President announces renovation plans for board, buildings, budget

In the most recently released Presidential Perspective email, President Linda Livingstone shared some new developments about the Baylor University family. According to the email sent out on Friday afternoon, the Board of Regents filled six seats during their July retreat, renovations are planned for the Umphrey Law Center and tuition prices have increased by four percent for the 2019-2020 school year.

The six new board members attended an orientation on July 17, where they learned the ins-and-outs of the Baylor Board of Regents procedures. Since October of last year, the board has been overhauling its membership, and currently one-third of the 43-member group is comprised of new members. The newest additions to the group include some well-accomplished Baylor adjacents selected by both alumni and the board itself. Malcolm B. Foley, Katie Jo Baumgardner Luningham, Rene Maciel, Michael McFarland, Todd Reppert and Gordon Wilkerson all grace the list, and have been carefully selected for their outstanding accomplishments and their devotion to the Baylor mission to “educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.”

Among those preparing for the inclusion of six new members is Joel T. Allison, chairman of the board.

“The Board is pleased to welcome our six new Regents, including new alumni-elected Regents and a new student Regent, who all are passionate about serving Baylor and the Baylor Family and excited about the University’s future,” Allison said.

However, the addition of new board members is not the only change on the horizon for Baylor. Livingstone also announced plans to renovate the Umphrey Law Center this coming year, including added space for the Pro Bono law Clinic, moot court and the Baylor Law Review offices. With the additional space, and a new landscaped courtyard in honor of the Wallace Family, the new Umphrey Law Center will be the first thing students see as they drive down University Parks.

According to the email, nearly 3,400 new students will be joining the Baylor family this coming semester. These new students are coming in as some of the most highly-qualified students in Baylor history, and can be looked at as proof of the progress on Livingstone’s Illuminate Academic Strategic Plan. Livingstone called in Baylor professor and strategic expert on strategic management Greg Carini, Ph.D, to speak on the success of the Illuminate project at a recent meeting with the Illuminate creators.

“I’m grateful to Dr. Carini, our academic leadership and faculty for their dedication and engagement in this important process,” Livingstone said. “We have received excellent feedback on philanthropic support for Illuminate and are excited to launch the plan in earnest this fall.”

With so much work being done to reach the goals set forth in Illuminate, there were bound to be costs. The biggest expense so far seems to be in the rise of tuition fees for the 2019-2020 school year. The last item addressed in the Presidential Perspective email was the budget, and although Baylor’s flat rate tuition has not caused a rise in lab fees or parking fees, students can expect to see a larger number on their fall 2019 bills. However, Livingstone assured the public that these rises in tuition are not directly benefiting the Illuminate project.

“We have committed that Illuminate will not be funded through undergraduate tuition increases and that instead we will seek expansion of our graduate professional programs and new revenue streams,” Livingstone said. “This is critical to advancing Illuminate and providing our students with the highest quality Christian education while maintaining affordability. Baylor’s future is indeed bright, and I look forward to continuing to work alongside our extraordinary faculty, staff, students and Baylor Family and achieve our aspirations as a top-tier Christian research university.”