Presidential Perspective - July 14, 2022
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
It’s great to be back in Waco after some family vacation travel and spending yesterday at the Big 12 Football Media Days to officially introduce new Commissioner Brett Yormark on behalf of the conference’s Board of Directors. As we like to say at Baylor, the Big 12’s future is incredibly bright, and the conference’s 365-day turnaround into a position of strength and stability is truly amazing.
While at AT&T Stadium, I also had the opportunity to listen to Coach Dave Aranda’s opening press conference. I’ve never heard a coach speak more about developing a student-athlete’s “head and heart” above the “X’s and O’s” of the game, but that’s the special person we have leading the Baylor football program. I am so excited about football season and cheering on the defending Big 12 Champions!
A few updates for this week:
- Our University is blessed by the generous alumni, parents, friends and organizations who support our Christian mission and our students through gifts to the Give Light Campaign. Baylor’s momentum continues with another significant fundraising year of more than $172.9 million during FY22, an academic year in which we celebrated surpassing $1.1 billion in overall giving to Give Light in support of the priorities and aspirations of our Illuminate strategic plan. From academic units and divisions surpassing their fundraising goals to the creation of 112 new endowed scholarships and 47 new endowed funds to enhance the Baylor experience and the establishment of three new Illuminate Endowed Chairs and five other endowed chairs and professorships, each success is tied to the incredible support of our Baylor Family. This generosity allows us to meet bold goals to create a bright future for this special institution and our students.
- Two weeks ago, I shared a health update on our beloved bear, Joy, who has been experiencing severe arthritis issues and staying cool inside at the Williams Bear Habitat. I wish I had better news to share, but I wanted to let you know that Joy’s condition has deteriorated since our last update. Recent scans show she has compression within her spine causing limitations on her mobility, and given her age and other health factors such as ongoing arthritis, the prognosis is not good. We continue to hold Joy in our hearts and prayers and know how beloved both she and her sister Lady are to the entire Baylor Family. We will keep you updated, and we are grateful for your support and concern for Joy, as well as for the students, staff and our veterinary team who take such wonderful care of her.
- Baylor has a long, proud history of partnership with the U.S. Army, offering 10 graduate professional health programs. I was excited to hear about a recent promotion to Brigadier General for one of our distinguished Army-Baylor graduates, Deydre S. Teyhen, MPT ’95, DPT ’08, who also makes history as the first Army Medical Specialist Corps general officer. Brig. Gen. Teyhen was lauded by Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command, for her experience and leadership, including as commander of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research during the COVID-19 pandemic. With her promotion, Brig. Gen. Teyhen’s new assignment will be back in Texas as commanding general for Brooke Army Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio.
- Baylor chemist Bryan Shaw, Ph.D., has been awarded a five-year, $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to take dramatic steps to open chemistry classes and labs to students with blindness or low vision. Dr. Shaw and his team are blending robotics and technology with educational materials and “lab hacks” that enable students with blindness to take part in the same roles and routines as their sighted counterparts. A pilot program will begin this fall for 150 high school students at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Austin, who will participate in education and curriculum and train on materials on the school campus and within Shaw’s lab at Baylor. Through this research, Baylor will be the first university to approach the issue of lab accessibility for the blind systemically and the first to apply technologies like lithophanes to scientific education and discovery. We’re excited to see how Dr. Shaw is using his research to serve others and are thrilled to see the NIH’s substantial investment to bring this to fruition.
- As a former basketball student-athlete, it’s never too early to start planning for the upcoming 2022-23 basketball seasons. In fact, fans can get ahead and purchase season tickets for our championship men’s and women’s basketball programs, which is incredibly important as we look toward moving into the Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion for the beginning of Big 12 play in 2024. But don’t wait for another season – let’s fill the Ferrell Center starting this fall! Ticket information can be found here.
Stay cool and hydrated this summer!
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Our more than 3,000 incoming freshman and new transfer students participating in Orientation this summer have had an opportunity to “practice” running the line as part of Baylor Line Camp. I am praying that it will not be 108 degrees for the season opener against Albany on Sept. 3!