Presidential Perspective - August 17, 2023

August 17, 2023

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

Now that Move2BU is complete, you can feel the excitement and enthusiasm building on campus as #BU27 begins their Baylor journey and our continuing students return for the fall semester. It truly is the best time of the year!

The First Gent and I enjoyed our seventh year helping with move-in and meeting so many new students and their families. I am happy to report that my new knees worked! A special thank you to our nearly 3,000 student, faculty, staff and local church volunteers. What a Baylor welcome they provided and what a gift they gave! New students and their families are experiencing a major life transition, but when we remove the burden of carrying those boxes and belongings, we lessen the stress and ensure that their first Baylor experience is one in which they feel welcomed, loved and cared for.

It's also exciting to see the return of Collins Hall – now renovated and ready to continue its long legacy as home for generations of first-year women at Baylor. Collins residents will experience a new main entrance on 7th Street, an expanded lobby and more community and study space, as well as a new classroom, seminar room, fitness room and shared kitchen. There are still some finishing touches being added, but I am excited for the next chapter of Collins Hall!

Some updates to kick off the fall …

  • WELCOME WEEK PREVIEW: On Friday afternoon, we have a special opportunity for Welcome Week participants to visit the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center. We hope you will join your group at the designated time to enjoy the four experience columns in Carlton Hall, grab a free sample of Peet’s cold brew from Varsity Coffee and Soda, visit the Spirit Shop and more. Many of you saw the Hurd Center under construction during your time as prospective students, and we want you to be among the first to enjoy all this beautiful facility offers the entire campus community. 

  • HOWDY AT THE HURD: Students - As we prepare to officially dedicate the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center, don’t forget we have something special planned just for you. Friday, Sept. 8, is HOWDY at the Hurd, presented by Pi Beta Phi and Baylor University. This collaboration expands on the longstanding Pi Beta Phi Welcome Week tradition for first-year students, and this year’s event will feature free food trucks, line dancing, a ferris wheel and more. It all culminates with a free concert featuring country music star Bailey Zimmerman and a spectacular drone show over campus. The festivities start at 7 p.m. on the Hurd Center lawn!

  • HUMAN FLOURISHING: The Global Flourishing Study – the largest funded research project in Baylor history at $43.4 million – released its first wave of data this week. The study, co-directed by Byron Johnson, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor, is a first-of-its-kind endeavor to uncover the factors that influence human flourishing. The initial data is just a start for the project, which will survey more than 200,000 people in 22 countries every year for five years. The data is of interest to researchers in higher education, religion, public policy and more and is available through the Center for Open Science. We’re thrilled to see this research, which will impact understanding of human flourishing for decades to come.

  • HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE: We may have had a mid-week break in the Texas heat, but don’t let that fool you. Our area continues to be under an excessive heat warning with temperatures expected to be well over 100 degrees for the next few weeks. Remember to stay hydrated and keep cool, especially if you are from cooler climates. Our Baylor Health Center doctors shared these simple tips: Drink water before you feel thirsty, take breaks and cool off in the air conditioning. As the First Gent and I helped with Move2BU, I was pleased to see so many water bottles and students taking steps to keep cool. Take those precautions because heat exhaustion and heat stroke can come on quickly. Stay cool, Bears!

  • PRAYERS FOR MAUI: The devastation from the deadly wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui is truly heartbreaking. As we return to campus, Baylor Spiritual Life and the Baylor Hawaii Club will host a prayer gathering Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 4 p.m. in Elliston Chapel. We will lift up the people, families and communities on Maui and provide opportunities for how you can support relief efforts.

For our new students, don’t forget Academic Convocation tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Ferrell Center, as well as the opportunity to visit with local churches and faith communities on Saturday at 10 a.m. outside of the SUB on the Vara Martin Daniel Plaza.

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.


New faculty members doing the sic 'em

Baylor welcomed nearly 130 new full-time faculty to orientation earlier this week at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC). One of the most diverse cohorts in University history, we are excited to get to know this new group of scholars.