Baylor announces new university president

Baylor University has selected Dr. Linda A. Livingstone, current dean and professor of management at The George Washington University School of Business, as the institution's 15th president. Photo credit: Baylor Media Communications

By Kalyn Story | Staff Writer

Baylor has announced Linda A. Livingstone as the university’s 15th president. Set to take office June 1, she will be the university’s first female president. She is currently the dean and professor at the George Washington University School of Business.

Baylor Media reported in an email that Livingstone was the unanimous choice of the Board of Regents and was recommended by the Presidential Search Committee.

Before she was at George Washington University, she served as a dean of Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management and associate dean and associate professor in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business.

“I am humbled and honored to be selected as the 15th president of Baylor University,” Livingstone wrote in the email. “I chose to begin my academic career at Baylor in significant part because of Baylor’s Christian mission. To return to Baylor to partner with the exceptional faculty, staff, students and administrators to fulfill the University’s vision to be a top-tier research institution, committed to excellence in all aspects of university life, while strengthening the Christian mission is an opportunity I look forward to with enthusiasm.”

In a teleconference Tuesday afternoon, Livingstone said she is honored to return to Baylor and said Baylor’s faith and superb academics are the reasons she started her academic career at Baylor in 1991.

“Baylor holds such a unique and significant place in higher education, scholarship, academics, all while maintaining their Christian commitment,” Livingstone said. “I am looking forward to the future of Baylor, we have a tremendous opportunity here. There is tremendous passion among the Baylor family and I look forward to working with the entire Baylor community.”

Livingstone and Ronald Murff, chairman of the Board of Regents, both acknowledged the significance of Livingstone being Baylor’s first female president, but Murff said the committee did not seek out a woman president in light of the recent sexual assault scandal but rather searched for the best person for the job. He is confident Livingstone is the best selection.

“This is not the first time in my career I have been the first women to do something so I am certain I can take that responsibility on,” Livingstone said. “I am the right person regardless of what my gender is. I take [issues of sexual assault] very seriously, and they are important issues for every person in the community. At Baylor, we are going to do the right thing, certainly according to the law but beyond that, and provide a safe and healthy environment for our students.”

In the conference, Livingstone was asked point blank if every student found guilty of sexual assault would be expelled, and Livingstone said issues of sexual assault will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Livingstone’s time at Pepperdine University overlapped for almost six years with former Baylor President Ken Starr’s time as Dean of Pepperdine University’s School of Law.

When asked about new programs she would like to put in place, she said that before she decides anything she is going to do a lot of listening to and visiting with individuals on campus and across the university community.

“Foundationally and at the core of the university is the desire to strengthen the Christian mission and academia and to ensure the safety and security of our students, and those will remain top priorities,” Livingstone said.

Attorney John Eddie Williams, a member of Bears for Leadership Reform, issued a statement on behalf of the group, saying that they approve of the board’s selection.

“We believe Dr. Livingstone can play an instrumental role in that process,” Williams said in the statement. “We welcome Dr. Livingstone back home to Baylor where she was a beloved teacher, and we look forward to working closely with her to ensure positive reforms are made so that the Baylor Family can heal and move forward.”