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Baylor announces lead gift for $1.1 billion welcome center

Baylor University Nov. 2 announced a lead gift from Mark and Paula Hurd for the institution’s planned $1.1 billion comprehensive philanthropic campaign to create the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center.

Hurd is a 1979 graduate of Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business and current CEO of Oracle, an information technology company based in Redwood Shores, California.

“Baylor University provides all of its students the skills necessary to succeed in academics, sports, business and life,” Hurd said in a Baylor news release. “From the unparalleled expertise of its professors to a culture that fosters integrity, service and excellence – Baylor University continues to transform its students into tomorrow’s leaders.”

The pledge is part of the “Give Light: The Campaign for Baylor” fundraising initiative announced Nov. 1.

The Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center is planned as a 50,000- to 60,000-square-foot complex designed to create interest and enthusiasm in the University through a high-tech and interactive experience, and serve as the epicenter for academic, cultural and social activities, the university said.

Strategic development of the property surrounding the new facility is anticipated to include businesses that will solidify the center as a travel and visitor destination for both Baylor and the Waco community.

Hurd also serves as a member of the Baylor Board of Regents. In 2012, he was awarded the Baylor University Meritorious Achievement Award for his philanthropy and extraordinary service.

He and his wife, Paula, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, are Baylor parents and supported Baylor’s national championship tennis program by upgrading and renovating the Hurd Tennis Center, recently ranked by Tennis magazine as the best facility in college tennis.

“As we celebrate the official launch of Give Light, we are filled with deep appreciation for Mark and Paula Hurd’s leadership as co-chairs for our campaign and for their inspirational gift that will transform the Baylor campus,” said President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “As they have on many occasions, Mark and Paula have stepped forward as champions of excellence and as shining lights for the vital role Baylor plays in higher education as a Christian research university.”

Baylor, located in Waco, was chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas and is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. It has more than 17.000 students.

– FWBP Staff

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