Ad Unitatem: Toward Unity

January 12, 2024

Message from the Special Advisor to the President, Rev. Dr. Malcolm B. Foley

As we prepare to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, let us, as a community, consider some of Dr. King’s most powerful words.

In the final years of his life, following his legislative victories against segregation in the South, Dr. King moved his ministry to the North. Unfortunately, as he would later recall, he met more resistance in places like Chicago than he encountered in the South. Finding what he would later call the triple evils of racism, poverty, and war to be intertwined, his activism reached new heights.

In one of his later speeches, Dr. King powerfully defined love, power, and justice: “What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

This was Dr. King’s response to America’s brutal history of oppressing and exploiting African Americans through slavery, lynching, and Jim Crow. Even though he was entirely within his rights to rage against evil, he chose — as a true follower of Christ would — to love. When revenge was reasonable, he consistently pursued nonviolent direct action.

When we as a campus commit to justice and belonging, we are not committing to some kind of imposed agenda. We are committing to building communities of students, faculty, and staff that love instead of hate, collaborate instead of compete, and build up instead of tear down. In other words, we build communities that seek to obey Christ’s summary of the Law: to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

On January 15, as you observe the holiday, let it be a time of both rest and service to your fellow human beings. May these words of Dr. King’s, summarizing the parable of the Good Samaritan, ring in your ears: “The first question that the Levite asked was, ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”

May that spirit of solidarity suffuse all our relationships and work at Baylor!

Sic ’em, Bears!

Mark your Calendars

The University will be closed on Monday, January 15, in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A variety of events celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. King will be held throughout the community, including those noted below.

Monday, Jan. 15
Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace March and Observance, sponsored by the Waco chapters of Zeta Phi Beta and Phi Beta Sigma, will start at 8:30 a.m. Monday at Indian Spring Park, 101 N. University Parks Drive. At 9:30 a.m., the march will cross the Suspension Bridge to Bridge Street, where appointed speakers will honor Dr. King. A free lunch and educational program will follow with various community entertainers at the Waco Multi-Purpose Center, 1020 Elm Ave. For more information about the free event, call (254) 265-8604 or email

McLane Carillon Recital, noon Monday, presented in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day by University Carillonneur Lynnette Geary on the McLane Carillon in the tower of Pat Neff Hall. Listen from Founders Mall or the covered walkway along Draper Hall. The program of music will feature "[We Shall] Overcome Some Day," "This Little Light of Mine," "Precious Lord," and "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

MLK Day of Service Pop-up Lunch Counter, hosted by Delta Alpha Omega Chapter-Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. All community members are invited to a Pop-Up Lunch Counter in honor and celebration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from noon to 2 p.m. Monday at Wilbert Austin Park, 401 Hood St. in Waco.

MLK Share the Dream Panel Discussion, 4 p.m. Monday at Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary Stephen Breck Reid, Ph.D., vice provost for faculty diversity and belonging and professor of Christian Scriptures, will moderate a panel discussion on the ministry and legacy of Dr. King with panelists including Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., chair and professor, Journalism, Public Relations and New Media and Daniel Lee Hill, Ph.D., assistant professor of Christian theology. The event also will be available to view on Truett Seminary’s Facebook page.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil, 6 p.m. Monday at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, 300 MLK Jr. Blvd., Waco, Texas. Please bring a candle.

MLK Share the Dream Worship Service, 7 p.m. Monday in Truett Seminary’s Paul Powell Chapel. Leading the worship service is Stephen Newby, D.M.A., The Lev H. Prichard III Endowed Chair in the Study of Black Worship and professor of music, with the message shared by Baylor and Truett alumnus Joseph C. Parker Jr., D.Min., M.Div. ’97, senior pastor of David Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Austin. The Rev. Dr. Parker was Truett Seminary’s first Black graduate. The worship service also will be available to view on Truett Seminary’s Facebook page.

Tuesday, Jan. 16
I Have a Dream Tuesday, sponsored by the Department of Multicultural Affairs. Share your dream for your family, community, or the world and tag MA on Instagram.

Wednesday, Jan. 17
The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Luncheon, sponsored by the Department of Multicultural Affairs. NOTE: Registration for this event is now closed.

Friday, Jan. 19
King Me!, sponsored by the Department of Multicultural Affairs, featuring MLK-related trivia all day on Instagram.

In addition, during the upcoming observance of Black History Month in February, Baylor University will celebrate the diversity of the Baylor Family in a number of ways.

One of those will be a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Memorial to Enslaved Persons, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Friday, February 23. As Baylor continues to thoughtfully implement recommendations made by the Commission on Historic Campus Representations, this memorial will create new areas of reflection, gathering, and community on Founders Mall as we honor those “who were instrumental in constructing the original campus where Baylor University began its journey” in Independence, Texas.

The full schedule of Black History Month events on campus and in our community will be shared on the Multicultural Affairs website as the dates are finalized.