Baptist Baylor Picks First Female President

Business dean Linda Livingstone takes over in wake of the Texas university’s rape scandal.

America’s largest Baptist university will be led by a Baptist again.

Linda Livingstone succeeds Baylor University’s first non-Baptist president, Kenneth Starr, who was fired last year over the Texas institution’s bungled response to ongoing reports of rape on campus.

Livingstone, a former faculty member of Baylor and Pepperdine University, leaves her position as business school dean at George Washington University to become the Waco school’s first female president in its 172-year history.

“It’s not the first time in my career I’ve been ‘the first woman,’” Livingstone told the Baptist Standard. “I think I can take that on.”

Women make up about 16 percent of top leaders at evangelical colleges and nonprofits, while their status in secular organizations is well over double that, according to a 2014 study.

Though the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), of which Baylor is an affiliate member, has since named its first female president, fewer than 1 in 10 CCCU schools is led by a woman. Last month, the CCCU gathered more than 600 women at an event focused on female representation in faculty and administrative leadership positions.

The chair of Baylor’s board of regents, Ronald D. Murff, said the school was not looking for a woman in particular. He also didn’t mention the rape scandal fallout that Livingstone will inevitably lead Baylor though as its new president.

Livingstone’s appointment comes at “an important time for the university,” Murff said. “A longtime Baptist and former Baylor faculty member, she has a passion for the distinctiveness of Baylor’s Christian mission in higher education.”

The …

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