Baylor Regents Extend President Livingstone’s Contract to 2032
May Board business includes approving 2022-2023 operating budget, increase in phase 1 of Fudge Football Development Center; strategic priorities from Commission on Historic Campus Representations; Board leadership, new Regents
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WACO, Texas (May 25, 2022) – At its regular May meeting, the Baylor University Board of Regents voted to extend the contract of President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., to 2032 in recognition of her exemplary University and national leadership that has elevated Baylor as a preeminent Christian research university with strengths across the board in academics, research and athletics.
The approved contract for President Livingstone includes an eight-year base term with the option of two additional one-year extensions. As a private institution, Baylor does not disclose specific contract terms.
“This long-term contract extension reflects President Livingstone’s strong, visionary and consistent leadership over the past five years, guiding Baylor University with a steady hand through challenging times to extraordinary heights as a preeminent Christian Research 1 university,” said Board Chair Mark Rountree, B.B.A. ’86, M.T.A. ’87, of Dallas.
“In many fields, including higher education, stability in leadership is vital. Guided by her faith, President Livingstone has energized and inspired our faculty, staff, students and alumni to invest their time, talents and treasure in Baylor as a Research 1 university with a bright future ahead. At the same time, she has risen as one of most respected voices nationally in American higher education, from the role of faith-based institutions to the complex, evolving issues in intercollegiate athletics,” Rountree said.
Since President Livingstone assumed leadership nearly five years ago on June 1, 2017, Baylor continues to accomplish its goals: the development of the Illuminate strategic plan, now in its second five-year phase; surpassing the $1.1 billion milestone of the Give Light philanthropic campaign; earning Research 1 designation – three years earlier than expected – as one of only 37 private universities designated by the Carnegie Classification among the top research universities; and competing at the highest levels of athletics competition with excellence and character.
President Livingstone serves in top leadership positions as vice chair/chair-elect of the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education, vice chair/chair-elect of the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors, a member of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and the NCAA Board of Governors, and an appointed member of the NCAA Constitution Commission and the Division 1 Transformation Committee. In addition, she is on the boards of Baylor College of Medicine and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas.
“I thank the Board of Regents for their continued trust in me to uphold Baylor’s distinct mission, historic traditions and the vital role Baylor plays in higher education as the preeminent Christian research university,” President Livingstone said. “The past five years included many challenges at the outset, but also many rewarding opportunities – from our expanding academic enterprise and R1 designation to unprecedented success in fundraising and athletics – while remaining centered on our Christian mission to educate students for worldwide leadership and service within a caring community.
“I am blessed to be at a university with incredibly talented students and to work each and every day with amazing colleagues on the President’s Council and exceptional faculty and staff across the campus,” President Livingstone added. “None of Baylor’s recent success would be possible without a dedicated, service-oriented team that daily commits to our Christian mission. Brad, Shelby and I love being part of the Baylor Family and are honored to continue to serve this truly special institution at such an exciting time.”
In addition, the Board of Regents re-elected Rountree to a third one-year term as Chair, providing additional stability in leadership, and voted to approve officers for 2022-2023.
Elected as chair and vice chairs are:
- Mark Rountree, B.B.A. ’86, M.T.A. ’87, of Dallas, Chair.
- William Mearse, B.B.A. ’78, of Houston, Vice Chair.
- Alicia D.H. Monroe, M.D., of Missouri City, Texas, Vice Chair.
- Dennis R. Wiles, Ph.D., of Arlington, Texas, Vice Chair.
Board approves 2022-2023 operating budget
The Board also approved an $863.2 million operating budget for 2022-2023, an increase of $73.7 million or 9.3% over last year's budget that provides a foundation for continued financial strength while solidifying, strengthening and advancing Baylor’s standing among fellow R1 research universities
The upcoming budget is consistent with the framework of the University's five-year financial plan approved by the Board in November around the goals of Illuminate Forward, including ongoing investments in faculty and staff, the University’s core academic quality and Christian mission, from faith formation to student success and well-being; strategic capital investments for current and future competitiveness; and prioritizing financial strength and stewardship, including investments in reserves and infrastructure, to position the University for future success.
