Baylor names new president

Dr. Linda A. Livingstone. (Baylor photo)
Dr. Linda A. Livingstone. (Baylor photo)(KWTX)
Published: Apr. 18, 2017 at 2:09 PM CDT
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Baylor University named a new president Tuesday.

Dr. Linda A. Livingstone becomes the school’s 15th president, and the first woman to serve as the university’s president in Baylor's 172-year history.

“It is not the first time in my career that I have been the first woman doing something,” Livingstone said during a teleconference Tuesday afternoon.

“So I think I can take that on, and I'm looking forward to it. And I certainly appreciate the confidence the search committee and the board have shown in me as a leader,” she said.

She will begin the job on June 1, succeeding interim President Dr. David Garland, who was appointed after Baylor regents reassigned Chancellor and President Ken Starr on May 16, 2016.

Baylor regents approved the choice unanimously based on the recommendation of the 12-member Presidential Search Committee.

"When I had the opportunity to come back after being away for several years you know I felt like this was just really where God was calling me, where he was calling our family back to have this opportunity to provide leadership to Baylor at this particular point in time," Livingstone said.

She takes the reins at a critical time in the university’s history.

The school is under fire on a number of fronts in the wake of the sexual assault scandal that engulfed the Baylor football program.

The reform group, Bears for Leadership Reform, whose members include a number of prominent donors, is pressing for greater transparency.

The Texas Legislature is considering a number of bills prompted by the scandal, including one that would require Baylor, as a condition of the Tuition Equalization Grant program, to adhere to state open meetings and open records laws.

Investigations are underway by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, the Texas Rangers and the NCAA.

The Big 12 Conference is withholding 25 percent of future revenue distribution to Baylor pending the outcome of a third-party review of changes to the school’s athletic procedures and governance.

And the Southern Association of College and Schools’ Commission on Colleges has placed Baylor on warning for 12 months over issues related to the sexual assault scandal that engulfed the school’s football program.

In a statement issued on behalf of Bears for Leadership Reform, Houston attorney John Eddie Williams congratulated Livingstone.

“Baylor has a special place in our hearts. It is in desperate need of reform. We believe Dr. Livingstone can play an instrumental role in that process,” he said.

“We welcome Dr. Livingstone back home to Baylor where she was a beloved teacher, and we look forward to working closely with her to ensure positive reforms are made so that the Baylor Family can heal and move forward.”

Livingstone is now the dean and professor of management at The George Washington University School of Business, but earlier served as associate dean and associate professor in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business.

“Dr. Livingstone brings an accomplished academic career to Baylor, combined with a strong appreciation and support of Baylor's mission. A longtime Baptist and former Baylor faculty member, she has a passion for the distinctiveness of Baylor's Christian mission in higher education." Board of Regents Chairman Ronald D. Murff said in a press release announcing the selection.

Livingstone has been dean of The George Washington University School of Business since 2014.

Before joining the faculty there, she spent 12 years at Pepperdine University as dean of the Graziadio School of Business and Management.

Her career at Pepperdine corresponds with Ken Starr's tenure at the university, where he served as dean of the law school.

Livingstone is an Oklahoma native who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and business administration and a doctorate in management and organizational behavior from Oklahoma State University, where she was a four-year letter winner on the woman’s basketball team from 1978 to 1982.

She began her academic career at Baylor in 1991 as an assistant professor of management in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business.

She became an associate professor in 1997 and became associate dean of graduate programs in 1998, a position she held until leaving in 2002 to join the Pepperdine faculty.

"I chose to begin my academic career at Baylor in significant part because of Baylor's Christian mission. To return to Baylor to partner with the exceptional faculty, staff, students and administrators to fulfill the university's vision to be a top-tier research institution, committed to excellence in all aspects of university life, while strengthening the Christian mission is an opportunity I look forward to with enthusiasm."

Her husband Brad played basketball at Oklahoma State from 1978 to 1982 and the couple’s daughter, Shelby, recently completed he junior season as a member of Rice University’s volleyball team.

Brad Livingstone is dean of students and teaches history at Trinity Christian School in Fairfax, Va.

Livingstone was among 400 candidates reviewed by the Presidential Search Committee, which ultimately interviewed 61 of the candidates.