Presidential Perspective - October 14, 2021
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
Baylor hosted the nation’s first collegiate homecoming event in 1909, and even after a year “off” due to COVID-19, I can tell you that our campus is abuzz this week as current students are enjoying many Baylor Homecoming traditions and preparing for the return of tens of thousands of alumni and friends to Waco this weekend. And, yes, this will be a much-needed normal Homecoming!
For our first-year students: Be sure to attend Mass Meeting tonight at 8, which has been moved from Fountain Mall to the Allison Indoor Practice Facility, as we welcome you to Baylor Homecoming, retell the story of the Immortal Ten and present the Eternal Flame. The story of the Immortal Ten reminds us that we each have a unique responsibility to care for and value one another as individuals and collectively as the Baylor Family.
Then on Saturday, the First Gent and I are so excited to be back among the Baylor Family in the Baylor Homecoming Parade, which begins at 8 a.m. in Downtown Waco and arrives on campus around 8:30 a.m. Led by the Golden Wave Marching Band and Grand Marshal Scott Drew, head coach of our 2021 National Champion Baylor men’s basketball team, the parade will feature more than 120 entries, including 11 floats, 13 balloons and so much more. If you are not able to be here in Waco, the parade will be broadcast live on KCEN-TV Ch. 6, thanks to the generous support of the Sadie Jo Black Family Foundation. It also will be livestreamed – you can find those “Ways to Watch” on the Baylor Homecoming website.
Of course, there are many more Homecoming activities between now and Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. football game against future Big 12 member and 19th-ranked BYU at McLane Stadium. Let’s extend a warm Waco welcome to our visiting fans as the Cougars prepare to enter the Big 12 in 2023.
Be sure to plan your Homecoming activities in advance so you won’t miss anything!
Some updates for this week:
- On the COVID-19 front, I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that if Baylor remained in “good shape” and we started seeing signs of improvement in the Waco area, we would re-evaluate our virus precautions for the remainder of the fall semester. While we will continue with the requirement of facemasks in academic classrooms and labs – due to the extended time students and faculty are in close proximity – we will now transition to once-weekly testing of unvaccinated individuals beginning on Monday, Oct. 18. Testing will be available weekdays at one location – the North Village Community Center (M-Th 7:45 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday 7:45 a.m.-5 p.m.) – while Robinson Tower (9 a.m.-noon) and Washington Tower (1-5 p.m.) will offer testing on Wednesdays only.
- As we continue to prepare for some of my favorite Homecoming traditions, I hope you’ll take time to watch “Lady: The Miracle Bear,” a short, 19-minute documentary detailing the emotional and groundbreaking medical journey of Judge Lady, one of our two beloved American black bears. The remarkable care offered to Lady and her biological sister, Joy, by the team of caregivers in the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat – including her extraordinary team at the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital – truly embodies the love and dedication we should provide to all in the Baylor Family. We are unbelievably proud of Lady’s resilience, strength and courage as she recovers from multiple surgeries and treatments – some the first ever attempted on a bear –and are so thrilled to watch her continue to thrive.
- The second installment of our “Readers Meet the Author” series spotlighting the scholarly work of Baylor faculty members is next Wednesday, Oct. 20, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. We’ll hear from Perry Glanzer, Ph.D., professor of educational leadership, who has authored Identity in Action. You can register online for the Zoom event, which is presented by the Office of the President and Office of the Provost.
- It may be hard to imagine, but cybercriminals frequently target higher education institutions with direct network attacks, phishing schemes and other methods of accessing institutional repositories or research data. During October’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Baylor ITS will help our community become more #BearAware through a public awareness campaign that features memes from “The Office” and online training available through Ignite. The training sessions will become available tomorrow and are required of all faculty and staff. Do your part to #BeCyberSmart.
- Waco has become a destination for many outdoor adventure sports, and the Greater Waco Sports Commission is in need of approximately 1,500 volunteers to assist with the Ironman Waco and Ironman Waco 70.3 on Oct. 23-24. Let’s help welcome these extreme athletes to our community and share a little Baylor spirit while they are here. More information on volunteering can be found here.
- Last week we kicked off our annual United Way campaign with the selection of our first weekly raffle winner. Debbie Weaver has been selected to ride in the vintage Baylor FJ Cruiser in Saturday’s Homecoming parade, so keep an eye out for her. Thank you, Debbie, for your selfless service and commitment to our community. To learn more about upcoming weekly drawings and how to engage in the United Way campaign, visit www.baylor.edu/hr/unitedway.
Tomorrow is a special Homecoming edition of Spirit Friday – green and gold required! It’s certainly a busy week for the Baylor Family, and I am extremely thankful and blessed to serve as your President.
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.