Dean's Update - November 20, 2023

November 20, 2023

Dear Colleagues:

As the years of my life accumulate, the scope of my gratitude has also grown. Like you, I have much for which to give thanks. I acknowledge and feel gratitude more profoundly than at any prior point in my life. When we see everything within God’s divine economy, wherein gift and plenitude are watchwords, how can we not give thanks from the bottom of our hearts and the depths of our minds?

In reminding myself of what warrants gratitude, to whom thanks is owed, and of how inexhaustible God’s grace is, I turn often to the General Thanksgiving of the Book of Common Prayer. I hope you will join me in embracing this beautiful prayer of gratitude as we celebrate the national Thanksgiving holiday this week.

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.

We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.

And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts
we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

In our scholarship, research, and creative activity, may gratitude abound. In our teaching and mentoring of students, let us give thanks. In our service and leadership, may appreciation and joy sustain us; and in our families, neighborhoods, and congregations, may we abound in gratitude for “every good gift and every perfect gift . . . from above, coming down from the Father of lights.”

Speaking of gratitude, please note the following items of news and celebration within our academic community:

  • Let’s party! All faculty, staff, and friends of the Honors College are welcome to a come-and-go Christmas social at my home on Thursday, December 7 from 2:00-4:30 p.m. Festive hors d'oeuvres and beverages will abound. Weather permitting, we’ll gather at the neighborhood firepit, sing carols at the amphitheater, and enjoy other outdoor activities. Click here for directions, details, and an rsvp.

  • New offices are quickly taking shape on the first and second floors of Draper Academic Building. Walls have paint, ceilings have tiles, cabinetry is installed, and signage and furniture have been ordered. Work remains, from custom millwork to flooring throughout, but the spaces already look wonderful. Late afternoon, when construction workers have left each day, is a great time to take a sneak peek. Check it out!

  • In addition to a college-wide listening session in September in support of the Strategic Planning Group’s work, Honors College faculty contributed to at least a half-dozen white papers. They include a bold new vision of honors pre-health education, an interdisciplinary creation care initiative, an Oxford Christians certificate program, and others among many dozens of submissions. Thanks to all who participated in this phase of the SPG’s work. With you, I’m eager to see a new university-wide plan come together in the months ahead.

  • I’ve accepted two new roles. Beginning next month, I’ll join an ensemble cast of contributors to Likely Stories, a review of books that is broadcast by local NPR radio affiliate 103.3 KWBU-FM. The series airs weekly on Thursday at 7:44 a.m. and 4:46 p.m., Saturday at 8:34 a.m., and Sunday at 9:34 a.m., with episodes available anytime at Effective in January, I’ll begin a term on the National Board of the Lilly Network for Church-Related Colleges and Universities. Now in its fourth decade, the Network seeks to revitalize and deepen the religious mission of over 100 member institutions.

  • Kudos to Mike Whitenton, lecturer in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core, on partnering with Kevin Villegas, dean of intercultural engagement in Student Life, to secure a $14,000 grant from Interfaith America. The grant will support bridgebuilding and civil discourse activities planned this coming spring semester. Well done, Mike.

  • Congratulations to Michael Foley, professor of patristics in the Great Texts program, on publication of Lost in Translation: Meditating on the Orations of the Traditional Roman Rite (Angelico, 2023). An exposition of beautifully moving piety found in the orations of the Latin Mass, the book helps those without Latin to appreciate “one of the greatest achievements” of the Church. A “treasure-chest of tradition” and “a source of fresh inspiration,” Mike’s latest is well worth attention. Thank you, Mike.

All the best,

Douglas V. Henry, Ph.D. | Dean
Honors College | Baylor University | 254.710.7689