Presidential Perspective - July 9, 2020

July 9, 2020

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

Starting off with some good news this week: You may recall that in December, one of our beloved black bears, Lady, underwent a first-of-its-kind treatment, called Tomotherapy, for a thymoma in her chest. Last month, Lady underwent a check-up from her veterinary team who came to visit her in Waco. The team took images of Lady’s chest and have reported that the Tomotherapy treatment is successfully managing the size of the mass – it has not grown. They further reported that it should not cause Lady any discomfort or health concerns. We are grateful to the dedicated veterinary staff here locally and at Texas A&M and to our Baylor Chamber of Commerce members who care for Joy and Lady so well.

Some additional news to share for this week ...

  • I want our international students to know you are beloved and valued members of the Baylor Family. Your contributions and experiences are integral to our campus community and benefit each of us. The recent ruling that international students may have to leave the country or transfer if their school is forced online this fall due to COVID-19 was a surprise and a shock to us, and we have been working to seek clarity regarding this federal order. While we seek this clarity, we continue to prepare for a rich on-campus experience for our students this fall while also planning for maximum flexibility. We understand this is a confusing time for our international students, and we know you have many questions. Our Center for Global Engagement is available to answer your questions and help in any way. I encourage you to review these answers to frequently asked questions and keep checking your email for ongoing updates.
  • We sent an email to students and parents yesterday addressing the top-10 most frequently asked questions about the fall semester. I encourage you to check your inbox and review this important information, with the understanding that our fall plans in response to COVID-19 will become more definitive in the weeks ahead. Be sure to mark your calendars for this Tuesday, July 14, at noon CT as I will host a Facebook Live session with Vice President for Student Life Kevin Jackson. We will discuss our current outlook related to Move-In, housing, student activities and more for the fall semester.
  • A number of our faculty are conducting vital COVID-19 research, from innovative therapeutics to water testing to ventilation support systems. With funding from local foundations, faculty from anthropology and computer science have joined the Waco Family Health Center to begin the Waco COVID Survey, a study that supports a community-driven effort to track the expansion of COVID-19 infections in McLennan County. Their findings will help our community understand the potential distribution of the virus, which will help protect those who are most susceptible.
  • It’s always exciting when alumni decide they want to come back and work at Baylor, and we’re grateful that a 2011 Baylor graduate and highly regarded rising cancer researcher is receiving incredible support to do just that. Liela Romero, Ph.D., will join us this fall as an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, thanks to a $2 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), which provides funding for top cancer researchers in Texas. As an undergraduate, Dr. Romero worked in the laboratory of Dr. Kevin Pinney and went on to distinguish herself as an organic chemist and cancer researcher in her postgraduate work. We’re thrilled to welcome Dr. Romero back to her alma mater to teach future Baylor students and conduct high-level research.
  • We will continue our ongoing conversations related to racial healing and justice on Monday, July 13, as our Baylor Alumni Black Alliance and the Baylor Alumni Latino Group will host a virtual event from 6-7:30 p.m. CT. You can also view yesterday’s Baylor Conversation Series event on this topic, which has been posted to my website.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already July. Aug. 24 will be here before we know it – I can’t wait to see all of you. Let’s all do our part in preparing for the fall semester by social distancing, wearing face coverings, washing hands and avoiding large gatherings.

Praying for you daily,

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.