Presidential Perspective - September 7, 2023

September 7, 2023

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

Tomorrow is a big day on the Baylor campus as we dedicate and officially cut the ribbon for the new Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center, which serves as a beacon of light at the intersection of I-35 and University Parks Drive. As you recall, the Hurd Center has had a “soft open” since Aug. 1 for the campus community to explore this incredible building, and we’ll begin hosting prospective student tours from there beginning this Tuesday.

I hope to see a large crowd of students at HOWDY at the Hurd tomorrow night as we partner with the annual student tradition hosted by Pi Beta Phi with an added concert by country music star Bailey Zimmerman and a 300-unit drone show finale over campus. The HOWDY street festival with free food trucks and other fun activities begins at 7 p.m., followed by line dancing at 8:30 p.m. and the concert at 9:30 p.m. Students, here’s what you need to know: 

  1. Secure a FREE ticket for the concert in advance.
  2. Get your HOWDY T-shirt in the SUB or at the Foster Campus.
  3. Check out the security procedures (including Clear Bags).
  4. Hydrate.
  5. And have FUN!

For parents and other guests coming to Waco this fall, the Hurd Center will be open on home football Saturdays beginning with Family Weekend next week and throughout the season.

Some updates for this week …

  • CENTRAL TEXAS CYBER RANGE: Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing field with an impact that ranges from critical national security infrastructure to the personal accounts of anyone who conducts business online. To address the urgent need for cybersecurity research and training of a qualified workforce, today we officially launched the Central Texas Cyber Range (CTCR) at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC). The CTCR will be at the forefront of this important work as a cyber resilience and security innovation hub, specializing in applied research and education/training. We are deeply grateful for partnership and support of McLennan Community College of Waco in creating the CTCR, and Congressman Pete Sessions, a steadfast advocate who secured Department of Education funding in two congressional appropriations for this critical project. 
  • PRESTIGIOUS HONOR FOR CHEMIST: The American Chemical Society today announced John L. Wood, Ph.D., The Robert A. Welch Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, department chair of chemistry and biochemistry and co-director of the Baylor Synthesis and Drug-Lead Discovery Lab, as recipient of its 2024 Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products. No less than five Nobel Prize laureates have been recognized with this award for outstanding achievements in the analysis, structure elucidation and chemical synthesis of natural products. We are thrilled about this recognition for Dr. Wood, whose research focuses on developing chemical syntheses of naturally occurring molecules that possess medicinal properties – an area of chemistry he finds endlessly inspiring.
  • REMEMBERING 9/11: Beginning at sundown Sunday, the lights of Pat Neff Hall and the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center will be lit red, white and blue as Baylor commemorates the 22ndanniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and remembers the countless lives lost that day and the heroic actions of the nation’s first responders. Other remembrances on Monday include the Army ROTC 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at McLane Stadium from 5:50 a.m. to 7 a.m. and a 9/11 recital presented by University Carilloneur Lynnette Geary at 12:15 p.m. on the McLane Carillon in the Pat Neff tower. As we remember this day, please join me in prayer for our nation. 
  • GIVING BACK TO WACO: The United Way of Waco-McLennan County will soon celebrate 100 years of giving within the local community. Each year Baylor is proud to partner with the United Way and continue supporting their efforts in the Waco-McLennan County area with our yearly workplace campaign, which this year will run through Nov. 17. Find out more about ways to give at our upcoming Fall Staff Meeting Sept. 18 at the Hurd Center or by visiting
  • STAYING CAUGHT UP: With the semester now in full swing, it can be difficult to stay caught up on all the latest happenings, important dates and other news. In addition to Presidential Perspective, which is sent to students, faculty, staff and parents each Thursday, be sure to watch for the following University-level emails: What’s New BU (students, Mondays), Provost’s Newsletter (faculty and staff, monthly on Mondays), BU@Work (faculty and staff, biweekly on Tuesdays) and Baylor News Digest (students, faculty and staff, Wednesdays). 

See you at Betty Lou Mays Soccer Field tonight at 7, McLane Stadium on Saturday at 11 a.m. and back for soccer Sunday at 7 p.m.!

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.


The official Baylor University Class of 2027 photo!