Presidential Perspective - May 27, 2021
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
As we anticipate the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, I join the Baylor Family in remembering and honoring all of the brave men and women who have given their lives to protect our nation throughout our history as a people and for the benefit of future generations. Our freedom is a precious gift paid for by the valor and sacrifice of those who courageously took on the responsibilities of military service.
Of course, many such American heroes have been and continue to be members of the Baylor Family. All around the Baylor campus stand reminders of their service and enduring legacy in the form of memorial lampposts, each one bearing the name of a Baylor alum who served our country. The first red granite lampposts were dedicated in 1946, just a year after the end of World War II, and today more than 140 of them offer an ongoing tribute to those Baylor Bears who dedicated themselves to protecting the light of freedom.
Some additional information for this week:
- Hundreds of military veterans are a part of our student body, and we're blessed to have them as a part of the Baylor Family. U.S. News & World Report has routinely listed Baylor as a top 50 “Best College for Veterans,” and we strive to live up to that honor through services for student veterans as they transition to a new role outside of military service. At Baylor, Veteran Educational and Transition Services, better known as VETS, provides numerous resources for academic success and community. You can learn more about VETS on this week's Baylor Connections radio program and podcast. Kevin Davis, VETS program manager and a Marine Corps veteran, and Brittany Rothrock, a rising senior engineering major and Navy veteran, will share more about the community of veterans on campus and what they bring to our student body. The program will air Friday morning at 11 a.m. on KWBU-FM and will be available as a podcast.
- When Acting Secretary of the U.S. Navy Thomas B. Modly christened the USS Doris Miller — a Gerald R. Ford Class supercarrier — in January 2020, he chose the words of T. Michael Parrish, Ph.D., The Linden G. Bowers Professor of History at Baylor, to amplify Miller’s significance. “Doris Miller’s heroic actions at Pearl Harbor and his quiet but persuasive voice as an advocate for positive change constituted a vital contribution toward the full and equal acceptance of Black men and women in the U.S. Navy and the nation that it serves.” That sentence is from Dr. Parrish’s scholarly biography Doris Miller, Pearl Harbor and the Birth of the Civil Rights Movement. Miller, a Waco native and cook third class aboard the USS West Virginia during the attacks of Dec. 7, 1941, manned a .50-caliber anti-aircraft gun and — despite having no training in the gun’s operation — fired at Japanese aircraft for 15 minutes until exhausting the gun’s ammunition. He was one of the last three men to abandon the ship and swam nearly 400 yards to safety, dodging Japanese fire and the wreckage of the USS Arizona along the way. As we head into Memorial Day weekend, we pay tribute to Miller’s heroics and Dr. Parrish’s efforts to further share Miller’s story with the world. If you are in Waco this weekend, I encourage you to visit the moving Miller memorial along the downtown banks of the Brazos.
- The demand for a Baylor education – one that’s centered on Christ in an environment based on academic excellence – has never been greater, as we project a larger than anticipated freshman class and excellent retention of returning students. Our teams across campus are preparing for Orientation and Line Camp, making housing assignments, and readying our buildings and grounds for an exciting – and normal – start to the fall semester. I look forward to having the energy return to our campus and to see so many smiling faces.
I hope each of you has a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend!
Until next week,
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.