Baylor Students, Faculty and Staff:
One of the distinct characteristics of our University is the dedication, service and passion of the Baylor Family. Today it is my honor and privilege to announce the recipients of the 2019-20 Baylor Alumni Awards. These awards recognize the powerful impact that Baylor graduates and members of the extended Baylor community have on the world through leadership and service. This year’s recipients include:
Alumna of the Year – Kellie (Key) Fischer of Dallas;
Young Alumnus of the Year – Max Muncy of Los Angeles;
Pro Ecclesia Medal of Service – Brenda (Rhame) Hauk of Franklin, Tenn.; and
Pro Texana Medal of Service – Kyle Deaver of Waco.
You can read more about these incredible Baylor Alumni here. Congratulations to this year’s award recipients, and we will recognize them as part of a special celebration of Baylor Alumni, “Honoring the Bold and Gold,” in late February.
A few items to spotlight for this week:
Every two years Baylor has the honor of recognizing some of our nation’s most inspiring teachers through our Cherry Awards program. In the fall, we welcomed three finalists for the prestigious award who came to our campus and delivered powerful lectures while also interacting with both faculty and students. I am excited to announce that the 2020 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching recipient is Dr. Jennifer Cognard-Black, professor of English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. We look forward to welcoming Dr. Cognard-Black back to Baylor to teach in the upcoming fall semester.
Provost Nancy Brickhouse and I enjoyed our time with the faculty on Wednesday as we outlined several key institutional priorities and provided a pathway under Illuminate for Baylor to become a Tier 1/Research 1 university. If you missed the Spring Faculty Meeting, it will be available for viewing next week on the Provost’s website.
Since 2014, students in our Philanthropy and the Public Good course – in partnership with The Philanthropy Lab – have stewarded and given away real funds for nonprofit organizations that serve the Waco community. Before the Christmas break, this year’s class presented $75,000 in grants to six local nonprofits, with funding provided by the Baylor/Waco Foundation led by the Solid Gold Neighbor Ambassador Council. This is a shining example of the importance of engaging with our hometown and being generous with resources and time as Solid Gold Neighbors.
Speaking of our community, I invite you to learn more about the upcoming Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival (Feb. 6-8), a new local event organized by a team of higher education, civic, business and faith leaders, led by Baylor’s Dr. Tyrha Lindsey-Warren. More than 70 films – shorts and features – will be shown at host sites throughout the community, including the Waco Hippodrome, local churches and Baylor Law School.
Last week I mentioned that 2020 marks Baylor’s 175th anniversary. The City of Waco issued an official proclamation recognizing this significant milestone on Tuesday, and you may have noticed the new campus billboard along I-35. The Mayborn Museum will continue the 175th celebration with a special exhibit, “Founding to the Future: Bright Lights of Baylor University,” beginning on Feb. 1. You will have an opportunity experience Baylor’s origins, traditions and mission through an interactive timeline, photo ops and iconic university artifacts.
We are excited to welcome Dave Aranda as Baylor’s new head football coach. Our team at BaylorProud compiled a list of “7 Fast Facts” so you can get to know our new head bear. We look forward to building on last year’s on-field success and continuing in Preparing Champions for Life.
The semester is certainly off to a fast start. What a great time to be a Baylor Bear!
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. President