Baylor in the News – Dec. 17-23, 2023 

December 24, 2023
Photo shows the inside of Baylor's Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion

Ahead of the Jan. 2, 2024, grand opening of Baylor’s Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion, Baylor Athletics led media on an exclusive tour of the new $212 million home of Baylor men’s and women’s basketball. (Matthew Minard/Baylor University)

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WACO, Texas (Dec. 24, 2023) – Baylor University researchers and faculty experts were featured in national and local media stories about an inside look at Baylor’s new Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion as the home of Baylor men’s and women’s basketball, astrophysics professors gearing up for the total solar eclipse coming to Waco in April and how Christmas carols helped sustain the darkest days of the civil rights movement.

Dec. 17, 2023

TIME: The Quest for Racial Equality Has Always Been Different for Rural Americans

Allie R. Lopez, a history Ph.D candidate at Baylor writing a dissertation on the freedom struggle in rural Alabama, co-authored this article for TIME Made by History about how the continuation of patterns of Black land dispossession exposes how—for all of the civil rights gains made over the last 60 years—there is still much to be done to secure racial equality in the U.S.

Dec. 18, 2023 

KCEN-TV (NBC/Waco): Inside look at new Foster Pavilion, future home of Baylor Basketball

VIDEO: Ahead of the Jan. 2, 2024, grand opening of Baylor’s Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion, Baylor Athletics led media on an exclusive tour of the new $212 million home of Baylor men’s and women’s basketball. Additional media coverage included the Waco Tribune-Herald, KWTX-TV, KXXV-TV and FOX44.

Standard Newswire: Prison Fellowship International's Flagship In-Prison Evangelism Program Reaches Milestone Anniversary

This article about Prison Fellowship International’s flagship in-prison program, The Prisoner’s Journey® (TPJ), reaching its 10-year anniversary, cites a longitudinal research study by Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion, which found that TPJ participation increases religious engagement, virtuosity and a sense of meaning in life while decreasing negative emotional states and aggression. The study was the first of its kind to examine faith-based programming in prisons on a multinational basis.

Dec. 19, 2023 

TIME: The Surprising Origins of Popular Christmas Songs

Michael P. Foley, Ph.D., professor of patristics in the Honors College at Baylor and author of Why We Kiss under the Mistletoe: Christmas Traditions Explained, is among the experts interviewed about the surprising back stories of some of the most popular Christmas songs.

Waco Tribune-Herald: Waco educators gearing up for eclipse-related lessons

Baylor physics faculty Barbara Castanheira-Endl, Ph.D., Ben Rose, Ph.D., and John Vasut, Ph.D., are among the educators gearing up for the total eclipse of the sun coming to Waco in April, preparing creative ways to bring science lessons into the real world.

LawFuel: Which Are The 14 Best Pre-Law Schools? . . And Why?

Baylor is among the 14 universities cited for having the most supportive programs that place future lawyers in a position of achieving a placement in a good law school. Baylor's pre-law program provides a pre-law course that focuses on students from all majors to develop a legal career with support and programs that include a Baylor Undergraduate Law Review.

Dec. 20, 2023 

The Economist: Economists had a dreadful 2023

Research on historic estimates of intergenerational mobility between 1850 and 1940 by Zachary Ward, Ph.D., associate professor of economics at Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, is cited in this article about economists’ prognostications about the economy in 2024.

The Arthur W. Page Center: New book reflects on the ‘crucibles’ that build ethical leaders

A new book by Marlene Neill, Ph.D., associate professor of journalism, public relations and new media at Baylor, offers a perspective of public relations leadership that is often overlooked. Instead of only focusing on success stories, Neill’s book shares personal accounts directly from leaders about their real-life challenges, struggles and lessons learned. It also summarizes the ethical implications of these “crucibles” and how they can inspire young communicators to lead with integrity.

Baptist Standard: Around the State

Baylor University announced Jason Diffenderfer, vice president for university advancement at the University at Buffalo, will join Baylor as vice president for university advancement, effective March 1, 2024. The Waco Tribune-Herald also reported on Diffenderfer’s new position at Baylor. Long-run decline in US poverty continued in recent years despite pandemic, new report shows

Poverty has fallen 27% since 1980, according to new research from the University of Notre Dame, the University of Chicago and Baylor University. This change is in sharp contrast with official U.S. Census Bureau numbers indicating that poverty has fallen a mere 1.5% in that time.

