Presidential Perspective - September 9, 2021

September 9, 2021

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

Where were you 20 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001? For me, I was a faculty member here at Baylor and in the carpool line to drop off a young Shelby for school before heading to campus. For some of our undergraduates, you may not have even been born yet. But Sept. 11 will forever be remembered as an important day in U.S. history as terrorists attacked our homeland and threatened our safety, security and the freedoms we hold dear.

I hope you will join me on Friday at 9 a.m. on the steps of Pat Neff Hall as we recognize the 20th anniversary of 9/11, honor our local emergency responders and pray for our nation. This special event will conclude with a remembrance concert on the McLane Carillon by University Carillonneur Lynnette Geary.

A few updates for this week:

  • Last night I had the pleasure of meeting our inaugural cohort of Baylor Trailblazer Scholars. What a remarkable group of students! Named the Gilbert-Walker cohort in honor of Baylor’s first Black graduates, Rev. Robert Gilbert (BA ’67) and Mrs. Barbara Walker (BA ’67), the group of 25 students represents both incoming first-year students and upper-level students who are committed to advancing racial equity, diversity and a sense of belonging on our campus. I look forward to engaging with them throughout this year and their entire time at Baylor as they take part in leadership and service opportunities through our Department of Multicultural Affairs and other programs on campus.
  • Today we announced the 13th endowed faculty position created through the Baylor Academic Challenge in the past two years – and the first established within Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. The Vance Masteller Endowed Research Chair in Communication Sciences and Disorders – created by an anonymous $1.5 million gift from donors who are Baylor alumni and matched by the Academic Challenge – will continue to support the work and research surrounding Autism Spectrum Disorders and advance the Health initiative within our Illuminate strategic plan. The Vance Masteller Chair will help to attract and retain a leading scholar to Baylor who will serve as a leader for the department’s new Autism Clinic, which is part of the recently announced expansion of the Baylor Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic.
  • Tonight is the School of Music’s first in-person, live indoor concert since March 2020! The 15th annual Jazz Ensemble Swing Concert, “A Moonlight Serenade,” starts at 7:30 p.m. at Jones Concert Hall in the Glennis McCrary Music Building. The concert is free and open to the public, or available via livestream. I’m always amazed by the talents of our Baylor musicians.
  • As you gear up to fling your green and gold afar, don’t forget to use your Baylor ID at local shops under the Go Gold program. For a full list of discounts, visit Waco is bustling with new shops and restaurants such as Milk Bottle Cookies, just around the corner from Milo All Day, to three new stops at Union Hall – Curry Up, Save Point Sandwich Shop and Dough Re Mi edible cookie dough. And don’t forget to visit Cameron Park for an outdoor excursion and gorgeous river views as the temperatures begin to subside and fall colors emerge.
  • We are thrilled to welcome Baylor Football back to McLane Stadium this Saturday for our first home game of the 2021 season. As our athletics facilities return to full capacity, we continue to encourage facemasks, especially in indoor and enclosed spaces; healthy habits like frequent handwashing; and if you don’t feel well, please plan to enjoy the game from the comforts of home. If you are coming to the game, allow plenty of time to navigate the never-ending I-35 construction – plan ahead by visiting Also, arrive early to pass through stadium security, and don’t forget your clear bags and phone, which now holds your digital tickets. This will be our “Kickoff for the Community” game, which will also include special tributes honoring the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
  • In conjunction with the start of the fall sports season, we’ve launched a new national TV commercial to spotlight Baylor. The 30-second commercial, titled “Let There Be Light,” is an extension of the University’s “Where Lights Shine Bright” brand campaign that showcases our vibrant, active campus experience – supported by a caring Christian community – that prepares Baylor students to shine as leaders and servants in the world. The soundtrack is from “Sunday Morning Feeling” by Christian duo Apollo LTD, who will come to campus for a concert later this fall.

Thank you for a such a great start to the fall semester!

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.

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