Presidential Perspective - November 30, 2023

November 30, 2023

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

As the Baylor Family collectively reflects on the coming of Christ in the season of Advent, we also enjoy celebrating Christmas with our students before they prepare for finals and look toward the semester break. Today’s forecast for inclement weather will not deter us from enjoying our annual celebration, but it has required us to move Christmas on 5th Street to Monday, Dec. 4, with events starting at 5 p.m. on Fountain Mall. I hope you’ll make plans to enjoy the festivities Monday night that will culminate with the traditional KOT Christmas Tree Lighting, a concert featuring RELIC and a spectacular Christmas-themed drone show. Visit the Christmas on 5th website for an updated schedule of events. 

Then next Wednesday, the First Gent will be passing out 500 FREE breakfast tacos to prepare studiers for finals, something that has become an annual Livingstone tradition. Be sure to stop by Moody Memorial Library beginning at 6 p.m. Dec. 6, while supplies last. 

Some updates for this week:

We will celebrate these remarkable Baylor Alumni – and share their stories of impact and contributions to Baylor and society – on campus Feb. 23, 2024.

  • ALUMNI AWARD HONOREES: I am pleased to announce the 2024 Baylor Alumni Award honorees, who stand as examples of how our mission – to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service – is lived out among our alumni every day. This year’s Baylor Alumni Award honorees are:
    • Alumnus of the Year: David Wills, B.B.A. ’85, J.D. ’88, of Waco, co-founder of Generous Giving and TrustBridge Global Foundation and president emeritus of the National Christian Foundation; 
    • Young Alumna of the Year: Jessica Beachum, B.A. ’11, of Phoenix, Arizona, co-founder of the Beachum Charitable Fund and co-curator of the Jessica and Kelvin Beachum Collection;
    • Pro Ecclesia Medal of Service: Jimmy, B.A. ’72, M.A. ’93, and Janet Dorrell, B.S. ’80, M.S. ’02, of Waco, co-founders of Mission Waco: Mission World; 
    • Pro Texana Medal of Service: Gabrielle “Gabe” Madison, B.B.A. ’00, of Dallas, president of Bonton Farms; and
    • Distinguished Achievement Award: Awarded posthumously to Gil Stricklin, B.A. ’57, of Dallas, founder of Marketplace Ministries/Marketplace Chaplains.

    We will celebrate these remarkable Baylor Alumni – and share their stories of impact and contributions to Baylor and society – on campus Feb. 23, 2024.

  • WACO WONDERLAND: I am honored to call Waco my home and proud that Baylor is part of the greater Waco community. We live in a thriving city that offers a wonderful place to live, work, study… and celebrate the Christmas holidays! This weekend, Downtown Waco is kicking off the Christmas season with the 11th annual Waco Wonderland Festival at Heritage Square. There are many attractions to enjoy, including the Mistletoe Market, The Santa House, a snow tube hill, food trucks, a tree-lighting ceremony, and more. Admission to Waco Wonderland is free, but you can purchase a $10 wristband at the event or online for unlimited rides on the Ferris wheel, snow tube hill, kiddie snow hill and trackless train.  

  • LIFT UP YOUR HEARTS: As we bring the fall semester to a close, I hope you will join together as a Baylor Family and attend the Lift Up Your Hearts prayer and worship service next Thursday, Dec. 7, at 11 a.m. in Powell Chapel at Truett Seminary. The Lift Up Your Hearts service is led by various members of the Baylor community, with the message to be given by Stephen Newby, D.M.A., The Lev H. Prichard III Endowed Chair in the Study of Black Worship and professor of music. Faculty and staff, you can register here in advance for a complimentary luncheon following the service in the Piper Great Hall. 

  • WORSHIP AS ONE: The Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities, led by Erik Carter, Ph.D., The Luther Sweet Endowed Chair in Disabilities, will join With Ministries on a new project to advance accessible worship for children with disabilities. Worship as One: Learning with Children with Disabilities about Worship and Prayer will invite, equip and support churches and families to re-envision the ways in which children with developmental disabilities participate in worship and prayer, both on and between Sundays. The project is supported by a $300,000 grant to With Ministries from Lilly Endowment Inc., as part of its national initiative to support faith-based organizations as they help children grow in faith and deepen their relationships with God. 

  • RESILIENCE RESEARCH: Supported by a $3.37 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Annie T. Ginty, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience who leads the Baylor Behavioral Medicine Lab, will be partnering with Montana State University-Bozeman and Blackfeet Community College in Browning, Montana, to explore how the resiliency of the Blackfeet American Indian community could mitigate the health effects related to historical and childhood trauma. The research builds on pilot work by the two Montana institutions and will further examine the protective role of social connectedness in the Blackfeet community.  

  • SUPPORT UNITED WAY: As we enter the Christmas season, I’m reminded of how blessed we are to live in Waco and work with the United Way of Waco. United Way’s work blesses and supports dozens of nonprofits impacting the local community each year. Please consider joining me in contributing financially to our workplace campaign that wraps up this week. Learn more at

  • LIVE AND WORK WELL: Eligible Baylor faculty and staff and their household family have access to our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for support throughout many facets of life. Beginning tomorrow, Dec. 1, Baylor will transition to Optum Health’s Live and Work Well program, which offers easy access to confidential resources 24 hours a day for counseling services, childcare and elder care referrals, financial and legal advice and more – all at no cost to you. We are excited to partner with Optum Health on this benefit. To learn more, call 866-248-4096 or log on to, access code: Bears.  

I can’t wait to celebrate Christmas on 5th with everyone on MONDAY!

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.


Robbins College Occupational Therapy

Students in the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences hybrid Doctor of Occupational Therapy program live and learn from their homes across the country. This month, they were back in Waco for their final in-person lab immersion of the year.