Presidential Perspective - August 4, 2022
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
You may have seen the exciting news from earlier this week that Baylor University has been recognized as one of the nation’s top-10 Most Trusted Universities, according to global research firm Morning Consult. We are the only university included from the southern region of the United States and join the likes of Notre Dame, MIT, Stanford, Yale and Harvard. Additionally, Baylor was ranked No. 2 among Morning Consult’s Most Trusted Universities by parents.
Such recognition is certainly a testament to the campus-wide efforts of our dedicated faculty and staff who live and promote Baylor’s Christian mission every day as well as the overall Baylor Family who serve as our brand ambassadors across the country. We have made tremendous advances as an institution over the past five-plus years, including our recent recognition as a Research 1 university and unparalleled success in so many areas across the campus.
A few updates for this week:
- Since late spring 2019, we have all contended daily with I-35 construction on a six-mile stretch through Waco, but today, I have some really good news to share! As of this morning, TxDOT has fully opened the northbound mainlanes to their final four-lane configuration through Waco, and they expect to have the southbound mainlanes fully opened in the coming weeks. We also expect that 4th and 5th Streets and Dutton Avenue will be open by the start of classes. All of this is worth celebrating, but there is still work to do on side streets, sidewalks and ADA pedestrian signals and frontage roads – all of which lend to continued cautious driving, walking and biking while around those areas.
- Family Weekend is set for Sept. 16-17, and it’s not too early to begin making plans – even before the fall semester begins. Tickets are available now for the Meet the Faculty Luncheon at the Baylor Club, After Dark (the annual student variety show) and Taste of Waco, a Friday night food truck festival on campus. Other Family Weekend highlights include a special Dr Pepper Hour, a silent disco in the SUB, a scavenger hunt, an on-campus worship service on Friday and a Family Tailgate before Saturday’s Baylor-Texas State football game. Check out the full slate of weekend events for details and ticket information.
- We’ve all heard a lot in the news lately about monkeypox. It’s important to note that monkeypox is much different than COVID-19 in that it is much harder to contract via casual conversation or in a classroom setting. In fact, health experts say the risk of exposure to monkeypox is currently low; however, our health and Student Life teams are meeting and monitoring the situation closely along with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District. Our health center has shared information about monkeypox on its website. We will communicate more information with you as the semester approaches, if warranted.
- Kendall Scarlett, a doctoral candidate in environmental science, has been named a finalist for the 2023 class of the Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program, announced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Sea Grant. Nominated by the Texas Sea Grant program, Scarlett earned the premier marine policy fellowship that places early career individuals in legislative or executive branch offices in Washington, D.C., offering both educational and professional experiences. It’s another real-world example of Baylor having a seat at the table in developing solutions to real-world challenges.
- Thank you for all the notes of encouragement upon my appointment this week as chair of the newly constituted NCAA Board of Governors. It is such an honor and privilege to represent Baylor and the Big 12 Conference as well as our student-athletics at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics oversight. The challenges facing the NCAA are indeed great as we lean into the opportunity to shape the Association and successfully navigate the transformation taking place across all divisions.
STILL praying for some rain in Waco!
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Thanks to funding from the Class of 2022’s Senior Class Gift and Student Government, Pat Neff Hall’s lights will shine brighter than ever before! The lights illuminating the iconic dome have been upgraded with LED fixtures and a system that is simpler to activate – for Baylor wins, of course! – and more ecologically friendly.