Board of Regents increases budget, confirms strategic plan

The Board of Regents approved the operating budget, updated the university’s motto and teased the new strategic plan during the May meeting on Friday. Mesha Mittansala | Photographer

By Ashlyn Beck | News Editor

The Baylor University Board of Regents convened on Friday for its May meeting, reflecting on the 2023-2024 school year and looking to future goals for the university.

Topics in the meeting included approving the 2024-2025 operating budget, updating the university’s motto, confirming the next strategic plan and more.

At the meeting, the Board officially approved next year’s operating budget of $962.7 million — a 6.9 percent increase from last year’s budget, according to Board Chair William “Bill” Mearse.

“This budget should align with our five-year comprehensive resource plan and our strategic priorities and positions, as well for the growth and the success that we need for this coming year,” Mearse said.

Additionally, the Board officially concluded the Give Light philanthropic campaign, according to Baylor President Linda Livingstone. The campaign, which had an initial goal of raising $1.1 billion, raised over $1.5 billion by the end of May 2023.

“That’s quite a testament to the Baylor family and all of the individuals that contributed to that campaign, and really provided tremendous support that will be useful to support our faculty, staff and students for generations to come,” Livingstone said. “And it also kind of sets the bar high for us as we go forward.”

Additionally, the Board recognized Baylor’s standing as a top school for endowment performance, receiving a percentage return that topped all the Ivy League schools this past fiscal year and gained the attention of the Wall Street Journal in February.

“People who are connected to Baylor love Baylor deeply, whether they’re alumni or parents of students or friends,” Livingstone said. “I think it’s primarily because we have such a unique mission as a Christian university, as a power athletics university and as a Research 1 university.”

Livingstone said the Board also approved an update to the university motto. It now reads, “Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana, Pro Mundo,” meaning “For Church, For Texas, For World.” According to Livingstone, the addition of “Pro Mundo” reflects a longstanding desire for the university to expand its influence in academics, athletics and spirituality.

“[It] reflects the rise of the university to a Christian Research 1 university and the opportunity we have not just to have influence in Texas and across the country, but certainly around the world by the research that our faculty are doing that are answering really significant questions that we hope will help with human flourishing around the world,” Livingstone said.

Some other topics discussed in the meeting included celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Robins College of Health and Human Sciences, saying goodbye to four Board members, voting on Board and committee leadership and electing two new Regents, according to Mearse. Livingstone said she is thankful for the Board of Regents and its committed members, as well as their support in furthering new ideas such as Illuminate and the new strategic plan, which will be launched in fall 2024 and continue until 2030.

“I’m deeply grateful to our board for the support they provide me, they provide our administration,” Livingstone said. “We could not do the things we do and accomplish what we have with Illuminate and with the Give Light campaign that we’re concluding this month, or even be prepared to launch a new strategic plan, without the great support of our Board.”

There are many new things on the horizon for Baylor, according to Livingstone and Mearse. The Board will continue to further Baylor’s Christian mission, seek to develop students holistically and steward Baylor’s unique position as a Christian Research 1 institution.

One way Livingstone said she seeks to do this is through the new strategic plan, which was approved by the Board during Friday’s meeting and is scheduled to be launched in the fall.

“We will officially roll that plan out in the fall as we start the new year with faculty, staff and students all back on campus,” Livingstone said. “We’ll be working over the summer to prepare for that launch.”

The May meeting for the Board of Regents was a time to ask where the university is and what the Baylor family has to look forward to in the upcoming school year, according to Mearse and Livingstone. The next meeting is scheduled to take place July 24-26.

“The Board of Regents and the university are working well together,” Mearse said. “I’m confident as we look to the future and particularly as we look to the implementation of the strategic plan that the best of Baylor is still to come.”