Presidential Perspective - July 23, 2020

July 23, 2020

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

Be sure to check your mailboxes as we get closer to the fall semester. In the weeks ahead, we will start mailing mandatory COVID-19 test kits to all students, faculty and staff. We ask that you follow the instructions included in these test kits very carefully, as Baylor will require a negative COVID-19 test prior to your return to campus for the fall semester. We will send more information about this testing protocol to you via email next week. These tests are one of the many preventive strategies we’re implementing for a successful on-campus start and completion of the fall semester.

One of the most common questions I’ve been asked as of late: “What can I do to help the University?” We want to remind students that if you undertake risky behavior, such as not wearing face coverings and gathering in large groups, it will potentially impact your fall semester —for yourselves and possibly also for others. So let’s all join together over the next several weeks, as the Baylor Family, to wear masks, practice social distancing, frequently wash our hands – while singing “That Good Old Baylor Line,” of course – and avoid large groups and gatherings.

Some additional news to share for this week ...

  • Joy and Lady, our beloved black bears, continue to be well taken care of over the summer thanks to the great work of their student caretakers in the Baylor Chamber of Commerce’s Baylor Bear Program. Those caretakers get to know Joy and Lady better than anyone. On this week’s Baylor Connections, Dakota Farquhar-Caddell, The Robert Reid Director of the Baylor Chamber of Commerce, and rising senior Bailey Havis, one of two lead student caretakers, share some insider’s knowledge with us – from Joy and Lady’s favorite foods to their personalities, as well as a look at Lady’s recovery from a recent health scare. Baylor Connections airs tomorrow at 11 am on KWBU-FM 103.3 and will be available online and via Apple podcast.
  • Last week, Baylor School of Music posted a video of a beautiful performance featuring Associate Professor of Violin Patricia Shih with Nikito Pogrebnoy of the Waco Symphony Orchestra. Shih is a virtuoso violinist who joined the Baylor faculty last year after heeding the call to teach as well as perform. She has a unique, maybe even providential, Baylor connection that played a role in her arrival in Waco. At the age of 14, she was already training with the world’s best teachers. While under the mentorship of Indiana University Violin Professor Josef Gingold, considered one of the 20th century’s most influential violinists, she noticed a plaque on his wall from Baylor. He had won the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching in 1993, and raved about his Baylor experience to Shih. Years later, as her desire to teach took shape, she saw an opening at Baylor. We’re thankful to have Professor Shih here and look forward to the days we can once again enjoy her performances in person.
  • As Baylor walks through the process of acknowledging our historical connections to slavery and planning for our future, it’s an opportunity for all of us to engage in self-reflection and education regarding issues of race. I encourage you to take some time to read through these 5 Tips to Cultivate Cultural Humility and Antiracism shared by Kerri Fisher, LCSW, lecturer in our Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. Professor Fisher is chair of the Garland School of Social Work’s diversity initiative and has a passion for teaching in the areas of diversity, inclusion and anti-oppressive practices.

As the countdown to Aug. 24 continues, please pay close attention to all communications from the University. Our plans are rapidly evolving based on the latest COVID-19 developments as we continue to prepare helpful measures for your health and well-being this fall.

Praying for you daily,

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.