2022 Beall-Russell Lecture in the Humanities Presents "An Afternoon with Maya Lin: At the Intersection of Art and Architecture"

October 4, 2022
Maya Lin

Acclaimed American designer and artist Maya Lin will give the 2022 Beall-Russell Lecture in the Humanities Oct. 10 at Baylor University. (Courtesy photo)

WACO, Texas (Oct. 4, 2022) – Baylor University will welcome acclaimed American designer and artist Maya Lin to campus to give the 2022 Beall-Russell Lecture in the Humanities at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, in room 506 in the Cashion Academic Center.

Lin achieved worldwide recognition in 1981, when as an undergraduate at Yale University, she won a national design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. Her lecture at Baylor – "An Afternoon with Maya Lin: At the Intersection of Art and Architecture" –is free and open to the public.

Lin interprets the natural world through the lens of history, politics and culture. Her unique installations, architecture and memorials – such as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial – become a part of the land and merge physical and psychological environments to create a new way of seeing the world. In her visually rich presentations, Lin includes a retrospective of her art and architectural works as well as her groundbreaking memorials as she discusses her work process, the future of the planet and humans’ relationship with the environment.

“Maya Lin’s work has enduring implications both because it dignifies human life and human loss and because it itself is woven into the fabric of history. By citing Virgil’s ninth Aeneid on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial – ‘No day shall erase you from the memory of time’ – Lin not only infuses that tribute with universal meaning but also, through an allusion to Virgil’s literary monument, creates a sense of wonder that allows the visitor to share in the pathos engendered by the ageless power of art,” said lecture co-chair Alden Smith, Ph.D., professor of classics, Master Teacher and associate dean for the Honors College at Baylor.

In 2009, Lin was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence, and in 2016, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her widely acclaimed memorials, the nation’s highest civilian honor presented to those who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the United States.” Lin’s memorials address the critical social and historical issues of today. From the Vietnam Memorial to The Civil Rights Memorial in Alabama and the Women’s Table at Yale, she makes history part of the landscape. At Baylor, Lin will give the first Beall-Russell Lecture in person since 2019.

“We are thrilled to bring Maya Lin to Baylor to deliver the 2022 Beall-Russell Lecture in the Humanities. Ms. Lin's renowned works of art and architecture tell stories about human history and culture while simultaneously examining the balance between humankind and nature,” said lecture co-chair Kimberley Kellison, Ph.D., associate dean of humanities and social sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences and associate professor of history. “Through memorials, sculptures and architecture, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama, Ms. Lin conveys powerful testaments about human suffering and human perseverance.”

Lin’s art explores how individuals experience and relate to landscape, setting up a systematic ordering of the land that is tied to history, memory, time and language. Her interest in landscape has led to works influenced by topographies and geographic phenomena. Her work asks the viewer to reconsider nature and the environment at a time when it is crucial to do so. A committed environmentalist, she is working on her last memorial, "What is Missing?," a cross-platform, global memorial to the planet, located in select scientific institutions, online as a website and in a book, calling attention to the crisis surrounding biodiversity and habitat loss.

Lin’s architectural projects are largely undertaken at the request of non-profit institutions and include the Museum for Chinese in America (2009) in New York City, the Riggio-Lynch Interfaith Chapel (2004) and Langston Hughes Library (1999) in Tennessee. Current projects include the redesign of the Neilson Library at Smith College. Her designs create a close dialogue between the landscape and built environment, and she is committed to advocating sustainable design solutions in all her works. 

Lin has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at museums and galleries worldwide, with works in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and The Smithsonian Institution. She serves on the boards of the Bloomberg Foundation, Museum of Chinese in America and the What is Missing? Foundation. She is an honorary board member of the Natural Resources Defense Council and is the recipient of the Presidential Design Award and honorary doctorates from Yale and Harvard.

A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Lin has been profiled in TIME, The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker. The 1996 documentary about her, “Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision,” won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Her book about her work and creative process, Boundaries, is in its fifth printing with Simon & Schuster. Maya Lin: Topologies, a monograph spanning the past 30 years of her career, was released 2015 by Skira Rizzoli.

The Beall-Russell Lectures in the Humanities were established in 1982 with a financial gift from Virginia B. Ball of Muncie, Indiana. The lecture series is named in honor of her mother, Mrs. John A. Beall, and Lily Russell, former dean of women at Baylor, both Baylor alumnae of the Class of 1910. The purpose of the lectures is to provide an opportunity for Baylor students and faculty to meet and hear lecturers renowned in the humanities.

Past lecturers have included poet Maya Angelou, historian David McCollough, writer Amy Tan, journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson, filmmaker Ken Burns and Nobel Prize winner for Literature Czeslaw Milosz.

For more information, visit the website of the Beall-Russell Lectures in the Humanities.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


The Honors College at Baylor University unites four innovative interdisciplinary programs – the Honors Program, University Scholars, Baylor Interdisciplinary Core and Great Texts – with a shared commitment to providing undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue questions that often fall between the cracks of the specialized disciplines by investigating the writings of scientists along with the writings of poets, historians and philosophers. For more information, visit baylor.edu/honorscollege.


The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s largest academic division, consisting of 25 academic departments in the sciences, humanities, fine arts and social sciences, as well as 10 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit www.baylor.edu/artsandsciences.