• Hurds’ lead gift paves the way for new Baylor welcome center along I-35

    Hurd Welcome Center rendering

    For years, the plot of land at the corner of University Parks Drive and I-35 that used to be the Ivy Square shopping center has sat vacant — a green field of grass, just waiting to be put to the perfect use.

    Now we have it.

    A generous lead gift from Mark (BBA ’79) and Paula Hurd — one of the largest in Baylor’s history, and tied in with the launch of #GiveLightBU — will pave the way for the creation of a new welcome center at Baylor’s most prominent entrance.

    The Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center will be a touchpoint for both alumni returning to campus and prospective students and their families visiting the Baylor campus. An approximately 55,000-square-foot “experience center” will tell Baylor’s story through interactive exhibits and displays, serving as a front door to campus for visitors of all ages. Future development on the property could add retail businesses (including a spirit shop), restaurants, even a boutique hotel; those decisions will be made as the project progresses.

    Hurd, a 1979 Baylor business graduate, today serves as CEO of Oracle, one of the world’s largest enterprise technology companies, and on Baylor’s Board of Regents. In 2012, he was awarded the Baylor University Meritorious Achievement Award for his philanthropy and extraordinary service, which has previously included a lead gift in 2011 that helped upgrade the Hurd Tennis Center, which was ranked by Tennis magazine as the best facility in college tennis.

    The Hurds’ gift was revealed as part the launch of “Give Light,” the university’s $1.1 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign. Funds raised through the campaign over the coming years will touch virtually every area of the university, from student scholarships and endowed faculty positions to capital projects and area-specific funds. In addition to the Hurd Welcome Center, planned capital projects include a restoration of Tidwell Bible Building, an expanded Honors Residential College, a new home for Baylor basketball and new operations space for Baylor football.

    Sic ’em, Mark and Paula Hurd!

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