Baylor in the News – Feb. 18-24, 2024

February 25, 2024
Baylor history professor Ron Johnson teaching class in a seminar room.

Baylor University history professor Ronald Angelo Johnson, Ph.D.,  an expert on racialized Haitian American diplomacy in the Age of Revolutions, was interviewed by The New York Times about Pierre Toussaint’s unique life from slavery to philanthropist. (Robert Rogers/Baylor University)

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WACO, Texas (Feb. 25, 2024) – Baylor University researchers and faculty experts were featured in national and local media stories about philanthropist Pierre Toussaint who used his funds to free enslaved people, build churches and house orphans of color, the importance of access to the Lake Waco Wetlands for research purposes after years of drought and the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Memorial to Enslaved Persons. 

Feb. 18, 2024

The New York Times: Overlooked No More: Pierre Toussaint, Philanthropist and Candidate for Sainthood

In this series of obituaries about remarkable, but overlooked people, Ronald Angelo Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor and The Ralph and Bessie Mae Lynn Chair of History, is quoted about Pierre Toussaint’s unique life from slavery to a wealthy hairdresser and the importance of focusing on his life as a father, husband, businessman and philanthropist. Johnson is an expert on racialized Haitian American diplomacy in the Age of Revolutions.

Feb. 19, 2024

Fortune: Why America should be celebrating entrepreneurs, not presidents 

Pegged to Presidents Day and discussions about presidential greatness, Blaine McCormick, Ph.D., associate professor in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, co-authors this opinion piece focusing on what makes great entrepreneurs vs. what makes great presidents.

Waco Tribune-Herald: Replenished Lake Waco Wetlands back on track as living laboratory 

Thad Scott, Ph.D., professor and director for the Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research (CRASR) at Baylor, is featured in this article about the importance of access to the Lake Waco Wetlands for research purposes after years of drought. Robert Doyle, Ph.D., professor of biology, is quoted about the importance of using the research program at wetlands that he established in the early 2000s. 

Baptist Standard: White Christians can learn lessons from the Black church 

In a conversation with Stephanie Boddie, Ph.D., associate professor of church and community ministries in the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, Pastor Ralph Douglas West spoke about the lessons of grace, repentance and worship that can be learned from the Black church at Time to Wake Up: Racism in the World Church, hosted by Baylor’s Truett Seminary. This story also was covered by Baptist News Global

Baptist Standard: Racial justice rooted in Scripture, evangelical leader says 

In a conversation with Truett Seminary Dean Todd Still, Ph.D., Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, spoke about the roots of racial justice in biblical truth at “Time to Wake Up: Racism in the World Church” a conference hosted by Baylor’s Truett Seminary. 

Waco Tribune-Herald: Baylor professor breaks Guinness climbing record 

Alexander Pruss, Ph.D., professor of philosophy and director of graduate studies in the Department of Philosophy at Baylor, is officially the owner of two Guinness World Records. He achieved his latest record last summer for the fastest vertical 1-mile ascent on a climbing wall. 

Feb. 21, 2024

KXXV-TV (ABC/Waco): ‘East Waco has a very rich history’: Baylor history experts explore Black History with downtown walk 

Baylor’s Institute for Oral History experts will guide tour-goers through Downtown Waco for an educated tour focusing on Black leaders who have left a lasting impact on the city. Adrienne Cain Darough, M.L.S., assistant director and senior lecturer, is quoted about the importance of taking a deep dive into Waco’s past. 

Baptist Standard: Around the State: Baylor BSM building campaign progressing 

In this roundup, the BGCT building campaign to raise the initial $3 million toward a new Baptist Student Ministry center on the Baylor campus has passed the halfway mark. Baylor also will host the 2024 Collegiate Day of Prayer, an international evening of worship and prayer service focused on college-aged students. 

The Bridge: Montpelier’s Military Hero; America’s First Celebrity 

David A. Smith, Ph.D., senior lecturer in history at Baylor, presented a webinar on George Dewey, a Vermont native who was a military hero in the press and to the public but, according to Smith, also can be considered America’s first celebrity in popular culture and a pivotal figure during a turning point in American history.

Feb. 22, 2024

Waco Tribune-Herald: Launching into lessons 

In this photo series, Alex Yokochi, Ph.D., associate dean of research and graduate programs in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, is featured for the School’s efforts to bring hands-on activities to schools in Waco, Midway and China Spring ISDs to celebrate National Engineers Week.  

Feb. 23, 2023

Baylor Connections: Charles Ramsey

AUDIO: This year, Baylor will host the global broadcast for Collegiate Day of prayer, a centuries-old gathering for prayer and worship. Charles Ramsey, Ph.D., director for campus ministries & church connections and associate chaplain in Baylor Spiritual Life, has worked with organizations across campus and throughout the community in preparation for the event. In this Baylor Connections, Ramsey shares the heart behind the event, examines the importance of community prayer and considers the significance of the spiritual focus throughout the Baylor community.

Waco Tribune-Herald: Baylor breaks ground on Memorial to Enslaved Persons on Founders Mall

On Baylor University’s historic Founders Mall, members of the University and Waco community and the Baylor Board of Regents conducted a ceremonial groundbreaking of the Memorial to Enslaved Persons. The Memorial will recognize the enslaved men, women and children who were instrumental in building Baylor’s original campus in Independence, Texas. The groundbreaking also was covered by The Baylor Lariat, KXXV-TV (ABC/Waco), KCEN-TV (NBC/Waco) and KWKT-TV (FOX/Waco). 

CNBC: Baylor tops Ivy League schools in endowment rankings 

VIDEO: Baylor University has made its way to the top of university endowment performance rankings, beating all Ivy League schools. In this Halftime Report, Dave Morehead, chief investment officer, and Renee Hanna, who runs Baylor’s private investments, talk about strategies for success. This story also was covered by the Waco Tribune-Herald


Curtis Reynolds has been named vice president of business and finance and chief financial officer at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Reynolds holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham as well as an MBA from the University of Alabama.

Center for Faith & Culture: George Yancey: Moving Beyond Color Blindness and Antiracism 

AUDIO: In this podcast, George Yancey, Ph.D., professor of the social sciences in the Department of Sociology at Baylor, discusses the current state of antiracism and color blindness and finding a more productive path away from racism. 

Baptist Standard: Baylor panel wrestles with issues of war and peace 

Four panelists, including Baylor professors Joanne Cummings, M.A., retired U.S. Department of State Foreign Service officer, adjunct professor of political science and director of Middle East Studies at Baylor, and George Njung, Ph.D., assistant professor of African Studies in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core, shared their thoughts on borders and conflict in Africa and the Middle East during the panel discussion “Seeking Peace in Times of War: Hope or Hopeless?,” sponsored by the Keston Center for Religion, Politics and Society at Baylor.

Feb. 24, 2024

Waco Tribune-Herald: A. Christian van Gorder: Voting is key to eventual progress 

Christian van Gorder, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Religion at Baylor, writes in this opinion piece about the importance of voting even if social change and progress seems slow. 


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.