Around the State: Baylor opens on-site lab for weekly COVID tests

Baylor University enacted weekly COVID-19 testing requirements for students and opened its own on-site testing lab and research facility in partnership with My Labs Direct.

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Baylor University opened its own on-site COVID-19 testing lab and research facility in partnership with My Labs Direct. (Photo / Matthew Minard / Baylor University)

Baylor University enacted weekly COVID-19 testing requirements for students and opened its own on-site testing lab and research facility in partnership with My Labs Direct, a certified and accredited diagnostic lab that offers an extensive menu of FDA-approved tests. The multi-million dollar lab is one of the largest testing labs of its kind owned by a university with no affiliated medical school and addresses Baylor’s ongoing need to conduct extensive coronavirus testing of its faculty, staff and students. With the new capabilities, Baylor will have the ability to test 100 percent of the student body each week. The new partnership creates a lab at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative that will allow the university to operate at least three on-campus testing sites with the capacity to conduct up to 150,000 diagnostic tests from January through May. With additional capacity for processing non-Baylor community tests, the lab can process up to 8,000 more tests daily with most results available within 24 hours. In addition to providing extensive COVID-19 testing, they will provide other robust and high-demand testing capabilities, including forensic testing like genetic fingerprinting and paternity testing, food safety testing for food-borne pathogens, toxins and genetically modified organisms, livestock testing and human health diagnostic testing like rapid point-of-care influenza tests. Since the university opened for on-campus learning amid the pandemic in the fall of 2020, My Labs Direct has provided a majority of Baylor’s COVID-19 testing needs—about 35,000 tests. “We are pleased to join in partnership with My Labs Direct to build our own COVID-19 testing lab, which will greatly extend our campus testing capability and help us continue to keep our university community safe, healthy and on campus,” said Nancy Brickhouse, provost at Baylor. “This partnership also aligns with Baylor’s aspirations to be a Research 1/Tier 1 university, providing vital infrastructure and developing opportunities for faculty research and internships, practicums and business training programs for our undergraduate and graduate students.”

Texas Baptist Men disaster relief volunteers are helping distribute pre-packaged box meals and coffee to the staff and medical professionals who are administering the vaccines in Dallas.

In support of Dallas County’s mass COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Texas Baptist Men disaster relief volunteers are helping distribute pre-packaged box meals and coffee to the staff and medical professionals who are administering the vaccines at Fair Park, near downtown Dallas. Volunteers began serving Jan. 25, and the effort is expected to continue at least through the end of March. Each day, a TBM team leader and six additional volunteers will provide pre-packaged boxes of food to the doctors, nurses, staff and other volunteers who administer vaccinations. TBM is seeking volunteers—including church groups—to help staff the initiative. Shifts last from 6:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, email David.wells@tbmtx.org or call (214) 275-1100.

Dallas Baptist University held its fifth annual Unity Walk on the Hill in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. (Photo by Silas Bijja)

Dallas Baptist University marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day with community service and prayerful reflection. DBU students and staff began the day volunteering in the community kitchen at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Dallas. Later, DBU held its fifth annual MLK Unity Walk on the Hill. Participants spent time praying for peace and unity for the country led by Jay Harley, vice president for student affairs; Tempress Asagba, dean of students; Jake Bell, vice president of the Black Student Union; and Hadassah Examond, treasurer of the Black Student Union. As part of the Unity Walk, participants gathered for worship at the cross that stands between the Mahler Student Center and Patty and Bo Pilgrim Chapel. The worship service included remarks by DBU President Adam Wright; music led by Bob Brooks, dean of the Graduate School of Ministry; and a prayer for unity led by Lee Bratcher, director of the Institute for Global Engagement. The event concluded with King’s “I Have a Dream” speech recited by Pastor Bertrain Bailey of St. John Baptist Church in Dallas and a DBU trustee, and a closing prayer by Cendy Sanchez, vice president of the Hispanic Student Union.



