Presidential Perspective - May 2, 2024

May 2, 2024

Baylor Students, Faculty, Staff and Parents:

Today is the National Day of Prayer, an annual day of observance designated by the U.S. Congress in which people are asked to “turn to God in prayer and meditation.” I want to share my prayer with you for this important day as our country faces so many challenges:

Dear Lord, as we come together in prayer today to thank you for the abundant blessings you’ve bestowed upon Baylor University and upon our individual lives, we also turn our hearts toward those who have suffered loss, harm, or sorrow and find themselves yearning for the healing only you can provide. 

We are all of us, despite our differences, bound together in the salvation of your eternal love. As your servant the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (Romans 12:4-5). 

With a desire to expand the Kingdom of God — striving to overcome discord with compassion and placing repentance above pride — the Baylor Family seeks to foster wellbeing in our surrounding community through our teaching, research, and creativity and to serve as a shining light for your gospel as a Christian research university throughout higher education and around the world. 

We bow our heads before you in humility and gratitude, and we ask for your guidance in our lives today and ever afterward. Amen.

Some updates for this week:

  • NATIONAL CHAMPS 9X: I hope you join me in celebrating our remarkable acrobatics and tumbling team, as the Bears won their ninth-straight NCATA national championship last Saturday. With head coach Felecia Mulkey at the helm — who has won all 12 national titles since the rapidly growing sport’s inaugural season in 2011 — this program continues to shock and awe a growing fan base across the country, topping Gannon University in the title meet to extend the team’s winning streak to an astonishing 38 meets. Let’s never take for granted the incredible talent and success of our A&T team as they represent Baylor so well.
  • GOODBYE, HARRINGTON HOUSE: Just a block from my office in Pat Neff Hall sits Harrington House, a building constructed in 1894 as a home for J.T. Harrington, a Waco resident and former Baylor trustee. Baylor bought the house from the Harringtons in 1973, and it has served us well. Harrington was the first faculty dining center and a place where classes were held and staff offices were located. On a personal note, our church gave a baby shower for the First Gent and me at Harrington House before our daughter Shelby was born – a fabulous memory with our dearest friends. The building has been vacant since last summer and needs extensive repairs that exceed the valuation of the building. President’s Council has agreed the best course of action is to demolish the structure so the land can be prepared for future growth. I will be sad to see Harrington House go, but I look forward to a new and exciting future addition to our campus in its place.
  • AWARDS KEEP COMING: This has been a record-setting year for Baylor students earning prestigious and highly competitive fellowships and awards such as the Fulbright, Goldwater, Critical Language and Churchill. Now we can add a Boren Scholarship, two National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships and the GEM Fellowship to the list. Congratulations to:
    • Taylor Chung, senior political science and Arabic and Middle East Studies major: Boren Scholarship to study Swahili in Tanzania as part of the African Flagship Languages Initiative;
    • Laura Kusumo, B.S. ’23, doctoral candidate in psychology, and Heavenlei Thomas, B.A. ’23, McNair Scholar and Provost’s Scholar: NSF Graduate Research Fellowship that supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines; and
    • Auldynn Chambers, senior mechanical engineering major, McNair Scholar and Provost’s Scholar: GEM Fellowship as he pursues a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon.
  • CENTENNIAL PROFESSOR AWARDS: Congratulations to Julie Hoggarth, Ph.D., associate professor of anthropology, and Jeffrey C. Petersen, Ph.D., professor of sport management, who were selected by a committee of their peers to receive the 2024 Centennial Professor Awards. The Centennial Professor Award was created by the Baylor Class of 1945 to honor two tenured faculty members with a $5,000 Centennial Faculty Development award that supports their summer research projects and facilitates their development and continued contribution to the University's academic life.
  • PASSPORT PROJECT GRANT: Baylor’s Center for Global Engagement continues its focus on broadening students’ access to global experiences. One of their efforts to remove a financial barrier for underrepresented students to study abroad – the cost of a U.S. passport – received a major boost this week with an IIE American Passport Project grant. This grant marks a significant milestone for CGE’s successful implementation of the First Abroad Fellows. Since 2019, CGE has offered 40 first-generation students funding for passport acquisition and scholarships for study abroad programs. With the addition of the IIE Passport Grant, CGE is poised to expand that impact by providing passport funding to an additional 25 students in the next academic year.

I am praying for all of you as the semester comes to a close and we prepare to celebrate our 2024 graduates at Commencement next week.

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.


Best wishes to all of our students as Final Exams run Saturday through next Thursday, May 4-9. Be sure to stay hydrated, eat well and get plenty of rest!