April 21, 2017 – Heidrick & Struggles has placed Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., as the first female president of Baylor University. She becomes the school’s 15th leader. Past president, Kenneth Starr, resigned following a sexual assault scandal. Since 2011, 17 female Baylor students reported sexual or domestic assault charges against 19 football players at the university. This included at least four alleged gang rapes. Mr. Starr and celebrated football coach Art Briles lost their jobs in wake of the scandal.
With that backdrop, this search for Baylor’s next leader was exceptionally important. Baylor’s presidential search committee compiled feedback from more than 700 online input forms and listening sessions with more than 350 faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members and others as part of the search process. Chaired by Bob Brewton, the presidential search committee reviewed more than 400 candidate backgrounds, contacted 150 individuals for screening conversations and held first-round interviews with 61 candidates. The assignment had been underway for nearly six months.
“We had strong interest in the position from accomplished candidates both inside and outside of academia,” said Ronald D. Murff, chair of the Baylor board of regents. “Candidates admired Baylor’s significant growth over the past decade and saw tremendous potential in elevating the University’s academic profile even further while staying true to our Christian mission.”
The presidential search committee had a strong candidate pool coming from the traditional academic fields as well as nontraditional candidates from government, military and corporate life. “In the end, Dr. Livingstone’s experience uniquely fit the profile of the dynamic faith and transformational leader which Baylor needs at this point in time in our history,” said Mr. Brewton. Dr. Livingstone brings an accomplished academic career to Baylor. A longtime Baptist and former Baylor faculty member, she is said to have a passion for the distinctiveness of Baylor’s Christian mission in higher education.
“Dr. Livingstone met all our requirements,” said Drayton McLane Jr., Baylor regent emeritus and search committee member. “She, her husband and their family are outstanding, committed Christians. Dr. Livingstone has taught at Baylor and understands the Christian heritage which is so important to the University. I am very pleased with the outcome of our search and the strong leadership Dr. Livingstone will provide Baylor University.”
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Dr. Livingstone, who will begin as president in June, brings a distinguished academic career to Baylor. She currently serves as dean and professor of management at The George Washington University School of Business. Prior to George Washington, she served as dean of Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management and associate dean and associate professor in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business.
“I am humbled and honored to be selected as the 15th president of Baylor University,” said Dr. Livingstone. “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.”
Baylor University, known for rigorous academics and strong Christian values, is one of a small group of institutions in the country to receive an A for the strength of its core curriculum in a survey by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. Undergraduates choose from 142 degree programs, including pre-health care, engineering, and business programs, while graduate students pursue options covering more than 75 master and 41 doctoral programs. Baylor is a founding member of the competitive Big 12 Conference and fields 19 varsity athletic teams.
Baylor recently used Eastman & Beaudine to recruit Matt Rhule as its 27th head football coach. Mr. Rhule came to the school after four seasons as head coach at Temple University.
Heidrick’s higher education specialty practice is one of the best equipped in the search business. The search firm, in fact, pioneered work in the sector dating back several decades. The firm uses its global network of partners to identify and place leaders who bring the management skills and creativity required to accomplish educational missions.
The practice conducts higher education searches at public and private colleges and universities, including system head, chancellor, president, vice chancellor, vice president, provost, vice provost and deans, as well as functional roles to include chief financial officer, chief information officer, vice president of human resources, vice president of advancement and general counsel.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media