Presidential Perspective - July 28, 2022
Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:
Greetings from San Antonio, where we are celebrating Baylor Board of Regents Days as declared by an official city proclamation. This week is the quarterly meeting of the Board, as we welcome several new Regents for their first official meeting and look toward the start of the fall semester. Yesterday we had a wonderful breakfast with San Antonio-area members of the Baylor Family hosted by Regent Manny Ruiz at First Baptist Church, then I had the opportunity to tour Truett Seminary’s San Antonio location at Trinity Baptist Church. I enjoyed visiting with the Truett students, faculty and supporters, and seeing how the Baylor Family is flinging their green and gold in the nation’s seventh largest city.
A few updates for this week:
- In the coming weeks, I look forward to welcoming new faculty members drawn to Baylor because of our Christian mission and the opportunity to teach and engage in top-tier research and scholarship at an R1 university. We’re thrilled to have incredible scholars join us, such as longtime University of Alabama researchers J. Brian Jordon, Ph.D., who will serve as the inaugural Kenneth and Celia Carlile Endowed Chair in Materials Science, and Paul Allison, Ph.D., as professor of mechanical engineering. Along with his colleague Dr. Allison, nine students and a research engineer, Dr. Jordon brings to Baylor his highly regarded research lab, where he established a national reputation for advanced materials research and partnerships with NASA, the Department of Energy, Department of Defense and various national and international industries. On his visit to Baylor, Dr. Jordon was impressed by our compelling research initiative in materials science, our research facilities like the BRIC and, as a believer, joining a university with a core Christian mission.
- Anthropological archaeologist Julie Hoggarth, Ph.D. joined a team of researchers across the disciplines and around the world for a fascinating and innovative study published last week in Nature Communications. This study combines history with archaeological science – the area of Dr. Hoggarth’s expertise – to suggest that prolonged drought combined with existing social tensions ultimately led to the collapse of Mayapan, the ancient capital of the Maya in the Yucatán Peninsula, during the 13th and 14th centuries. The researchers conclude that these human responses to drought were complex and serve as an important example for navigating the correlation between weather conditions and social structure.
- Last Sunday, the First Gent and I enjoyed celebrating with 59 Orientation + Baylor Line Camp leaders at their awards dinner, which concluded their work over the summer. These students demonstrated extraordinary perseverance, day after day, in the blazing Texas heat, always bringing their “A” game, smiles and enthusiasm for our newest Baylor Bears and their families. This is the most significant transition of incoming students’ lives so far, and I’ve heard story after story from parents and students about how formative and fun their time at Line Camp was. Thank you again for being outstanding ambassadors and for making our incoming students feel like they belong at Baylor.
Praying for some rain in Waco!
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
In Spring 1995, the late Baylor Master Teacher James Vardaman, Ph.D., and his wife, Betsy Vardaman, former associate dean in the College of Arts & Sciences, began the Baylor in Maastricht study abroad program. On the last day of their trip, the Vardamans and their students planted a red oak tree in Maastricht to commemorate the new relationship between Baylor and the City of Maastricht. Twenty-seven years later, the Baylor in Maastricht program is still thriving and the tree is still growing, reported Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D., a few weeks ago.