September 2, 2008

With each new semester comes an element of change and transition, and this fall that is even more true than usual. Just two days before we went to press, the Board of Regents announced that Dr. David E. Garland, dean of Truett Seminary, would serve as the University's interim president during a nationwide search for a permanent president. 

Garland joins Dr. Elizabeth Davis, recently named interim provost, as the top two administrative appointments during an exciting time of growth and progress at Baylor. The campus news section of this issue offers more on the recent administration changes beginning on page 6.

As I finish this column, even more changes are taking place in the lives of some 3,000 new freshmen arriving on campus for the start of school. Welcomed by an army of volunteers from among the faculty, staff and student body, cars just down the street are being quickly and efficiently emptied of mini-refrigerators, ironing boards, computers and wardrobes, after which the excited freshmen and anxious parents are escorted into campus to begin the college journey.

As I see the new students and their families explore campus, I always wonder--what part will they play in the Baylor story? What part will Baylor play in theirs? 

These students came from all over the country and all over the globe to join thousands of other talented and ambitious individuals eager to impact the world. Many Baylor students will use their college years not only for training, but also to begin making a difference in the world around them. 

In this issue you'll hear from some of those students first hand. Over 160 students and faculty traveled abroad during the spring and summer on a number of University-sponsored mission trips. They share some of their life-changing experiences with us "In their own words" beginning on page 34. Their accounts are gripping, personal and sometimes heartbreaking, as they share what they experienced while teaching the deaf in Honduras, and ministering to the sick and suffering in war-torn Rwanda. 

Another group of Baylor students was motivated by shock and heartache last fall when a friend confessed to having attempted suicide. In response, the group decided to embark on an incredible 4,600-mile journey by bicycle to Anchorage, Alaska, both as a demonstration that life is worth living and to raise awareness about an all-too-common problem among college students nationwide. Lane Murphy caught up with these five students near the halfway point to gain some insight into what they had learned on the journey and what they were able to share with others. You can read about their inspirational efforts in "5 Alive" beginning on page 40.

In Dallas, it's the students and faculty of Baylor's Louise Herrington School of Nursing who have been impacting the lives of others every day for nearly 100 years. "In good hands," beginning on page 26, takes a look at some of the students, administrators and alumni who are the face of this highly recognized program. As the demand for qualified nurses and nursing instructors continues to grow, it is good to know that the LHSON is producing some of the nation's best.

Of course, fall means not only the start of school but also the start of football season, and this fall brings another big change, as new head coach Art Briles takes the reigns of the Baylor football program. When this issue went to press, the Bears were preparing for their season opener against Wake Forest. Be sure to read "The Art of football" to get to know Baylor's new head coach, and then check the schedule on page 19. Tune in or turn out to cheer on the Bears this fall!

Sic 'em, Bears!

Randy Morrison
Director, Baylor Magazine