Presidential Perspective - January 5, 2023

January 5, 2023

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

It’s been nearly a month since my last weekly Presidential Perspective, and I hope you had a wonderful (and restful!) Christmas break and are ready for all 2023 has in store for Baylor University.

Some campus updates as we return from the holidays:

  • I join Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D., in welcoming Daniel J. Pack, Ph.D., to Baylor as Dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science, beginning June 1. Dr. Pack comes to us from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he has served as Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science since 2015. In addition to his academic leadership, he’s a former Carnegie U.S. Professor of the Year (2005) who has taught and conducted research at the University of Texas at San Antonio and U.S. Air Force Academy. As the Provost noted, Dr. Pack has had a big impact on every department and school he has led, growing both the unit’s research profile and educational opportunities for engineering students. He is fully committed to the University’s Christian mission, and we are thrilled to have him lead ECS at Baylor.

  • As we concluded the fall semester, we received the exciting news that senior University Scholar Lauren Jarvis was selected to receive the prestigious 2023 Marshall Scholarship, becoming Baylor’s sixth Marshall Scholar and third since 2015. The Marshall was established in 1953 as an expression of Britain’s gratitude for the assistance received after World War II under the Marshall Plan. Marshall recipients are evaluated on academic merit and leadership and ambassadorial potential, areas in which Lauren excels. Next year, she will begin graduate studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Exeter, preparing for a life of public service leadership on issues of human flourishing, humanitarian aid and the plight of refugees.

  • Capping off 2022 with the Marshall, we are celebrating a record-shattering year for more than 20 students who attained many of the most prominent national and international scholarships, including the Fulbright, Churchill, Truman, Goldwater, Boren and Critical Language awards. This effort is led by our Office of Engaged Learning, which partners with students in collaboration with faculty and staff throughout the University, to help maximize their scholarship beyond the classroom, including applying and competing for top scholarships, fellowships, internships and research experiences. We anticipate another remarkable calendar year so stay tuned!

  • One of the five signature academic initiatives in Baylor’s Illuminate strategic plan is Materials Science, which places the University at the intersection of technology and Christian stewardship of God’s earth and its resources. A research group led by Caleb D. Martin, Ph.D., associate professor in chemistry, recently synthesized a new state-of-the-art Lewis superacid known as tris(ortho-carboranyl) borane or BoCb3. This process is normally complex and time-consuming, but Dr. Martin’s team created the acid in only a year using only one step. Lewis acids are used in the production of the most common plastics, from plastic bags to coating for cables, steel pipes and automotive parts, so this transformational discovery makes Lewis acids more efficient to produce, safer for the environment and could potentially save billions of dollars in manufacturing costs.

  • As you get ready to return to campus, here are some quick construction updates since you’ve been gone. Work continues on the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center and the renovation of Collins Residence Hall, both of which we expect to be completed this summer. In addition, there’s great progress to report on the Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion, the future home for our championship basketball teams, as crews set precast concrete in the concourse area with roof trusses next on the schedule. We anticipate Foster Pavilion opening in early 2024. On the I-35 front, TxDOT is on track to complete installing traffic lights and crosswalk infrastructure this month at the 4th/5th and 11th/12th intersections, although sidewalk work will continue throughout the spring.

By the time we begin classes on Tuesday, Jan. 17, our nationally ranked men’s and women’s basketball teams will be well into the conference season defending their Big 12 championships. Check the game schedule, and let’s fill the Ferrell in support of our Bears this season!

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.


Photo of the Week - 5Jan23

Lighting up the night is the Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion, a beautiful new basketball facility taking shape on the south bank of the Brazos River alongside I-35.