Presidential Perspective - April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

This week has provided a tremendous opportunity to showcase Baylor and the Waco community across the United States and around the world with Monday’s total solar eclipse – which was even more spectacular than I could ever have imagined. We were certainly blessed to experience the wonder of God’s creation right from the middle of campus. Thank you to all of the Baylor faculty members who provided their expert insights and commentary, the staff who coordinated all of the details with many partners, and our students who took a few minutes away from Diadeloso fun to share in this special moment.

Speaking of Diadeloso, that was quite the event in addition to everything going on with the Eclipse Over Texas: Live from Waco festivities. What a special springtime tradition for Baylor students, and I always appreciate seeing so many faculty members, staff and their families on campus and engaging with each other as the Baylor Family – as well as how the entire University comes together to make it happen.

This Saturday will be another significant opportunity for Baylor as we have 6,000 prospective students and family members registered to come to campus and experience what college life is like at a Christian R1 university and to engage with members of the Baylor Family. I hope you will join the First Gent and me (and maybe even BU!) on campus throughout the day for our first on-campus Premiere in five years and the first with the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center as the front porch of campus.

Some updates for this week:

  • FACULTY AND STAFF CHAPEL: I am looking forward to this spring’s Faculty and Staff Chapel service, which will be at 11 a.m. next Wednesday, April 17, in the Powell Chapel at Truett Seminary. I will have the pleasure of introducing our special guest speaker –  Julio Guarneri, the new Executive Director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and former Lead Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen. Most of you know Baylor has a deep institutional connection with Texas Baptists, having served side by side for nearly two centuries to shine a light on God’s Kingdom, and I hope you will take advantage of this special opportunity to hear from Dr. Guarneri.
  • SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH CONTINUES: The Baylor campus will be awash in teal next Wednesday as we Light the Night for the April-long recognition. In addition to Pat Neff Hall and Rosenbalm Fountain, we will light the columns of the Hurd Welcome Center in teal. The Equity, Civil Rights, and Title IX Office invites students, faculty and staff to participate in this month’s eventsas well as join the University’s commitment to fostering a safe and healthy campus, preventing acts of sexual violence and treating all members of the campus community with dignity and respect.Then on April 24, we invite the entire campus to wear denim in recognition of SAAM Denim Day, which was established in 1999 to stand in solidarity with survivors and to shift misconceptions around sexual assault.
  • U.S. NEWS BEST GRADUATE SCHOOLS: The latest U.S. News & World Report rankings for Best Graduate Schools were released earlier this week, and Baylor graduate and professional programs made the grade. The rankings were highlighted by Top 20 Baylor programs in the health disciplines (physical therapy and anesthesia nursing), business (entrepreneurship, healthcare management and administration) and law (trial advocacy). Additional U.S. News rankings across the disciplines reflect the growth – and high quality – of our graduate and professional programs, placing the spotlight on the critical role our exceptional faculty and nearly 5,500 graduate students play in advancing Baylor as a Christian R1 university.
  • NEW ENDOWED CHAIR: I’m thrilled to announce the establishment of The George Heilmeier Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering, the fourth endowed chair established in the School of Engineering and Computer Science through the Give Light campaign. The Heilmeier Chair was made possible by a $1.5 million gift from the family of George Heilmeier through the Heilmeier-Jarvie Family Foundation of Plano, Texas – and matched by Give Light’s Illuminate Chair Matching Program. Dr. Heilmeier was an electrical engineer renowned for leading the team that created liquid crystal display (LCD) screens, but he also was known for his deep Christian faith that animated his life and service. He is a compelling example of how innovative, impactful scholarship and research do not require an abandonment of our faith.
  • BEALL-RUSSELL LECTURE: Don’t forget to register for this signature event as renowned historian, scholar, American literary critic, filmmaker and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., presents “Finding Your Roots: Genealogy, Genetics, and African-American History” next Wednesday, April 17, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Waco Hall. You can register online by Tuesday, April 16, at 5 p.m.
  • DEBUT PERFORMANCE: We are so blessed by Baylor’s vibrant community of artists, including the talented student musicians in the award-winning Baylor Symphony Orchestra. The Baylor Family has a unique opportunity to enjoy and support our student musicians as the Orchestra makes its debut April 23 in one of Texas’s most spectacular venues, Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth. The Orchestra will play a varied program of music with renowned Maestro Miguel Harth-Bedoya at the podium. You won’t want to miss it! Tickets are available at

As we start eyeing Commencement May 10-11, a reminder that the ceremonies will be held at the Ferrell Center due to its large capacity that will allow as many families and guests to support our graduates as possible. I can’t believe we are already talking about the end of the spring semester!

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.


Baylor staff photographer Matthew Minard produced this composite image of individual photos as the eclipse progressed over Pat Neff Hall on Monday.