Presidential Perspective - January 12, 2023
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
Greetings from the River Walk in San Antonio, where I am participating in the annual NCAA Convention this week. As Chair of the NCAA Board of Governors, this afternoon I will give the keynote address to the membership regarding the many challenges – and opportunities – facing intercollegiate athletics, as well as officially introduce incoming NCAA President Charlie Baker, former governor of Massachusetts.
I am anxiously looking forward to returning to Waco and to welcome all of our students and faculty back to campus for the start of the spring semester. I hope you will drop by Allbritton House on Tuesday beginning at 1:30 p.m. to share some FREE Pop’s Lemonade with me!
Some campus updates for this week:
- It’s such a privilege today to announce the recipients of the 2023 Baylor Alumni Awards, honoring individuals who embody the distinctive mission of the University and their remarkable achievements. This year’s Baylor Alumni Awards recipients are:
- Baylor Alumnus of the Year: Maj. Gen. Joel Carey, B.A. ’92;
- Young Alumna of the Year: Richa Sirohi, B.S. ’18;
- Pro Ecclesia Medal of Service: David Hardage, B.A. ’79, D.Min.;
- Pro Texana Medal of Service: Alan, B.A. ’92, M.D., and Vicki (Hicks), B.A. ’92, Keister;
- W.R. White Meritorious Service Award: Allison Dickson, J.D. ’07;
- Distinguished Achievement Award: John Cheng, B.A. ’91, M.D. (posthumous); and
- Merrie Beckham Alumni By Choice of the Year: Marie Chiles.
- As we prepare to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service this Monday, the Baylor and Waco communities are joining together for several in-person and online events and service opportunities throughout the week. You can find the full list of campus and community events that honor the life and the legacy of Dr. King, beginning tomorrow at noon with the 36th Annual Wreath Laying Ceremony at Waco’s MLK Memorial Park. Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” In answer to this call, our Office of Missions, Service and Public Life will hold a weeklong service opportunity as we collect requested items to create survivor care kits for Unbound Now Waco, which supports survivors and resources in the community to fight human trafficking.
- Last week when celebrating senior University Scholar Lauren Jarvis’s Marshall Scholarship, I mentioned staying tuned for more good news about our students winning some of the most prestigious national and international scholarships. Turns out that good news came quickly! We are thrilled for senior pre-med cell/molecular biology major Arvind Muruganantham, one of only 16 recipients of the Churchill Scholarship in science, mathematics and engineering for graduate study at Cambridge in the U.K. Arvind is an unprecedented third consecutive Churchill Scholar for Baylor in only three years of our participation as a nominating institution. As for the universities who have had students win both a Marshall and a Churchill this year, you will find only four: Princeton, Penn, Caltech and Baylor. Excellent company indeed! I also wanted to note that Arvind is a stellar undergraduate researcher in the cancer biology lab of Joseph Taube, Ph.D., which highlights one of the transformational educational experiences offered at Baylor.
- Speaking of undergraduate research, Allie North, a sophomore Science Research Fellow, has taken a lead role in some fascinating NASA-funded geoscience research on the Moon’s “weird” volcanoes. Working with planetary geophysicist Peter James, Ph.D., and our Planetary Research Group, Allie and the team will analyze the bulk density of five different volcanic areas around the Moon, including the mysterious Gruithuisen Domes – information that is vital to future human space explorations. Allie will present her research at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.
- Baylor recently received an important designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The CAE-CD program addresses the critical shortage of professionals with cybersecurity skills and highlights the importance of higher education as a solution to defending America’s cyberspace. Cyber faculty in our School of Engineering and Computer Science worked through an in-depth application process and assessment of our institutional resources and commitment, from our cybersecurity degrees and concentrations to facilities and capabilities as part of Baylor’s Cybersecurity Research and Education Initiative.
I encourage you to read more about these incredible members of the Baylor Family whose far-reaching impact of our mission – to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service – provides meaningful examples of how Baylor’s unique experience as a Christian research university transforms lives and helps students find and follow their callings. We will celebrate this year’s recipients on campus Feb. 24.
I look forward to seeing everyone on campus next week!
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
If you see these little robots traveling across campus, they are part of a new food delivery service partnership between Baylor Dining, Grubhub and Starship Technologies. Students, faculty and staff can use the Grubhub app (iOS and Android) to order food and drinks from seven campus eateries: Panda Express, Steak ’n Shake, two Starbucks locations, Which Wich, Moe’s and Rising Roll. Then Starship’s fleet of 20 autonomous, on-demand robots take it from there, delivering the order anywhere on campus, within minutes. The service also works in conjunction with a student meal plan and Dining Dollars.