BU announces $1.1 billion fundraising campaign

A rendering of the Mark & Paula Hurd Welcome Center. (Baylor University)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX)X Baylor University Friday announced a $1.1 billion campaign to fund academic endowments, athletics and new facilities, undergirding the school’s academic strategic plan “Illuminate.”

The “Give Light” campaign “will impact every aspect of campus life – from academics and athletics to student life and service learning – while also bolstering financial support for students, faculty and the campus community,” the university said in a press release Friday.

“Our commitment to position Baylor as the preeminent Christian research university has never been stronger,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone.

“For more than 170 years, Baylor has served as a source of illumination and inspiration to communities close to home and around the globe. In pursuing the success of Illuminate, we will articulate and embody an exceptional vision for 21st-century Christian higher education and produce graduates with the wisdom, innovation and leadership skills required to make a difference in the world.”

As part of the launch of the campaign, Baylor is celebrating a gift from 1979 graduate Mark Hurd, the CEO of Oracle Corporation, and his wife Paula that will fund the50, 000- to 60,000-square foot Mark & Paula Hurd Welcome Center on University Parks Drive.

“The Hurd Center will be a wonderful addition to our campus and we are immensely grateful to Mark and Paula for their transformational gift and support of the campaign’s launch,” Livingstone said.

“As they have on many occasions, the Hurds have stepped forward as champions of excellence and as shining lights for the vital role Baylor University plays in higher education.”

Hurd is also a Baylor regent.

The school says it has received $540 million during what it called “the silent phase” of fundraising, which started in May 2014.

The goal is to raise $500 million for endowed faculty chairs and professorships, scholarships and “growth priorities;” $300 million for immediate needs, the Baylor Fund, the Baylor Foundation and global learning experiences and $300 million for capital projects including renovation of the Tidwell Bible Building, the Hurd Welcome Center, an Honors Residential College, and a Research Accelerator including labs, specialized equipment, computing capacity and software.

Athletics projects include construction of a new arena to replace the 30-year-old Ferrell Center, a football operations center, and a practice venue for the school’s volleyball, acrobatics and tumbling teams.