Spring has sprung: A look back at the semester’s hallmark moments

A look back at some of the semester's most exciting moments. Photo illustration by Grace Everett.

By Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writer

Baylor sprung into the unknown this spring semester. From the achievement of R1 status and remodeling plans to the success of the Give Light Campaign and new COVID-19 policies, the Baylor Family has witnessed a number of hallmark moments that will go down in Baylor history.

Over winter break, on Dec. 16, 2021, President Linda Livingstone announced Baylor’s achievement of R1 status. Later on, in the Board of Regents meeting held on Feb. 19, plans revealed that after reaching this goal, the university would turn its focus toward improving students’ experience — an endeavor that includes renovations.

Livingstone said renovations for Collins Hall will begin in May after move-out and are scheduled to conclude by summer 2023. During renovations, the 600 women who usually live in Collins Hall will reside in other dorms or at Cityside — Baylor’s first hotel-turned-dorm.

On Feb. 3, Livingstone announced that Baylor’s Give Light Campaign surpassed its goal of $1.1 billion. According to a Baylor press release, the campaign was created in 2018 “to fund the academic aspirations and infrastructure needs to support ‘Illuminate,’ the University’s strategic plan to become a preeminent Christian research university.”

Throughout February, Baylor embraced Black History Month. Between celebrations, Livingstone announced the artist for the statues of Baylor’s first Black graduates, which will be placed in front of Tidwell Bible Building. A sculptor with almost 20 years of experience, Benjamin Victor is working to complete the statues of Robert Gilbert and Barbara Walker by the fall 2023 semester.

After beginning the semester with a mask mandate that required all students, faculty and staff to wear masks in classrooms and labs, Baylor announced on Feb. 17 that it would be lifting the mask policy on Feb. 21. After a year and a half of mask enforcement, students saw their classmates’ and professors’ full faces in person for the first time.

On April 19, Baylor officially chartered its first LGBTQ+ and allies student organization: PRISM. After beginning the process in the fall 2021 semester, Heber Springs, Ark., senior and PRISM president Lor Duncan said they, along with other student volunteers, worked on creating a constitution to begin the chartering process. The goal of the organization is to create an educational space for LGBTQ+ students and allies.

As the semester wrapped up, Baylor also had a record number of students receive competitive international scholarships. Approximately 18 students received prestigious scholarships, including the Fulbright, Truman, Goldwater, Churchill and Critical Language scholarships.

With all of these headlines in one semester, students, faculty and staff can expect next semester to be chock-full of campus improvements and achievements.