Gift Pushes Baylor Campaign Past $1 Billion

Baylor University, a private Baptist university based in Waco, Texas, has raised $1 billion toward the $1.1 billion goal of its Give Light Campaign. The campaign is a capital improvement effort geared toward improving all aspects of campus life, including academics, athletics, service learning and student life. 

The gift that put the campaign over the $1 billion mark was a $7-million donation from philanthropist Paula Hurd. Overall, more than 77,000 alumni, friends, parents and staff have contributed to the Give Light Campaign.

This $7 million gift, the most recent from Hurd and her late husband Mark, will be put toward the Baylor Basketball Pavilion, which will house Baylor’s men’s and women’s basketball program. Baylor will recognize the most recent gift by naming one level of the pavilion the Mark and Paula Hurd Floor at the Baylor Basketball Pavilion. Earlier this year, Baylor’s men’s basketball team won its first NCAA Basketball Championship.

The Give Light Campaign seeks to further activities that provide an “unambiguously Christian education environment”; create transformational undergraduate education experiences; boost the impact and visibility of Baylor’s research and scholarship; and foster nationally recognized arts and athletics programs, according to Baylor’s foundational pillars.

The Hurds had kicked off the Give Light Campaign in November 2018 with a gift of an undisclosed amount. The Hurds’ inaugural gift for the Give Light Campaign followed a silent fundraising phase started in May 2014. That phase raised $540 million toward the overall $1.1 billion goal. The November 2018 gift was large enough to give the Hurds naming rights to the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center, a $60 million project that broke ground in February 2020. It also funded the Baylor Basketball Pavilion and the Football Operations Center.

Construction on the Welcome Center is scheduled to begin this month, and is targeted to be finished by May 2023. In addition to substantial infrastructure investment, Baylor has created more than 582 scholarship funds as part of the campaign since its beginning.

Paula Hurd, whose alma mater is the University of Texas is an “Alumna by Choice” of Baylor. Her late husband Mark Hurd, who had served as CEO of computer technology firm Oracle Corp., attended Baylor on a tennis scholarship and earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in 1979. Mark Hurd died in 2019 at age 62.