Before I begin this column and talk about my hope, I must acknowledge the strong women who have come forward about their experiences with sexual assault at Baylor and at other universities and have persevered even when they might have lost hope. They are examples of inner toughness and courage. Their strength inspires my hope. And while I reflect on this concept, they are living it every moment of every day, intuitively.
These women have affected legislation that will help victims in the future and they have prompted radical changes on our campus and others nationwide. And as they work daily to heal, I hope they know they have influenced these positive changes in our school, our state and beyond. I believe the knowledge of that may give them some new hope as well.
“We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
I did not realize I had been missing hope until I began to feel its glimmer at the Baylor Line Foundation board and membership meetings in June. After an era that lasted more than fifteen years and was marked by a culture of division and acrimony that culminated in the numbing grief and heartbreak we experienced over the last year, I began to remember the positive feeling of hope I had been missing.
The catalyst for this hope? First, the new Board of Regents chair Joel Allison attended our gathering. His presence, we felt and hoped, was a foreshadowing of the beginning of critical fence mending between the university leadership and the BLF. We were thrilled, too, to welcome alumni-elected regent, Wayne Fisher, to our executive committee meeting and newly elected alumni regent, Melissa Purdy Mines, to our larger membership meeting. Even before our meeting, the regents’ new vice chair, Dan Chapman, reached out to the BLF as well.
“Hope and optimism are important elements of our lives. I was pleased to meet with Baylor Line Foundation officials on Flag Day to discuss hopeful thoughts going forward. We all have as a high priority restoring and improving our relationships with our fellow alumni. I’m proud to serve as one of the three initial alumni-elected regents and as a Life Member of the Baylor Line Foundation. I’m optimistic!” – Vice Chair Dan Chapman
There is hope in the new regent leadership. The addition of new faces including alumni-elected regents, plus faculty and student regents, gives me hope that our culture will be less like a nation and more like a family again. I believe the majority of this board recognizes the awesome responsibility that comes with being a self-perpetuating body.
I believe there will be a return to a true fiduciary-minded board that will work hard to represent the interests of all Baylor alumni and stakeholders. I believe this board recognizes the importance of openness, honesty, candor and accountability to those same stakeholders and alumni.
I believe charity, grace, trust and integrity will again serve as an appropriate and faith-filled contrast to bullying, alienation, legal maneuvering and manipulation. I believe that reconciliation can be a reality, not just a dream.
There is hope in our new leadership at Baylor. Dr. Linda Livingstone brings with her a fresh perspective and new energy. She is well respected in academic circles and among her peers. She has had experience in college athletics as well and understands the inherent pressures and the need for proper balance. I believe Dr. Livingstone will be an effective and wise leader at this critical time in the life of Baylor. We look forward to working with her.
Even more sources for hope: Baylor University continues to have a top-notch, caring faculty—professors who see students as their top priority. Baylor continues to attract outstanding students—a blend of diversity and a legacy on which to build. Baylor continues to encourage academic dialogue, debate and research within a Christian context, and we know how to do that very well.
The Baylor Line Foundation is ready to do its part. We are set to renew our focus on the future and on working with Baylor stakeholders to provide encouragement, support and resources to help Baylor be all she can be. In 2017, we will begin working on a strategic plan that will have at its core a positive vision about what we can do together.
We are committed to supporting the university we love and to reminding others and ourselves why we love Baylor. We want to be a part of moving forward with integrity and honor. We want to support Baylor University and encourage others to do so.
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein
Will you please join us?
I close with the following prayer from my friend and predecessor, Fred Norton.
May providence guide us as we onward go,
Jackie Baugh Moore, ’86