Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
As we all know, COVID-19 has caused many disruptions to our normal lives. In fact, I’ve said on many occasions that we are planning for a “new normal” as we look ahead toward the fall semester. Today I am excited to announce that we plan to hold our August commencement ceremonies in-person at McLane Stadium. The two ceremonies will be held Aug. 14-15 at 8 p.m. each night. As you might expect, we will have to make many alterations to the ceremony due to social distancing guidelines and the August heat, but I am looking forward to bringing the Baylor Family together in-person to celebrate our graduates. The ceremony breakdowns for the colleges and schools are now posted on the commencement website, and instructions for degree candidates will be emailed soon.
Also on the COVID-19 front, we will have important messages coming to you in the days ahead regarding fall registration and revisions to the fall academic calendar. Be sure to check your Baylor email frequently for the latest information regarding our fall planning.
Some additional information for you this week ...
- In my Tuesday message regarding recent race-related events across our country, one of the action steps I outlined was hosting a Baylor Conversation Series over the summer months. This important dialogue will include the role of the church and our responsibility as Christians on race, peacemaking and conciliation. I am pleased to announce a distinguished panel who will join me for the conversation: Malcolm Foley, former Student Regent, Ph.D. candidate in religion and director of discipleship at Mosaic Waco; Greg Garrett, Ph.D., professor in the Department of English; and Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media. We will share the dates with you in the days ahead.
- Mark your calendars for our first virtual prayer service, “The Baylor Family Praying ... in Lament, for Justice, and towards Healing,” scheduled for next Wednesday at both 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. We will provide log-in information to you prior to the service.
- We can add two more prestigious scholarships – the Boren and Freeman-Asia – to the growing list of Baylor students and recent alumni who have received highly competitive fellowships and awards this year, a true testament to Baylor’s commitment to a transformational undergraduate education. Boren Scholar Anne Walker, an economics and international studies major, will attend the virtual domestic language program through the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute before studying Indonesian in the spring at the Indonesia Flagship Language Initiative. University Scholar Annie Huntington’s Freeman-Asia Scholarship will provide language study in Thailand and the opportunity to continue her sustainability research at the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute. Congratulations to our students!
- I was a proud Central Texan last weekend as SpaceX launched the first space crew from America in nearly a decade. For those of you who don’t know, SpaceX has a rocket testing facility in McGregor, located right outside of Waco. Baylor planetary geophysicist Peter James, Ph.D., gives a good explanation of just how significant the SpaceX launch was.
I have enjoyed being back in the office in Pat Neff Hall this week as part of Phase 2 of our Return to On-Campus Work plan. I can’t wait for our campus to be filled with all of you once August gets here!
Praying for you daily,
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.