Dec. 21, 2023

Baptist News Global: America may not be as much ‘post-Christian’ as post-white Christian

In this opinion piece, Hayoung Park, a Baylor graduate student pursuing a dual M.Div. and M.S.W., writes about how the Western church – as demographics change – will need to learn to pastorally care for the diasporic immigrants among them and find the theologies and spiritual gifts of immigrants necessary to sustain and revive Western Christianity.

Scripps News: Why do we travel so much for the holidays?

VIDEO: Michael P. Foley, Ph.D., professor of patristics in the Honors College at Baylor and author of Why We Kiss under the Mistletoe: Christmas Traditions Explained, is among the experts interviewed about traveling for the holidays. Foley says Christmas really didn't become family-centered until the 19th century.

Advanced Science News: Next-gen computing replaces transistors with quantum dots

Enrique Blair, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of Baylor, was part of a research team that pioneered mixed-valence molecules in quantum-dot automata for faster, room-temperature operation, overcoming transistor limits. The study was published in the Journal of Computational Chemistry.

Technology Today: Wireless Innovation Forum Announces President’s Award Winners, Welcomes New Board of Directors Members at Annual Meeting

Austin Egbert, BSECE ’17, MSECE/Ph.D. ’21, a postdoc research associate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor, received the President’s Award from the Wireless Innovation Forum. Egbert was honored for his expert computer science capabilities that helped craft the WInnForum AFC testing program and developed the actual test code for the AFC test harness for the shared 6 GHz band. Without his critical contributions, the AFC testing framework would have taken much longer to develop and be ready to deploy.

Associated Press: NCAA President Charlie Baker drawing on lessons learned as GOP governor in Democratic Massachusetts

Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., who also serves as chair of NCAA board of governors, said NCAA President Charlie Baker’s history as governor of Massachusetts and stint as a former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care demonstrated an ability to listen, learn and adapt as he leads the country’s largest college sports governing body.

Dec. 22, 2023 

Sports Spectrum: SS PODCAST: Sports historian Paul Putz on history of sports & Christianity in America

AUDIO: Paul Putz, Ph.D., assistant director of the Faith & Sports Institute at Baylor’s Truett Seminary who studies sports and Christianity in modern American culture, joins the Sports Spectrum Podcast to explore the history of sports and faith, national sports ministries and influential figures who have lived out their faith publicly.

Sleepopolis: Sleepopolis Survey Reveals That a Surprising Number of Americans Are Trying Sleep Aids

Michael K. Scullin, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor and director of Sleep Neuroscience & Cognition Laboratory, comments on a survey that found 81% of Americans say they have tried a natural sleep aid or supplement to help them fall and/or stay asleep.

Dec. 23, 2023

The Dallas Morning News: Christmas carols helped sustain the darkest days of the civil rights movement

In this column, Robert F. Darden, emeritus professor of journalism and co-founder of the Black Gospel Music Preservation Program at Baylor, writes about the music of the civil rights movement, including Christmas carols, sustained leaders like Fannie Lou Hamer to proclaim the hope of their cause.

Waco Tribune Herald: Baylor plans workarounds for traffic, parking as clock ticks down to Foster Pavilion opening

Construction on and around the new Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion will continue long after the first tipoff at the riverside arena on Jan. 2, but Baylor University and city of Waco officials have a temporary plan for parking and traffic while the work proceeds.


Baylor's Office of Media and Public Relations (M&PR) supports the University's Illuminate strategic plan as a top Christian research university by focusing on faculty research and expert opinions, innovative teaching, major awards and recognition, and community involvement. Through its media training workshops, the Baylor M&PR team develops faculty experts to effectively communicate the impact of their research or speak as subject-matter experts into national trends and conversations with media outlets, through Hot Topics and on the Baylor Connections podcast. Our faculty expert directory is available on the M&PR website


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 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.