Ralph Douglas West (left), founding pastor of The Church Without Walls in Houston, and Charlie E. Dates, senior pastor of Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago, have been appointed as affiliate faculty members of Truett Theological Seminary.

Ralph Douglas West, founding pastor of The Church Without Walls (Brookhollow Baptist Church) in Houston, and Charlie E. Dates, senior pastor of Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago, have been appointed as affiliate faculty members of Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary. “These godly and gifted ministers will add appreciable strength to our ongoing commitment to equip God-called people for gospel ministry in and alongside Christ’s church by the power of the Holy Spirit,” Dean Todd Still said. In the role of affiliate faculty, West and Dates will add significantly to Truett’s Doctor of Ministry and Ph.D. in Preaching programs, in addition to engaging with and contributing to the seminary’s Black Church Studies Program, he added. West earned his undergraduate degree from Bishop College, his Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his Doctor of Ministry degree from Beeson Divinity School at Samford University. He also serves as the W. Winfred and Elizabeth Moore Visiting Professor of Ministry Guidance for Baylor University. Dates earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his M.Div. and Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is an affiliate professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and NFL Chaplain for the Chicago Bears.

Daniel Carroll R. (Rodas), Scripture Press Ministries professor of biblical studies and pedagogy at Wheaton College and Graduate School, will deliver the 14th annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics at Howard Payne University, Feb. 4-5. He is the author of eight books, including Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible. He will speak on “The Bible and Immigration: The Scripture as Foundation and Compass” at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 4, and on ““Stories from Then and There that Resonate Here and Now” at 10 a.m. on Feb. 5. The lectures, which are free to the public, will be presented in the Mabee University Center’s Bullion Suites. The lectures also will be livestreamed on the HPU School of Christian Studies Facebook page for guests unable to attend in person. Visit www.facebook.com/hpuscs or www.hputx.edu/curriestrickland to access the livestreams on both days. To request reservations or more information, contact HPU’s School of Christian Studies at currie-strickland@hputx.edu or (325) 649-8403.

Richard Fountain, professor of piano at Wayland Baptist University, has been named to the Fulbright Specialist roster for 2021-25. Established in 2001 by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Specialist program is designed to send highly qualified professionals to host institutions around the world to share their skills and knowledge. Those chosen for the program will also gain international exposure, learn about other cultures and develop beneficial relationships that will carry on beyond the scope of the initial project. The specialist program focuses on short-term projects that last from two to six weeks. Fountain—who also is primary keyboardist for the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra and the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra—applied to the program and was selected by a peer review panel based on his qualifications, academic curriculum vita, letters of recommendation, suitability for specialist grant activity, communication skills, adaptability and overall benefit to the stakeholders. More than 150 countries participate in the Fulbright Specialist program with approximately 425 specialists traveling abroad each year. Specialists encompass 24 eligible disciplines and subject areas. Along with designing and conducting the initial programs, specialists are encouraged to continue working with host institutions following the initial projects, creating opportunities for ongoing cooperation.



The renovation of Howard Payne University’s historic Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom will benefit from a $600,000 challenge grant from the J.E. & L.E. Mabee Foundation. (HPU Photo)

Howard Payne University was awarded a $600,000 challenge grant from the J.E. & L.E. Mabee Foundation to benefit the renovation of the university’s historic Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom facility. The Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom houses the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, the university’s multidisciplinary honors program. The academy building is a Brown County landmark, incorporating the original building of Daniel Baker College, dating back to 1890, and housing a collection of MacArthur’s artifacts and other historical displays. The $2 million renovation project will focus on the building’s main hall and wings, dating back to the 1960s, which will bring the facility up to date and provide new life for its use by students, visitors and university personnel. The Midland-based Mabee Foundation has awarded more than $1.2 billion in grants since its founding in 1948. As stipulated by the challenge grant, HPU now has one year to raise the nearly $600,000 remaining to complete fundraising for the project.

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