WACO—Baylor University regents at their February meeting approved the final phase and total project budget of $21.2 million for the restoration of Tidwell Bible Building.
The renovation will preserve the limestone carvings depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments and the stained glass windows in Miller Chapel. It also adds a prayer chapel that will provide a view of campus from the top floors of Tidwell, accessible by elevator for the first time in the building’s history.
Construction on the 57,000-square-foot facility is expected to begin in late 2020, with a reopening anticipated in 2022.
“Nearly every student takes a core course in religion and history in Tidwell Bible Building, so its much-needed restoration has been one of our top capital priorities,” said Board Chair Jerry K. Clements. “The project includes critical renovations to improve infrastructure while expanding and modernizing the learning environment. But just as important to all of us at Baylor is the careful preservation of the architectural significance of this truly historic and sacred building for future generations.”
President makes quarterly report to regents
President Linda Livingstone presented her quarterly report to the board, including updates on Baylor’s Illuminate strategic plan and the Give Light fund-raising campaign. She reported that the Give Light campaign has raised $841.3 million to date. Additionally, seven new endowed chairs have been created as part of the Baylor Academic Challenge, established as part of the university’s $100 million gift from last year.
Livingstone discussed Baylor 175, the university’s year-long celebration of its 175th anniversary. The observance began Feb. 1, the date of Baylor’s founding by the Republic of Texas in 1845, with activities continuing for the rest of the year.
“We are humbled to be the caretakers of such a remarkable legacy at Baylor,” Livingstone said. “The vision of our founders to establish a university that is ‘fully susceptible of enlargement and development to meet the needs of all ages to come’ calls us to build on our 175-year history and pursue even higher goals for the university’s impact on Texas and the world.”
Livingstone updated the board on the results of a research partnership between Baylor University and the Texas Business Journals that provide insights from nearly 600 Texas business leaders on the state’s business landscape and the role of higher education in preparing the workforce and partnering to find solutions to industry challenges.
Among the findings President Livingstone shared: More than seven in 10 respondents believe that it is important to the state’s future competitiveness to have more research universities, while eight in 10 either agree or strongly agree that a university research experience better prepares students for the workforce.
“Education is the backbone of our economy. As the business landscape grows and adapts to changing technologies, resource availability, regulations and worldwide competition, higher education must be nimble in the ways it prepares graduates to contribute to the future of a wide range of industries,” Livingstone said.
“As Baylor invests in a growing research enterprise and the pursuit of the highest level of research excellence through designation as a Research 1 university, and particularly in our role as a Christian research university, it is vital that we ask important questions about innovation, future challenges and the ways research partnerships address tomorrow’s needs.”
The president also discussed the overall climate for Baylor faculty, staff and students and the university’s ongoing work to provide a “safe, loving and caring community” for all members of the campus community.
Board approves new regents
The board approved new student, faculty and Baptist General Convention of Texas regents for the upcoming academic year, with terms beginning June 1.
Sher Isada, a junior University Scholar from Euless, will serve a two-year term on the board. She will serve her first year as a non-voting student regent, while current student regent Cassidy Parshall, a senior Baylor Business Fellow and finance major from Colleyville, will serve her second year as a voting member of the board.
Regents also approved Sara L. Dolan, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience and director of the graduate program in clinical psychology at Baylor, to serve a three-year term as faculty regent.
Michael Evans, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield and president of the BGCT, was approved by the board to serve a three-year term as a BGCT-elected Regent. Additionally, Dennis R. Wiles, pastor of First Baptist Church of Arlington, was re-appointed to the board to another three-year term as a BGCT-elected regent.