Baylor University Announces $30 Million Scholarship Challenge
Hord Scholarship Challenge aims to increase endowment support for student scholarships
WACO, Texas (Oct. 15, 2020) – Baylor University today announced a $30 million gift commitment from Dan and Jenni Hord of Midland, Texas. The Hords, both Baylor alumni, are passionate about student success, and through the Hord Scholarship Challenge, they are encouraging the collective Baylor Family to match their giving to Baylor by supporting merit-based scholarships to help deserving students bridge the gap between merit- and need-based financial aid and unmet financial need.
"It is always our hope that the best and brightest students who are drawn to Baylor University will be able to choose this community as their own," said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. "With the rising costs of higher education, we understand that these hopes are not always feasible without the significant support of our alumni, parents and friends in the form of scholarships. We are truly grateful for Dan and Jenni's transformational gift and their encouragement to the Baylor Family to join them in supporting our students. The Hord Scholarship Challenge will be a polestar to guide and inspire others in the Baylor Family as they consider how to most significantly impact the lives of Baylor students through philanthropy. We are deeply grateful for the Hord family's generous support of Baylor, our wonderful students and our Christian mission."
The Hord family's decision to provide such transformational support for Baylor and scholarships came about as they learned about the funding challenges many students face in coming to Baylor. Currently, more than 90 percent of Baylor undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid, whether from scholarship support, federal loans or private grants. For some students, having the right grades and accomplishments on their transcript may not be enough to bridge the divide between their financial aid offer from Baylor and their total financial need. Gifts to scholarships through such initiatives as the Hord Scholarship Challenge will empower the University to attract and retain students who have received merit awards from Baylor based on their success through high school rankings and standardized testing, yet still have unmet and inhibiting financial need.
"We recognize the incredible need for scholarships – we know this is one of the most fundamental needs as a student begins to make decisions about choosing a college," Dan Hord said about the family's decision to support scholarships. "On a micro-level, scholarships are such a personal, transformational gift for both the student and the donor. Our hope is that the Hord Scholarship Challenge offers the entire Baylor Family an opportunity to give sacrificially so that future generations of Baylor students are given the opportunity to fully embrace the Baylor experience. Our family has been shaped by our experiences at Baylor, and we are honored to be part of making that a reality for future students."
Dan (BBA '89) and Jenni (BBA '92) Hord are using their family's commitment to encourage other alumni, parents and friends to support merit-based scholarships. The Hord Scholarship Challenge's purpose is to raise awareness of the personal impact merit-based scholarships can make for students. The gift, which will be funded through a mix of current and estate giving, is intended to spark enthusiasm among the Baylor Family to come alongside their efforts and give an additional $30 million in gifts and pledges to Baylor in support of the Give Light Campaign by its conclusion in 2022. Alumni, parents and friends can join the Hord Scholarship Challenge by establishing new endowed merit-based scholarship funds or by making a commitment to an existing scholarship fund.
Scholarships make up a significant portion of the Give Light Campaign's priorities. Give Light is an ambitious $1.1 billion comprehensive philanthropic campaign for the future of Baylor. The campaign undergirds Illuminate, the University's strategic plan, and touches upon every aspect of campus life – academics, athletics, student life and service learning, while also bolstering financial support for Baylor's students and campus community. Increasing scholarship support continues to be a focus of the campaign, with 512 endowed scholarships created since its inception in 2014. The Hord Scholarship Challenge provides the spark to propel the University forward, encouraging alumni, parents and friends to join together and help ensure the campaign's successful conclusion results in even more support for Baylor's students.
The Hord family's legacy is strong at Baylor. Dan and Jenni have three children: triplets Davis, Ellie and Hunt. Davis and Hunt are seniors at Baylor, and Ellie is a senior at Texas A&M University in College Station. Dan is a partner in HEDLOC Investment Co. LLC, an oil and gas company, and Western Property Group, a commercial property development and leasing firm, both of which are located in Midland, Texas. Jenni is co-manager of Vanderpool Management, which is a commercial and residential property development and leasing firm.
Dan and Jenni are active in their communities, with Jenni serving as president of the Hord Foundation, which supports nonprofit organizations, and Dan supporting as a member of the board of directors. Dan also serves as a member of Baylor's Board of Regents and on the boards of directors for the Sharbauer Foundation, Young Life Texas Camp Committee and PathNorth. Jenni is a member of the board of directors for Humanities Texas and serves as co-chair of the Young Life Texas executive council committee, vice president of the Midland Memorial Hospital Forum and board member of the Midland Polo School. Dan and Jenni also serve as co-chairs of Baylor's Give Light Campaign National Steering Committee.
For more information or to support Give Light: The Campaign for Baylor, visit www.baylor.edu/givelight.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 19,000 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 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.