Baylor holds R1 celebration for faculty, staff

President Dr. Linda Livingstone gave a celebratory speech in honor of Baylor's newly earned R1 status. Camryn Duffy | Photographer

By Matt Kyle | Staff Writer

Baylor held a celebration for faculty and staff Monday in recognition of the university reaching R1 status — an achievement made in December 2021.

The event was held at the Baylor Club at McLane Stadium and featured catered food, live music and an appearance from Bruiser and Marigold. President Dr. Linda Livingstone, Provost Dr. Nancy Brickhouse and faculty regents Dr. Brian Raines and Dr. Sarah Dolan gave remarks thanking faculty for their role in reaching R1 status.

Following the remarks, green and gold confetti was launched over the inside of the Baylor Club, and members of the Golden Wave Band took to the football field to perform Baylor fight songs as fireworks were fired into the air.

Livingstone said Baylor wanted to throw this celebration in order to show faculty and staff how appreciated they are.

“Getting to R1 is 100% attributable to the work of our faculty and staff,” Livingstone said. “It’s based on a number of metrics related to research. The faculty are engaged deeply in that research; much of that, they’re engaged with students in research. Then there is a lot of staff all across campus that provide support and infrastructure to work with our faculty on that research. So it is very much a campus-wide accomplishment.”

Dr. Larry Lyon, dean of the graduate school, said achieving R1 status took significant time and building with the leadership of Livingstone. With R1 status now achieved, Lyon said Baylor will be able to elevate the level of research being conducted at Baylor.

“[R1] is a really big deal,” Lyon said. “It’s something that I’ve aspired for Baylor to achieve for over 20 years. It took Dr. Livingstone to come in and say, ‘Yes, we’re going to do this.’ Now, we’re interviewing some of the best faculty you can imagine. They are strong, committed Christians, and they’re also strong researchers. The university has made a major financial investment in research.”

In her remarks, Dolan said R1 status means Baylor has a spot among the top universities in the country.

“We get to show the world that we are well on our way to being the preeminent Christian research university,” Dolan said. “We have a much higher ceiling than we had before. It means we’re nationally recognized as an institution for the incredible work that we’re doing. But as everyone has said, this is not the goal. This is just a marker on our steep upward trajectory. This means we’re just getting started.”

Livingstone said faculty and staff went above and beyond to achieve R1 status three years earlier than originally projected.

“I don’t even know how to say the level of gratitude I have for all of you for helping us to achieve that goal so much quicker than we thought that we possibly could,” Livingstone said. “Over the next five years or so, we have tremendous upside opportunity to have an even greater impact to move that needle even further. So thank you for everything each and every one of you did to make this happen and to make Baylor such a really, really special place.”