WACO, Texas — Baylor University selected a new president to guide the nation’s largest Baptist school on Tuesday, picking the first female leader in its 172-year history as the campus wades through a sexual assault scandal that chased out her predecessor and led to several lawsuits and investigations.
Linda Livingstone comes to Baylor from George Washington University, where she is a dean and professor of management. Her academic career includes previous administrative and teaching roles at Pepperdine University and Baylor.
Livingstone returns to Baylor at a time the school faces federal lawsuits from more than a dozen women who contend that school officials ignored or suppressed their sexual assault claims and fostered a culture of rape within the football program. The school also faces a state criminal investigation and civil rights probe by federal education officials.
A Baylor investigation report in 2016 found the school mishandled sexual assault claims for years and the football program operated as if it was above the rules. Football coach Art Briles was fired and former President Ken Starr was demoted and later resigned. David Garland had been acting as interim president.
In a statement released by Baylor, Livingstone said she is “humbled and honored” to come back and said the 16,000-student school is “committed to excellence in all aspects of University life, while strengthening the Christian mission.”