Presidential Perspective - July 21, 2022
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
With the record-breaking temperatures and drought conditions in the Waco area, many of you have asked how the Baylor campus is being impacted. I want to assure everyone that the University is complying – with a few approved exceptions – with the restrictions outlined by the City of Waco.
By limiting runtimes and optimizing systems, we’ve been able to reduce our irrigation water usage by an estimated 60%. On the electricity front, our Facilities group is centrally controlling temperature settings in buildings to enhance energy conservation, while also adjusting air intakes and closely monitoring lights and equipment in unoccupied spaces.
You may notice a brown and wilting landscape in the weeks ahead, but Baylor is doing its part to be a good neighbor and conserve our precious natural resources during this time of great need.
A few updates for this week:
- My heart continues to ache with the loss of Joy, one of our beloved American black bears, earlier this week. The outpouring of love and support from the Baylor Family – and even from mascots across the country – has been so moving. Please remember to keep our student bear handlers, staff and Lady in your prayers as they all grieve Joy’s passing. If you haven’t read Joy’s obituary yet, I encourage you to do so, as it describes the indelible impact she made on our campus over two decades.
- Baylor’s Give Light philanthropic campaign has raised $1.21 billion from more than 85,600 alumni, parents and friends, supporting the University’s priorities through the Illuminate strategic plan. Today, the University announced a $1.5 million gift from Tim and Sharalynn Fenn of Houston, establishing an endowed faculty chair position to attract, retain and support a visionary Christian leader who is focused on the growth and development of Materials Science and its associated fields. The Tim and Sharalynn Fenn Family Endowed Chair in Materials Science qualifies for matching support through Give Light’s Illuminate Chair Matching Program. The Fenns are dedicated alumni and proud Baylor parents who have quietly and steadfastly supported Christian higher education in a transformational way here at Baylor, and we are excited for the opportunities this chair will create for our faculty and our students.
- One of the highlights of Orientation each summer is having our current students engage with incoming students and their families. I just had to share a new video with you that features four Baylor students having an unscripted conversation about their college experience. I hope you are as proud and as impressed as I was while watching. Baylor truly is a special place, marked by our Christian mission, incredible faculty and staff, and a wonderful family environment. Thank you for providing the support network that helps our students thrive.
- Another way our students continue to impress is through the combination of their academics and community outreach efforts. As part of a capstone project, senior mechanical engineering students collaborated with TSTC welding and automotive restoration students to design and build the Swings4Smiles Wheelchair Swing, which was installed today in a community park in Axtell, just 15 miles northeast of campus. Baylor mechanical engineering students have worked on similar projects in the past, but this endeavor was unique in that it was much bigger in scope and production. Both Baylor and TSTC students worked under the direction of faculty from both institutions, providing valuable “real world” experience through the initial proposal, design, execution and installation of the swing.
- As I’ve written previously, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark federal legislation that has promoted gender equity in intercollegiate athletics and much more. Last week I participated in a panel discussion, “Title IX: Celebrating 50 Years and Preparing for the Future,” that was sponsored by the American Council of Education, an important higher education organization for which I serve as vice-chair. I thought you might be interested in learning more through this webinar, particularly how Title IX has removed barriers for more women to earn bachelor’s degrees and pursue opportunities in STEM fields.
The fall semester is right around the corner!
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
The morning summer sun gave Folmar Pavilion an illuminating glow earlier this week. This is one of the most beautiful and peaceful spaces on the Baylor campus.