Hurd Welcome Center now open as Baylor’s ‘front door’ to campus
In 2018, a generous gift from Mark (BBA ’79) and Paula Hurd was announced that would pave the way for a new welcome center at the corner of I-35 and University Parks Drive — a new front door to campus, welcoming visitors of all kinds.
After years of planning and construction, the Hurd Welcome Center is a reality at last, now open to welcome Bears of all ages. Visitors are invited to stop in and look around, even as the Hurd’s daily operations are still coming completely online. (Prospective students on official campus visits should follow the instructions in their visit confirmation.)
The building’s four columns are the centerpiece of the incredible Carlton Hall into which guests first step. A callback to still-standing original columns at Independence, these columns offer a unique, interactive experience for visitors. Words fall short of explaining just what each column offers; you’ll have to come see it for yourself to fully understand.
Other details around the Hurd offer subtle nods to other parts of Baylor and Waco history. The Spirit Shop (with its Nike “store within a store”) is now open, and Varsity Coffee & Soda (with its Dr Pepper-infused specialty drinks) will open soon — giving Bears two more reasons to visit. Other highlights of the Hurd include the McLane Family Alumni Center (the “living room” of the building) and the Fudge Family Auditorium (which offers a striking, unique view of campus). Also coming soon to the Hurd: the first electric vehicle charging stations on campus.
An incredible “Thank you!” goes out to all who helped make the Hurd Welcome Center a reality. The Hurds gave the lead gift, but many other Bears’ generosity have together made the new welcome center possible.
The Hurd Welcome Center will “officially” open on September 8 with a public ribbon-cutting (and a Bailey Zimmerman concert for students) — but you don’t have to wait until then to step inside. Whether you’re passing through Waco on an end-of-summer vacation, headed this way for start-of-school activities, or just plain curious, feel free to stop by and check out the newest building on the Baylor campus. (As of 8/23, the building is open Monday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sundays from 2-10 p.m.)
Sic ’em, Hurd Welcome Center!
[Want to learn more about how the Hurd came to be? Tune in to live webinars on August 8 and August 17 to hear from representatives at Vaughn Construction and Populous Architectural Design.]