Presidential Perspective - May 4, 2023

May 4, 2023

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

I hope you will join me tomorrow at 11 a.m. in the Paul Powell Chapel at Truett Seminary for “Lift Up Your Hearts,” a semester-ending service of prayer and worship not only for faculty and staff, but also for students and friends of the University. Various members of the Baylor community will lead in worship, and I will offer a sermon on soul rest. I am looking forward to this special time together as the Baylor Family!

Some campus updates for this week:

  • HURD CENTER CONCERT: I have some exciting news to share with students as we look to the grand opening celebration of the Mark & Paula Hurd Welcome Center on Friday, Sept. 8. That evening, we will host an outdoor street festival with local food trucks and a headlining concert by rising country music superstar Bailey Zimmerman. His 2022 singles “Fall in Love” and “Rock and a Hard Place” both reached No. 1 on the Billboard country music charts, and he recently released his debut album, Religiously. The Album. Zimmerman is up for New Male Artist of the Year next Thursday night at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Frisco, Texas. We’ll have more to share about the Hurd Center opening and celebration in the weeks and months ahead.

  • STRATEGIC PLANNING STARTS: Our Strategic Planning Group (SPG) met for the first time yesterday to begin establishing a roadmap for their work. The first priority was outlining the process by which to collect input from across the University that will help identify key themes and inform the development of our next strategic plan. Over the coming months, they will share efforts for campuswide listening sessions this fall and an online survey that will give anyone who wishes to participate an opportunity to provide their thoughts. This is a great group of faculty, staff and students who understand that being a part of the SPG requires they think outside of their individual schools/colleges/divisions and broadly about the future of Baylor.

  • TWO ENDOWED CHAIRS: Through the Give Light Campaign, transformational gifts from the Baylor Family have established 43 endowed faculty positions, including 37 endowed chairs.
    • Earlier today, we announced a $1.5 million gift from Charlie and Cindy Fuller of Woodway, Texas, and their family, establishing an endowed faculty chair position in the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. With additional support from the Illuminate Matching Chair program, The Fuller Family Endowed Chair for Social Justice will attract a distinguished Christian scholar to lead innovative research and teaching that heeds the gospel call to care for marginalized populations while supporting churches through social work research.
    • In the Honors College, Alan Jacobs, Ph.D., has been appointed the inaugural Jim and Sharon Harrod Endowed Chair of Christian Thought. As the Harrod Chair, Dr. Jacobs will elevate Christian thought across disciplines, support exceptional scholarship and learning within the Honors College and further position Baylor as a national leader on the intersection of faith and learning in higher education.

  • MABEE CHALLENGE GRANT: Also in the Honors College, Baylor has received a $1.5 million challenge grant from the J.E. & L.E. Mabee Foundation of Midland, Texas, providing significant momentum and support for the renovation and construction of the Honors Residential College. The grant is intended to spark private giving while funding a significant portion of the more than $7 million needed in philanthropic support to complete this capital project funded through the Give Light campaign. We are grateful for the Mabee Foundation’s challenge grant and for the philanthropy they seek to inspire in our Baylor Family through this generous investment.

  • EIGHT IS GREAT: Congratulations to head coach Felecia Mulkey and our National Champion Acrobatics & Tumbling team, who defeated the University of Oregon last weekend to win its eighth-straight NCATA title. Baylor Proud put this accomplishment into some amazing perspective: Since 2015, A&T is 87-2 overall, while a Baylor Bear has been named national A&T athlete of the year seven times over that span. But the icing on the cake? Two of A&T’s signature moves – the Ring and the Pencil – were highlighted on ESPN’s SportsCenter!

Be sure to get plenty of rest, food and water during finals week, and May the Fourth be with you!

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.


Photo of the Week - 4May23

Thanks to students for helping celebrate Judge Lady’s upcoming graduation alongside the Class of 2023 next week. We hope to share some exciting news about the future of Baylor’s Bear Program in the weeks ahead.