On Friday afternoon, the Baylor Board of Regents and President Livingstone made a series of announcements in the hours leading up to graduation.
Here are a few of the major takeaways from the press conference:
* Dr. Joel Allison has concluded his two-year term as Board Chair. He will be replaced by Jerry K. Clements. She has been named “One of the Top 50 Most Influential Women Lawyers” by the National Law Journal and one of “30 Extraordinary Women in Texas Law” by Texas Lawyer.
* Elected Vice Chairs are Mark Hurd, Melissa Purdy Mines, and Randy Lee Pullin.
* Clements is the first woman to be named Board Chair. This marks the first time that Baylor’s top three leadership positions (president, provost, chair) are all women. Dr. Livingstone stated, “it just shows that the university is progressing in terms of how we think about who can lead and ensuring that we have the right people in the right positions. So, I don’t know that any of the three of us really think about us doing what we do because of our gender. We think about what we do because we love the university, we love the work that we do, and we want to contribute and help to be successful in any way we can.”
* David M. Slover has been named the Alumni-Elected Regent. He won nearly 50% of the 7,840 votes.
* New Regent terms and positions begin on June 1.
* Baylor’s new provost, Dr. Nancy Brickhouse, began her role at the beginning of May. Dr. Livingstone said that she “has been really well received by the faculty. One of the first things she wanted to do was get out and start to meet as many of the departments as she possibly could. So, I think she’s hit over 20 of our academic departments on campus across several of our schools and just listening to them, getting to know them, hearing what their excited about, hearing what their concerns are. And she’s been very positively received. We had a report for faculty, we went sent it and the faculty said a chair commented on what great feedback he’s hearing through the system. So, we’re excited she’s a person of faith, she cares deeply about faith-based education, and she understands what it means to be a research institution and how we can get there.”
* The Board held discussions about the recent petitions to create an official group for LGBTQ students. Dr. Livingstone addressed questions about the status of those groups. “It came up in a couple of our committee meetings,” she said. “This is really a student life issue in terms of how we support and care for our students, and certainly our students in the LGBTQ community. In the context of that, we really talk about how do we love and care for all of our students and ensure that they have a healthy and safe and nurturing learning environment so that they can be successful educationally in that process. But, also in the context of the request for a student group, we have existing policies in place that continue to be the policies that we apply when we make decisions about student groups, and we will continue to apply those consistently with how we have in the past, and, in the context of that, ensure that we’re really fulfilling our Christian mission and loving and supporting our students in appropriate ways.”
* The Regents approved a $698.4 million budget for 2019-2020. That includes an additional $13.4 in scholarships. Enrollment in graduate professional education programs are likely to exceed original financial expectations by 158%.
* The Tidwell Bible Building has been approved for a $4.1 million renovation. The stained-glass windows and limestone carvings will be preserved. There are also plans to build a prayer chapel on the top floor of the building that will be accessible by elevator.