Presidential Perspective - June 16, 2022
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
Serving as President of Baylor University and calling Waco my home brings me such great joy. It was in that spirit that I joined Mayor Dillon Meek and the Waco City Council for a special proclamation last week commemorating my fifth anniversary at Baylor. I’m humbled by the honor and deeply appreciative of the strong and steadfast partnership between our hometown of Waco and Baylor University as we seek to grow and thrive together.
Some updates for the week:
- Sunday is Juneteenth, which celebrates the day when the message of the United States’ abolition of slavery finally reached Texas on June 19, 1865, two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Families and communities across Texas have celebrated Juneteenth for generations, but this year marks the first time it will be celebrated as a national holiday, including at Baylor University, which will be closed Monday, June 20, in recognition of Juneteenth.
- Over the weekend, I hope you will share in the many Juneteenth partnerships and events throughout our community:
- Faculty, staff and students are invited to Baylor Law’s Juneteenth celebration Friday at noon at the Law School, featuring Stephen B. Reid, Ph.D., professor of Christian Scriptures at Truett Seminary, and other guests. RSVP here.
- The First Gent and I will join other University and community members for the annual Juneteenth Parade, organized by the Cen-Tex African American Chamber of Commerce, at 10 a.m. Saturday from downtown at Waco City Hall to East Waco.
- Later that afternoon, Baylor will participate in Juneteenth Family Fun Day, as numerous community organizations celebrate African American heritage and independence beginning at 4 p.m. at Brazos Park East. The University also will host the Mr. and Miss Juneteenth Scholarship Pageant Friday at Waco Hall.
- Since 1970, Baylor’s Institute for Oral History has been preserving the memories of history’s eyewitnesses, including Texans from various eras who share their memories of Juneteenth. BaylorProud has shared two local Juneteenth memories of a Central Texan whose father remembered the first Juneteenth and another from a Waco native who recalled meeting former enslaved persons at Juneteenth celebrations she attended as a child. In addition, Baylor faculty members Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., and Dr. Reid share their memories and appreciation of the meaning of the holiday.
- Summer is often the hungriest time for kids, particularly in rural communities where transportation challenges make accessing a summer meals site more difficult. The Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty has been awarded nearly $5 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to continue its innovative “Meals-to-You” (MTY) project this summer in Texas, New Mexico, Alaska and Utah. This public/private partnership between USDA, BCHP, the PepsiCo Foundation and McLane Global provides a stable and reliable food source through home delivery to children in rural areas. During the pandemic, the USDA issued emergency resources to scale MTY across the country, eventually serving over 3 million meals weekly. The first boxes for the 2022 Meals-to-You program began shipping this week and will continue until the school year begins.
- I want to express my sincerest appreciation to Dr. Kim Scott and Dean Todd Still, and the entire Baylor Health Plan Committee for their hard work and dedication to ensuring that all of us receive the best medical care possible at the most affordable rates. Faculty and staff received the announcement via email yesterday regarding the positive changes to our Baylor Health Plan in 2023. I encourage you to visit the dedicated UMR/UnitedHealthcare website for answers to frequently asked questions and the steps to ensure your current provider is in-network. You also can email email@example.com if you have specific questions. It’s important to note that the current plans, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums and copays are all remaining the same.
- We are so fortunate at Baylor for the faithful support of friends who may not be alumni in the traditional sense but who let their lights shine with love for the Green & Gold and support of the University’s mission. Last Saturday, it was such a joy to celebrate the newest class of Baylor Alumni By Choice and welcome them – officially – as members of the Baylor Family.
I look forward to seeing you this weekend at the Juneteenth Parade and the many other events throughout our community. With temperatures expected to be above 100, remember to keep cool and stay hydrated!
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Congratulations to our newest class of Baylor Alumni by Choice, who officially joined the Baylor Family during a special campus celebration on June 11.