6 things you should know about Baylor President-Select Linda Livingstone
Livingstone will become Baylor’s first female president when she takes office June 1. But as Board Chair Ron Murff, BBA ’75, noted, the Regents’ goal was to hire the best president for the university, regardless of gender. With that in mind, here are six things every Bear should know about Baylor’s next president:
1. She has exhibited excellent leadership abilities. President-Select Livingstone has spent the last 15 years as a dean, first at Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business and Management and then at the George Washington University School of Business. At Graziadio, she oversaw a $200 million expansion of the school’s graduate campuses, the addition of an executive conference center, and a significant increase in scholarship support for students. At GWU, she led the development of a strategic plan for the business school that built on the school’s culture of service and its unique location in our nation’s capital to enhance the school’s global focus.
2. She knows and loves Baylor. Livingstone taught in the Hankamer School of Business from 1991-2002; for the last four years, she also served as the HSB’s associate dean of graduate programs. In 1994, she earned the Hankamer School of Business Young Researcher Award; two years later, she received the university’s top teaching award for non-tenured professors. “My time at Baylor as a faculty member and associate dean was formative in my academic career and in developing my passion for academic administration,” she said. “Baylor’s unique culture of care and compassion — that I experienced personally from my colleagues and that I saw demonstrated among faculty, staff and students — continues to inspire and influence me as an administrator. … When I had the opportunity to come back, I felt this was really where God was calling me, where he was calling our family… I do feel a deep calling to do this, and to return to Baylor, and we are really excited about this opportunity.”
3. She knows management. In many ways, leading a university the size of Baylor is like leading a large company or small city. Livingstone earned her undergraduate degree in economics and management, an MBA, and a doctorate in management and organizational behavior (all from Oklahoma State). While she was overseeing Hankamer’s graduate offerings, the Baylor EMBA-Dallas program was ranked among the top 50 in the world (and No. 1 in Texas). From there, she went on to serve as dean of two top-75 business schools, and she is a member of Oklahoma State’s Spears School of Business Hall of Fame. Last year, she was recognized by the Washington Business Journal as one of their “Women Who Mean Business.”
4. She recognizes the issues Baylor is dealing with on campus. “Regarding sexual assault and the vulnerability of women, obviously, I take those issues very seriously,” Livingstone noted Tuesday. “They affect the entire community. At Baylor, we’re going to do the right things. … We’re going to do everything we can to provide a safe and healthy environment for all our students. I’m committed to that, and I know the board is committed to that. … Continuing to strengthen Baylor’s culture, where faculty, staff and students are encouraged, inspired and cared for by one another, is a priority.”
5. She’s no stranger to issues of gender equality. As a young professor at Baylor, she served on a committee for “promotion of sexual equality.” She spoke at the White House in 2015 on how to expand business opportunities for women, and has written on topics such as “Leveling the Playing Field for Women Executives” and “Successful CEOs Get Women in the Game.” As for being Baylor’s first female president? “It’s not the first time in my career I’ve been ‘the first woman,'” she said Tuesday. “I think I can take that on.”
6. Perhaps most importantly, she understands the importance of faith-based higher education. It’s no coincidence that Livingstone has spent the bulk of her professional career at Christian universities. On Tuesday, she noted that she chose to begin her academic career at Baylor “in significant part because of Baylor’s Christian mission.” And in a 2014 article for the Grazadio Business Review, she laid out a gameplan for Christian academics: “First, be great teachers, scholars, and colleagues to build credibility in the academy… Second, be willing to ask and investigate the tough questions that emerge in your field from a faith perspective… Third, do not forget the human side of spirituality and the Academy… [W]e must never forget that we are also here to impact the lives of our students, which includes not only educating the mind, but also the heart.”
Sic ’em, President-Select Livingstone — and welcome (back) to Baylor!