Presidential Perspective - July 22, 2021

July 22, 2021

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

Time is certainly flying as we enter the final stretch of summer. In fact, we have only 32 days until fall classes begin at Baylor University! Our faculty, staff and I look forward to welcoming everyone back to our beautiful campus.

A few University updates:

  • We shared some great news last week that the Baylor Family provided more than $161 million in given and pledged philanthropic support to the Give Light campaign during Baylor’s recently completed fiscal year. These gifts have created significant resources for all areas of the University, including student scholarship support, with 99 new endowed scholarships established in the past year. The tremendous support extended to our academic enterprise with the creation of five endowed faculty chairs to support research and teaching in physics, the study of Black worship, communication sciences and disorders, entrepreneurship and medical humanities, as well as 26 endowed funds to support everything from faculty and student research to lab equipment, discipline-specific missions and service-learning opportunities. To date, we are close – at $1.04 billion – to reaching Give Light’s $1.1 billion goal.
  • The Baylor Academic Challenge, which has sparked the funding of prestigious endowed faculty positions, is an important part of Give Light and our pursuit of R1 research recognition while maintaining our foundational Christian mission. Today, we are celebrating an important benchmark on that journey. We're thrilled to announce that Dr. Alan Wang will be joining Baylor as the inaugural holder of The Mearse Chair in Biological and Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Wang has spent the last decade at Oregon State University, where he has distinguished himself in photonics and opto-electronics, a growing field that speaks both to his faith and desire to apply his research to help others and solve future problems in areas like health care and energy efficiency. His record demonstrates his effectiveness, with millions in research funding and inventions ranging from “the world's smallest electro-optic modulator” to a highly sensitive biosensor device. We look forward to welcoming Dr. Wang and his family to Baylor's School of Engineering and Computer Science in 2022.
  • A quick reminder that before fall classes begin, we need you for Move2BU, one of the University’s most welcoming traditions as our newest Baylor Bears and their families come to campus for assisted Move-In days on Aug. 18-19. I love how our faculty, staff and students let their lights shine by directing traffic, carrying bags and boxes or serving as greeters or part of the welcome party. The First Gent and I encourage you to sign up for a shift on the Move2BU website. We look forward to volunteering right alongside you as we welcome #BU25 to Baylor!
  • If you haven’t been in Waco this summer, you might be surprised when you return to see all the changes with Interstate-35 construction. The rebuilding of the northbound mainlanes is moving along at a quick pace with a targeted completion date of 2023. We have learned that TxDOT’s priority is to have 4th Street open under I-35 by the time classes begin, and I know we will all welcome that. In the meantime, our campus remains next to an active construction zone, so please be extremely cautious and alert as you drive, walk or bike in the area, especially between campus and the downtown side of I-35. Also, plan for additional travel time to campus and use to check real-time traffic conditions that will help you plan and safely navigate routes in the area.

The countdown to Aug. 23 is underway! We’ll touch base again next Thursday with an update on our plans for the fall semester.

Until next week,

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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