Baylor Officially Launches $1.1 Billion Give Light Philanthropic Campaign

November 2, 2018
Give Light

University celebrates lead gift from Mark and Paula Hurd to create new campus welcome center

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-710-6275
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WACO, Texas (Nov. 2, 2018) – On the eve of the University’s 109th anniversary Homecoming, Baylor University officially launched Give Light, a $1.1 billion comprehensive philanthropic campaign for the future of Baylor, during a celebration Nov. 1 on campus.

Give Light undergirds Baylor’s academic strategic plan Illuminate, and 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.

“Our commitment to position Baylor as the preeminent Christian research university has never been stronger,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “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 festivities surrounding the launch of Give Light, Baylor also celebrated a lead gift made by Mark, B.B.A. ’79, and Paula Hurd to create a new front door to the University – the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center. This transformational gift is one of the largest in Baylor’s 173-year history. The Hurd Welcome Center will be constructed at the entrance to Baylor’s campus on University Parks Drive alongside Interstate 35.

The Hurd Welcome Center is slated to be a 120,000-square-feet 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. Each year, more than 50,000 prospective students and their families visit campus, and Waco tourism has grown to more than 2.6 million visitors annually.

“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,” President 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.”

Mark Hurd is current CEO of Oracle and also serves as a member of the Oracle Board of Directors and the Baylor Board of Regents.

With the launch of the public phase of Give Light, the University celebrated the success of a silent phase that already has propelled the campaign to nearly half its goal. Fundraising during the silent phase began with the establishment in May 2014 of five-year goals connected to the strategic vision Pro Futuris. Since that time, members of the Baylor Family have given more than $540 million and positioned the University for success in raising a total of $1.1 billion.

Since the beginning of the campaign’s silent phase, 97 gifts of more than $1 million have been made to support University priorities. Recent gifts include $11.5 million from Mark and Jennifer McCollum to establish The McCollum Family Chair in Data Sciences among other priority areas, $2.5 million from Lynda and Robert Copple to establish The Lynda and Robert Copple Endowed Chair in Christian School Leadership, a naming gift from Stephen and Alyce Beard to establish The Stephen and Alyce A. Beard Chair in Business and Transactional Law, and a $28 million fundraising initiative for the recently dedicated Louise Herrington School of Nursing Academic Building in Dallas.

“The Give Light Campaign is a bold step toward a bright future for Baylor University,” said David Rosselli, vice president for university advancement at Baylor. “Our Baylor Family has truly been generous in supporting this institution, and we are building off of that firm foundation to help Baylor achieve the ambitious goals set by Illuminate, our Academic Strategic Plan. We agree with Dr. Livingstone that Baylor University can become a preeminent Christian research university, and with the support generated through the Give Light Campaign, we will achieve that ultimate goal. This is a historic time in the life of the University, and we are grateful for the alumni, parents and friends who have come alongside our efforts to illuminate Baylor’s future.”

Continued fundraising during the Give Light campaign will be focused on support of:

  • Endowed funds to equip faculty as teachers and researchers, provide student scholarships and launch growth priorities.
  • Expendable funds to support immediate needs, bolster athletics and provide global learning experiences.
  • Capital projects that add physical capacity for academic and athletic growth.

“This is an extraordinary moment for our University, and I am grateful for a Baylor Family that cares deeply for our students and gives light to the mission we pursue every day,” President Livingstone said.

For more information or to support Give Light: The Campaign for Baylor, visit


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.