Presidential Perspective - May 18, 2023

May 18, 2023

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

Campus sure is a little quieter this week! We’re in the midst of Baylor’s quarterly Board of Regents meeting, so I will get right to a few updates:

  • ALUMNI “BEAR” CHOICE: Those of you who attended last weekend’s Commencement ceremonies already had a chance to see this, but I wanted to share a special video that celebrates the graduation of our beloved American black bear, Lady, to whom I had the pleasure of presenting with a special diploma – an “Alumni BEAR choice” decree! As you may know, 21-year-old Lady is preparing for a permanent move to her private auxiliary facility this summer, and many of you have shared with me some sadness at the prospect of visiting campus in the next few weeks or months to see an empty space at the beautiful Bill & Eva Williams Bear Habitat. We will have some exciting news to share next week that will brighten those summer plans, and I think you will want to include a stop by the Bear Habitat in the near future – stay tuned!

  • SEARCH COMMITTEES FORMED: We have compiled search committees to identify Christian mission-focused, experienced professionals to serve as Baylor’s next Vice President for Business and Finance and Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Advancement. Co-chairing the first search will be Lee Nordt, Ph.D. (Dean), and Robyn Driskell, Ph.D. (President’s Council), with membership to include Cody Hall (athletics), Sandra Lené (advancement), Mark McCollum (former Regent and alumnus), Dave Morehead (investments) and Ryan Reid (research). For the Vice President for Advancement search, Cheryl Gochis (President’s Council) will serve as chair, working alongside Kevin Jackson, Ph.D. (President’s Council), Jovan Overshown (athletics), Sarah Schnitker, Ph.D. (faculty), David Slover (former Regent and alumnus) and Todd Still, Ph.D. (Dean).

  • MORNING LARK OR NIGHT OWL: I'm always interested in new research out of Baylor’s Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Lab, especially as it relates to students and their health and well-being. Sleep researcher Michael K. Scullin, Ph.D., doctoral candidate Blake Barley and their research team studied college students and their chronotype – the body’s need for sleep at a certain time, which is generally thought to be unchangeable – and the factors and behavioral choices that play a role in sleep problems. Being a night owl rather than a morning lark can be a detriment to sleep health, alertness in class and academic success. However, the research found that engaging in healthier daytime behaviors can lead to better sleep, which then feeds back into better daytime life. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation.

  • POSTSEASON PLAY: Although the spring semester is over, many Baylor student-athletes are still competing at the highest levels. Softball is making its 15th NCAA Regional appearance as the No. 2 seed in the Salt Lake City Regional. The Bears open play tomorrow at noon vs. Ole Miss. Both the Women’s and Men’s Golf teams have advanced from Regionals to the NCAA Championships, which are this week and next in Scottsdale, Ariz. while our Track and Field teams, coming off a big weekend at the Big 12 Championships, now await to see who qualifies for the NCAA first round next week in Sacramento, Calif. Also, Baseball will honor its seniors during a final three-day homestand beginning tonight at 6:30 p.m. vs. Cal State Bakersfield at Baylor Ballpark. Sic ’em, Bears!

  • MARK YOUR CALENDARS: The anticipation is growing as we enter the summer months and prepare to open the Mark & Paula Hurd Welcome Center, an exciting new front door to the University. Students: Mark your calendars for Friday, Sept. 8, for the Hurd Welcome Center’s official grand opening, featuring an outdoor street festival, food trucks and a concert by rising country music superstar Bailey Zimmerman. Be on the lookout over the summer for updates as we introduce this dynamic new facility!

As customary, we will provide a summary of the Board of Regents meeting late Friday. I hope everyone’s summer is off to a good start!

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.


Photo of the Week - 18May23

Yesterday I happened across this photo posted on Twitter by Rick Files Photography featuring the beautiful “Old Baylor” rose. According to the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas, “Old Baylor” was bred near the restored ruins of the original site of Baylor University in Independence, Texas.