Happy five-year anniversary, President Livingstone!
Five years ago this week — June 1, 2017 — President Linda Livingstone officially took the reins at Baylor as the university’s 15th president.
It’s incredible to look back and see what the university has accomplished under her leadership in those five years. Here are just some of the highlights:
— Reaching R1 status (three years early!): The recognition gives Baylor a place at the table among the nation’s elite research institutions as they work to address our world’s biggest problems. As the only R1 institution with an explicit, primary identity as a Protestant Christian university, Baylor brings a rare voice and approach to that table — seeking those solutions for the glory of God.
— Successful $1.1 billion fundraising campaign: Under Dr. Livingstone’s guidance, the Give Light campaign exceeded its initial fundraising goal in February, generating funds that will support student scholarships, new faculty hires and endowed positions, capital projects and more across the university.
— Faculty hires: The success of Give Light has allowed Baylor to create 14 new endowed faculty positions — opportunities that are exceptionally attractive to scholars, because they are supported by an endowed fund that guarantees financial support for both the professor and his/her research. Beyond that, the university has committed to hiring 100 additional faculty — 20 a year for five years — in support of the Illuminate strategic plan.
— Campus updates: Extensive renovations to Tidwell Bible Building brought new life to the longtime home to Baylor’s religion, history and sociology departments. Under construction now is the Hurd Welcome Center, set to open as a new “front door” to campus next summer. In the works or coming soon: complete renovations for Collins, Memorial/Alexander, Allen-Dawson and Kokernot residence halls; a new home for the Honors College; updates to Founders Mall and the Quadrangle; the Fudge Football Development Center; and the Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion, which will host Baylor’s basketball programs along the scenic Brazos riverfront.
— Student successes: Whether in academics or athletics, the last five years have been among the best in Baylor history. Recent achievements include a school-record 14 Fulbright Scholars in 2022; Baylor music students earning the prestigious American Prize five times in six years; winning national championships in both men’s and women’s basketball (and seven straight national titles in acrobatics & tumbling); and the most successful season in Baylor football history.
Such accomplishments led some to suggest that President Livingstone (a former basketball student-athlete) might be a top candidate for either Big 12 Conference commissioner or NCAA president, but a 10-year contract extension (announced last month by the Board of Regents) should put such conversations to rest.
If this is what President Livingstone has been able to accomplish in her first five years — after taking the job at a low point in Baylor’s history, and while battling the disruptions of a pandemic — I can’t wait to see what the next decade has in store for Baylor!
Sic ’em, President Livingstone!