“Baylor continues to demonstrate the strength of the institution, especially as we emerge from the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic,” President Livingstone said. “We had to make some very difficult decisions early on, but as a result, the University not only survived but is thriving today. There is incredible interest in a Baylor education as our brand grows nationally, and we have a solid foundation for future success in the classroom, in the research labs and across the campus.”
Board approves phase 1 of Fudge Football Development Center, updates on other construction
Regents approved $5 million for phase 1 design and early construction activities for the Fudge Football Development Center, which will house the day-to-day operations of the Big 12 champion Baylor football program. This amount is in addition to the previously approved $6 million for a total of $11 million for this initial phase.
The Fudge Football Development Center was made possible through a $15 million gift from Jeremy and Kristy Fudge of Parker, Texas, to the University’s Give Light Campaign. The Fudge Center will connect to the Allison Indoor Practice Facility, expanding the 80-yard indoor turf field to 100 yards and creating more than 100,000 square feet of new space for the Baylor football program. The facility will include offices for coaches, equipment staff, medical trainers and a locker room for student-athletes, as well as a medical training room, equipment distribution room, a strength and conditioning weight room and a large team meeting room.
Board members also received an update on the Paul and Alejandra Foster Basketball Pavilion and Development Center, the new $212.6 million home of Baylor’s championship men’s and women’s basketball teams. Site work on the facility’s location is already underway behind Clifton Robinson Tower along the Brazos River on the west side of I-35. An early opening of the Foster Pavilion is targeted for January 2024 in time for Big 12 Conference play, with the adjoining Development Center’s opening anticipated in April 2024.
On Thursday, Regents donned hard hats for a guided walk-through of the under-construction Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center, a 136,000-square-foot “front door” to Baylor that will serve as the hub for the approximately 60,000 prospective students, families, alumni and other guests who currently visit campus, creating interest and enthusiasm in the University through a high-tech and interactive experience.
While on the tour, Board members signed the steel structure of one of the building’s four signature light pillars, led by Regent Paula R. Hurd. Paula and her husband, the late Mark Hurd, B.B.A. ’79, a former Regent and vice chair of the Board as well as tennis student-athlete, gave the first major gift to the Give Light Campaign – and one of the largest gifts in Baylor history – to create Hurd Welcome Center. Features include a bright, window-filled grand hall and ballroom; spirit shop; a suspended, 250-seat theater that opens up to a stunning view of Pat Neff Hall and the Baylor campus; offices for Admissions and Baylor Alumni staff; and more. The Hurd Center is expected to fully open in time for the Fall 2023 semester.
Strategic priorities from Commission on Historic Campus Representations
The Board approved a four-phase framework to address the strategic priorities identified by the Commission on Historic Campus Representations, which released its comprehensive report in spring 2021. The University engaged the assistance of Sasaki, a renowned architectural design firm that has worked with many colleges and universities across the country on similar projects, to develop the framework, which includes the following phases:
- Phase 0: Selection of a Comprehensive Design Firm to address the monument for the unknown enslaved, the area around the Judge Baylor Statue, The Quadrangle and Speight Avenue; relocation of the Burleson Statue to a designated area between Burleson Hall and Draper Academic Building; and renaming of Burleson Quadrangle to “The Quadrangle.”
- Phase 1: Reconceptualization of the area around the Judge Baylor Statue to include enhanced historical signage, landscaping and accessibility; development of a monument for the unknown enslaved on Founders Mall; placement of Speight Avenue markers recognizing groups, individuals or events of historic significance to the University and/or Waco area; and relocation of historic bells back to Independence, site of the original campus.
- Phase 2: Comprehensive redevelopment of The Quadrangle.
- Phase 3: Redevelopment of Speight Avenue into a pedestrian plaza, similar to the 5th Street Promenade.
