Baylor partners with Lowell Observatory, Discovery and city of Waco for 2024 total solar eclipse

By Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writer, Video by Pierson Luscy | Broadcast Reporter

An eclipse will be crossing over Waco on April 8, 2024. Baylor partnered with Lowell Observatory, Discovery and the city of Waco to celebrate and prepare for the eclipse expected two years from now.

On Friday, Baylor and its partners for the Eclipse Over Texas event gathered at McLane Stadium to discuss their plans to celebrate the day.

“I am so thankful that Waco is uniquely positioned to be the center of this enormous event,” Waco Mayor Dillon Meek said.

Meek also said working alongside partners like Baylor, Lowell Observatory and Discovery is a huge opportunity for the city.

“To welcome residents and visitors to this very exciting 2024 total solar eclipse,” Meek said. “It’s interesting to me that hotel rooms in Waco are already filling up, so if you’re interested in coming to Waco, now’s the time to start booking hotels.”

Additionally, Meek said culturally, the word ‘eclipse’ — besides being used to describe how the moon passes in front of the sun — is also used as a way to describe something outshining something else.

“Waco is a city that is shining really bright right now,” Meek said.

Jason Cook, vice president for marketing and communications and chief marketing officer, said there will be many people visiting Waco in 2024 just to see the eclipse, and they are excited about it.

“It’s been a really big time for Baylor University, and with the eclipse, we’re really excited about extending all the success for the next two years,” Cook said.

Cook also said one of the benefits of Baylor being an R1 status university is that it allows for them to embark on big partnerships like those with Lowell Observatory, Discovery and the city of Waco.

According to Cook, Lowell Observatory is one of the highest research places for astronomy in the United States. He also said Discovery has an incredible platform to share what is happening with science and technology. Lastly, Cook said partnering with Waco brings preparation on how to bring thousands of people to the city for the event.

“So here at Baylor, we have a slogan that would say, ‘Baylor is where lights shine bright,’” Cook said. “So for one day — and one day only — we’re going to change our saying to where it says, ‘Baylor is where darkness shines the light.'”

Dr. Danielle Adams, chief marketing and revenue officer of Lowell Observatory, said Lowell is most likely known for being the observatory that discovered the planet Pluto in 1930.

“We have a number of astronomers and planetary scientists doing research, from the closest regions to Earth all the way to the edges of the galaxy,” Adams said.

Additionally, during the press conference, a video clip of Jeffrey Hall, executive director of Lowell Observatory, played. He said that today, the education and outreach staff is dedicated to bringing the wonder and excitement of their discoveries in astronomy and science to the public.

“That’s why we are so thrilled to be part of this collaboration with the city of Waco, with Baylor University and with Discovery to bring you the April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse,” Hall said.

The last partner message was given through a video clip of Scott Lewers, executive vice president of multiplatform programming and head of content in science for Discovery. He said at Discovery, they thrive on bringing people on epic adventures and giving them a front-row seat to once-in-a-lifetime events they can’t see anywhere else.

“We all know there is nothing like the collective nature of science to bring the excitement and wonder about the world around us,” Lewers said.