Presidential Perspective - October 21, 2021

October 21, 2021

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

What a great Homecoming we had last week! It was so good to celebrate “everything Baylor” with all of you, along with our friends, alumni and Wacoans. From the fall-like weather to Bonfire and Saturday’s parade to the win over BYU – as well as everything in between – Homecoming 2021 will certainly go down as one of the best ever. Thank you for being a part of the Baylor Family and for your contributions in flinging our green and gold afar.

Some updates for this week:

  • We are thrilled to welcome Henry Han, Ph.D., to Baylor as the inaugural holder of The McCollum Family Chair in Data Sciences, the first endowed faculty chair established within our School of Engineering & Computer Science. Dr. Han is an international leader in the data sciences discipline and joined us this fall from Fordham University. His expertise impacts a variety of fields, including healthcare, business, finance, cybersecurity and more, and we look forward to his innovative and visionary leadership accelerating research and teaching efforts in the data sciences, one of the signature initiatives in our Illuminate strategic plan.
  • Baylor’s Department of Film & Digital Media is celebrating today’s announcement of a $2 million gift from FDM alumnus Matthew B. Lindner (B.A. ’12) to support Baylor in L.A., a new summer residential learning and internship opportunity for students who desire a career in the film and television industry. The Lindner Endowment for Film and Digital Media will allow Baylor to expand its presence to Los Angeles and provide students with an accessible and immersive educational experience on the West Coast, similar to FDM’s well-established Baylor in New York program. These kinds of transformational programs bridge the gap between the academic and professional areas of the industry with internships and connections with Baylor alumni and other collaborators that will help advance students’ careers after graduation.
  • Baylor researchers keep us at the forefront of R1/T1 conversations by leading gap-filling and transformational projects, such as an interdisciplinary and collaborative project with U.S. and European scientists led by biology doctoral candidate Will Matthaeus, professor of biology Joseph White, Ph.D., and post-doctoral researcher Jon Richey. Their study, published last week in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, combined climate modeling with fossil-derived plant trait data from 300 million years ago to simulate global ecosystem processes in the Late Paleozoic Ice Age. The research will lead to improved projections and understanding of past Earth systems as well as aid future climate change models.
  • October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Baylor is taking time to unite and recognize the month, joining national efforts to advocate against domestic violence. This evening, Pat Neff Hall, Rosenbalm Fountain and McLane Stadium will “go purple” — a color representing peace, dignity, survival and honor — in dedication to ending domestic violence and supporting the progress the movement has made. The Baylor Equity, Civil Rights, and Title IX Office offers support and resources for those who have experienced sexual and/or interpersonal misconduct. Contact the Equity, Civil Rights, and Title IX Office for Title IX concerns, violations or resources:
  • October also marks Baylor’s recognition of Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month, which is traditionally celebrated in May throughout the United States. We celebrate the month from Oct. 16 to Nov. 15 each year with events planned by our multicultural organizations so that more students will be on campus to join the festivities. This week kicked off the events with Neighbor Night and two workshops, which were recorded and will soon be made available to view on the Multicultural Affairs website. Many more student organization events will take place in the coming weeks, including AsianFest, KSA’s annual Running Bear event and ISSA’s Charity Gala. Baylor is blessed to have such a diverse campus community, and we are so thankful for every one of our Asian and Pacific American students.

I am looking forward to being in Denver tomorrow night for a special Give Light event as we celebrate groundbreaking academic research and Christian partnerships, as well as nearing the goal of our $1.1 billion philanthropic campaign with the Baylor Family in Colorado. It’s good to be back on the road periodically to tell the Baylor story and expand our University’s impact across the country.


Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.