 individuals were inspired to give more than $878,000!

A few updates to share with you this week ...

  • Back in December, I shared with you that CBS This Morning was doing a national segment about some exciting Baylor research that led to the creation of the phone app CRADLE by Baylor faculty Bryan Shaw, Ph.D., and Greg Hamerly, Ph.D. The app helps detect different eye diseases — among them retinoblastoma, an aggressive eye cancer that mostly occurs in children from birth to age 5. Well, the story finally ran yesterday on CBS This Morning. Congratulations to Drs. Shaw and Hamerly!
  • A new study by Baylor sociologist Kevin Dougherty, Ph.D., analyzes faith-centered tattoos on university students. While more than a quarter of U.S. adults now have tattoos — and nearly half of millennials do — only a handful of studies have focused on religious tattoos. And Baylor’s is the first to use visual images of these tattoos. An interesting finding was that religious tattoos of college students were more likely to face inward, toward the body, than non-religious tattoos, perhaps as personal encouragement to live in accordance with their faith.
  • Last fall we initiated a campus-wide Conversation Series on civil discourse – an area of significant need today in politics, our communities, church congregations, on the Baylor campus or oftentimes within our own families. Civil discourse requires mutual respect and objectivity without hostility, while demonstrating an appreciation for the experiences of others even if they do not align with our own personal or institutional values or perspectives. This topic is vitally important for higher education – and especially at Baylor either in Chapel or during class presentations – as we strive to be a marketplace of ideas and extend the love of Christ toward others. I challenge all of us to look for similarities first and foremost, before focusing solely on what may divide us.
  • Registration closes tomorrow at noon for the People’s Law School on Saturday. This special opportunity conducted by Baylor Law offers basic fundamentals of the law that can help in your day-to-day personal and business life, as well as satisfy the curiosity about the law and how it works. New courses for this year include: Contesting Your Property Taxes, Don’t Learn Your Law from the Movies, Animal Law, Understanding the Supreme Court, Presidential Power, Guardianship and Keeping Your Church Out of Court. For more information and to register, visit
  • Our Board of Regents will be on campus next week for their quarterly meeting, as well as for next Friday’s groundbreaking of the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center and our first Gold and Bold alumni celebration. As customary, the agenda for the Board meeting will be posted online Monday afternoon. I truly appreciate the selfless service of our Regents as they uphold the University’s mission and guide our aspirations as the preeminent Christian research university.

BTW – I have the best Valentine! I am looking forward to celebrating Valentine’s Day with the First Gent tomorrow. And, of course, we’ll be at the Ferrell Center on Saturday as our #1 Bears host #14 West Virginia at 3 p.m. Sic ’em!


Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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