February 28, 2008

As we were preparing this issue, we came across an aerial photo of campus from around 1959, which can be seen on page 23. The picture highlights the campus after a decade of substantial growth boasting five new residence halls and a number of recently completed academic facilities, including Tidwell Bible Building, Morrison Hall, and the still-stunning Armstrong Browning Library, just to name a few. The majestic live oak trees of today are barely visible, and there is no I-35 or University Parks Drive. Waco Creek cuts a jagged path through the neighborhood which bordered Baylor's campus to the northeast. 
In the years that would follow, the University worked diligently to acquire additional land for the future expansion of the Baylor campus that would accommodate a growing student body and flourishing academic community. 
In this issue, we highlight a more recent period of significant growth at Baylor which began about a decade ago. Beginning on page 22, we offer a quick tour of more than a dozen new facilities that have been made available to the Baylor family within the past 10 years. The tour features academic facilities that impact almost every discipline, athletic facilities representing each of our men's and women's sports, and campus life and residential facilities that benefit the Baylor community from freshmen to faculty and staff and their families.
The dramatic growth on campus provides today's students with amazing opportunities for collaborative learning, community living and social interaction, physical training and recreation, and spiritual growth and contemplation.
In addition, we look further inside one of those new facilities, the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center, which opened in 2001 and houses the prestigious Baylor Law School. For some insight into what makes Baylor Law one of the most challenging and successful programs in the country, be sure to read "The best in Texas, bar none," beginning on page 38. Here's a hint on what we found: practice, practice, practice. 
Something that has remained unchanged for the past 10 years, or even the past 50, is Baylor's commitment to great teaching. We asked one of those responsible for such teaching, Rachel Moore--a Master Teacher and faculty member in the Baylor English department since 1966--to answer the question "What makes Baylor special?" Her initial reply was nearly twice the length we were looking for; it's tough to explain all that's good about Baylor in 1,000 words! We worked together and came up with the essay you'll find on page 46.
Always a trademark of great teaching, Moore points to meaningful relationships as among her fondest memories of her experience at Baylor. The student-professor relationship is a focus of another story in this issue which explores the benefits Baylor students receive from working with and learning from teachers and mentors who actively involve them in research and the discovery of new knowledge. "Research and relationship" discusses how Baylor's world-class professors engage and impact students in the classroom, the library and the laboratory. 
What makes Baylor special? Is it the great teachers, the unique opportunities for students, the excellent student body, or something else? We say all of the above--certainly more than we can cover in one issue. How about you?

Randy Morrison
Director, Baylor Magazine