Work to address the strategic priorities will begin over the summer and will continue over the next several years. The phases and timeline may be adjusted due to funding, site logistics and coordination.
“We appreciate the thoughtful work of the Administration and Campus Experience Project Team in working with Sasaki over the past several months to produce strategic, meaningful priorities as the Board continues to consider the recommendations of the Commission on Historic Campus Representations and further Baylor’s mission as a caring, Christian community,” Rountree said. “Our goal at the outset of this process was not to erase Baylor’s history, but rather to tell the University’s complete story by taking an additive approach as we shine light on the past. Some of the facts uncovered about the University’s history have indeed been painful, but it is important that we move forward together as the Baylor Family through an intentional process of reckoning, repentance, reconciliation and redemption.”
The development of the strategic priorities based on the Commission report supplements related work already underway on the campus, which includes development of statues recognizing Baylor’s first Black graduates – the late Rev. Robert Gilbert and Mrs. Barbara Walker, who both graduated in 1967. The sculpting of the statues is currently underway by accomplished artist Benjamin Victor, with an anticipated installation of Spring 2023 outside of the historic Tidwell Bible Building.
“It’s extremely important that our physical campus represents the diverse, welcoming community that embodies the Baylor Family,” President Livingstone said. “Our work to date has been very strategic and intentional as we delicately weave the Gospel story and complete history of the University into our existing physical and online spaces. This work ultimately will provide not only the appropriate recognitions, but also will create new areas of reflection, gathering and community in the center of campus for students, faculty, staff, alumni and guests. Our intent is for the historic heart of campus to be transformed into a vibrant, welcoming hub of activity and events.”
Committees hear accreditation overview; Audit and Compliance committees combine
During the Academic Affairs Committee meeting, Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D., and Wes Null, Ph.D., vice provost for undergraduate education and institutional effectiveness, gave the Board an overview of accreditation and its importance to the University. Not only is accreditation an assurance of the quality of an institution, but it also allows the University to access $300 million in federal funding primarily for student scholarships.
Baylor is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees. Baylor University has been accredited by SACSCOC since 1914, and most recently was reaffirmed by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees in December 2018. Accreditation is maintained through a combination of annual reports, fifth-year reviews and 10-year comprehensive reviews, including an on-campus site visit by representatives from peer institutions.
In other committee news, the Board approved a recommendation to combine the Audit Committee and Compliance and Regulatory Affairs Committee – which often address overlapping issues and operations – into a single Audit, Compliance and Risk Management committee. In 2017, the Board’s Governance Review Task Force separated the Audit and Compliance and Regulatory Affairs committees. Since that time, the University has significantly invested in qualified personnel and financial resources in these areas. The Board is following the common practice among institutions that are members of the Association of Governing Boards (AGB) by combining the committees, which also will provide greater focus and allow more time devoted to oversight given the interconnectedness of the audit, compliance and risk functions.
New master’s degrees approved
The Board approved two new master’s degrees:
- The Master of Science in Medical Science (M.S.M.S.), Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences, Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, in collaboration with Baylor Graduate Professional Education; and
- The Master of Science in Business Analytics (M.S.B.A.), Hankamer School of Business, Department of Information Systems and Business Analytics, and College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Statistical Science.
The one-year online M.S. in Medical Science is designed to enhance the credentials of students for professional school admissions or as an enrichment year for aspiring medical-based professionals.
The on-campus M.S. in Business Analytics addresses the strong demand for analytics professionals in almost every sector of business and technology, providing students – in both STEM and non-STEM fields – with enriched analytical and technical skills for in-demand opportunities in business, health and medicine, public policy and government.
Board approves committee chairs, new Regents
Regents voted to approve committee chairs, who also will serve on the Executive Committee, for 2022-2023. The Board also elected a new at-large Regent and re-elected or confirmed Regents to new terms.
Elected as committee chairs:
- Academic Affairs – Alicia D.H. Monroe, M.D., of Missouri City, Texas, Chair, and Michael McFarland, B.B.A. ’93, Ed.D. ’05, of Crowley, Texas, Vice Chair.
