Plenary Session Speakers

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., President, Baylor University

Opening Remarks and University Welcome

Dr. Linda A. Livingstone began her tenure as Baylor University’s 15th president on June 1, 2017. A distinguished scholar and academic leader, she previously served as dean and professor of management at The George Washington University School of Business from 2014 to 2017 and as dean of Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management from 2002 to 2014.

Dr. Livingstone’s many academic and professional accomplishments include serving as chair of the board of the international Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) from 2014 to 2015. The AACSB is the professional organization for business schools and accredits hundreds of the best business schools globally across 53 countries and territories. She chaired the AACSB Committee on Accreditation Policy from 2015 to 2016.

Dr. Livingstone’s presidency marks her return to Baylor after time on the Waco campus from 1991 to 2002. She served as a faculty member and was awarded tenure in the Department of Management before serving four years as associate dean of graduate programs for the Hankamer School of Business.


Honorable Chet Edwards, W. R. Poage Distinguished Chair in Public Service, Baylor University

“We the People”: The Key to a “More Perfect Union”

Congressman Chet Edwards is respected on a bipartisan basis as a champion for America’s veterans and military families. He served Central Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives for 20 years, from 1991 to 2010. As Chairman of the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, Chet authored by far and away the largest increases in VA funding history – an historic 70 percent increase in funding for veterans’ health care. Chet authored into law the “Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry” program, which provides full GI Bill college scholarships for all children who have lost a parent in military service to country since September 11th, 2001. Respected military and veterans’ groups have awarded him for his national leadership on military and veterans issues. Chet is a Member of the Arlington National Cemetery Advisory Commission and serves on the Board of the Military Child Education Coalition.

Chet is a partner in Edwards, Davis Stover & Associates, a government relations consulting firm located in McLean, Virginia. He also holds the W. R. Poage Distinguished Chair in Public Service at Baylor University.


Elizabeth Ligawa, M.Div., MSW, Waco Community Advocate, Family Support Specialist, Waco ISD

Shine This!

Elizabeth Ligawa is a graduate from Truett Theological Seminary, and the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, earning both her Master of Divinity, and Master of Social Work. Though her prized role is being a mother to her dear son, Elijah, Liz has a love for Scripture, and for encouraging people to come together in ways that engender healthy communities. Her role as the Family Support Specialist for Waco ISD allows her the room to work in and among the many faces of her beloved Waco community.


Sharon Watkins Jones, Director of Political Strategies, ACLU-Texas

Civic Rights in Uncivil Times

Sharon Watkins Jones is Director of Political Strategies at ACLU-Texas. She is a University of Texas graduate. She is a former community college administrator, serving as a liaison to state associations, area chambers of commerce (including as a board member), trade organizations and local public school districts. Her career includes teaching public school and managing public affairs and public relations roles with Lockheed Martin, the Texas Railroad Commission, The Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Hill & Knowlton.