- Advancement and Development – Manny Ruiz, B.B.A. ’81, of San Antonio, Texas, Chair, and Paula R. Hurd, B.B.A., of Atherton, California, Vice Chair.
- Audit, Compliance and Risk Management – William Mearse, B.B.A. ’78, of Houston, Chair, and Jill Manning, B.B.A. ’84, of Dallas, Vice Chair.
- Finance and Facilities – Todd Reppert, B.B.A. ’91, of Houston, Chair, and Jay A. Brown, B.B.A. ’95, of Houston, Vice Chair.
- Nominating, Governance and Regent Leadership – Todd Patterson, B.S. (Dentistry) ’90, J.D., of Richmond, Texas, Chair, and Michael Heiskell, B.A. ’72, J.D. ’74, of Fort Worth, Texas, Vice Chair.
- Student Life – Melissa Purdy Mines, B.A. ’90, of Austin, Texas, Chair, and René Maciel, M.S.Ed. ’91, of McGregor, Texas, Vice Chair.
- University Leadership and Compensation – Sarah Gahm, B.S. ’84, M.H.A., of Dallas, Chair, and Neal Jeffrey, B.B.A. ’75, of Plano, Texas, Vice Chair.
The Board elected a new at-large Regent:
- Jack F. Harper II, B.B.A. ’93, of Midland, Texas – three-year term; executive vice president of ConocoPhillips.
Confirmed by the Board as a new Baptist General Convention of Texas-appointed Regent:
- Gail W. Stewart, B.B.A. ’80, J.D. ’83, of Houston – three-year term.
Regents re-elected by the Board to three-year teams are:
- William Mearse, B.B.A. ’78, M.B.A. ’79 – second three-year term.
- Sarah Gahm, B.S. ’84, M.H.A. – second three-year term.
- Manny Ruiz, B.B.A. ’81 – second three-year term.
- Mark Rountree, B.B.A. ’86, M.T.A. ’87 – third three-year term.
- Julie Hermansen Turner, B.B.A. ’67, M.S.E.D ’68, of Dallas – final three-year term.
Confirmed by the Board as Honoris Causa Baylor Bear Foundation Regent:
- Ashley Beane Hooper, B.B.A. ’03, of Dallas – three-year term.
Elected by Baylor alumni to a three-year term on the Board as an alumni-elected Regent is:
- Barbara Calhoun Cargill, B.S.Ed. ’82, M.S.Ed., of Conroe, Texas.
Cargill received 1,814 votes of the 4,313 Baylor graduates who voted in the spring election, which was administered and certified by YesElections. Other alumni-elected Regent candidates included Ryan D. Pratt, B.B.A. ’97, of Houston (1,576 votes), and Mark M. Shelton, B.S. ’79, of Fort Worth (923 votes).
As announced in February, J.D. McDonald of Johnson City, Tenn., a graduate student working toward a Master of Divinity degree, will begin service as a first-term, non-voting student Regent. Ally Perkins, a senior political science major from Tyler, Texas, will serve a second term on the Board, now as a voting member.
All terms begin on June 1.
Regents completing their service on the Board are Larry P. Heard, B.B.A. ’80, of Houston; Randolph (Randy) L. Pullin, B.B.A. ’82, of Houston; Mark V. Petersen, M.B.A. ’84, of Arlington; and David M. Slover, B.A. ’86, M.B.A. ’89, Dallas. Also completing her two-year term as Student Regent is Sher Isada, a senior University Scholar from Euless, Texas.
“As we welcome new Regents, we are deeply appreciative of our Board members who are completing their terms. Baylor is better due to the selfless service of these individuals. They have served tirelessly and faithfully in this volunteer role for the university we all love,” Rountree said. “It is indeed a privilege to serve Baylor University as we seek to fulfill our calling as a preeminent Christian research university while educating men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.”
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
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.