Baylor University Celebrates Newly Renovated Tidwell Bible Building
Renovated spaces will be home to religion, history and sociology departments, new hi-tech classrooms
WACO, Texas (Aug. 25, 2021) – During a ceremonial ribbon cutting, Baylor University today celebrated the opening of the newly-renovated Tidwell Bible Building, one of many historic buildings that make up the core of the University’s campus. The renovation and careful preservation of the 67-year-old building was planned as part of the $300 million in capital improvements to support the aspirations of the Give Light Campaign, the university’s fundraising campaign intended to fund Baylor’s efforts to become a preeminent Christian research university.
The project was funded through a lead gift of $15 million from The Sunderland Foundation of Overland Park, Kansas, and a completion gift from the late Barbara “Babs” Nell Baugh, of San Antonio, and The Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation. Representatives of the Sunderland Foundation and the family of Mrs. Baugh attended the event to celebrate the facility’s opening. The dedication and ribbon cutting were hosted by Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., and other University administrators, faculty and students in front of Tidwell and within the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foyer.
“Tidwell Bible Building is a much-loved landmark at Baylor University, and we are grateful to the Sunderland Foundation and the Baugh family for helping us to restore and preserve this wonderful piece of Baylor’s history,” President Livingstone said. “At some point in their Baylor journeys, practically all of our students have taken a class in Tidwell, which houses some of our core disciplines, and we are grateful that this Baylor tradition will continue on for future generations because of their generosity.”
The renovation began in May 2020 and was completed ahead of schedule, in time for faculty and classrooms to move in ahead of students’ return to campus for the Fall 2021 semester. In addition to improving infrastructure, the renovation of Tidwell’s 57,000 square feet dramatically expanded and enhanced areas devoted to academic instruction, faculty offices and community building.
“We are grateful for this new home for Baylor’s history, sociology and religion departments,” said Lee Nordt, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “Tidwell represents a rich history of Baylor’s faculty investing in students and inspiring them to investigate how their Christian faith animates their lives, and we are grateful that this space will continue to serve the needs of our students and faculty for generations to come. Thank you to the Sunderland Foundation and the Baugh family for helping us to preserve this important part of Baylor’s history.”
Tidwell Bible Building, which was originally dedicated in 1954, has served tens of thousands of Baylor students who have taken classes in Tidwell in religion, philosophy, history, sociology, nursing, modern foreign language and sacred music. The building was named after Baylor professor Josiah Blake Tidwell, who taught Scriptures classes for 36 years and was the founder of the current department of religion in 1910. The Tidwell Bible Building’s creation was initiated by 125 former students who met in 1936 to conceive a plan to honor his teaching. The resulting building with its 68 carved limestone panels tell the story of the Bible in an exterior panorama that encircles the building twice.
The facility will carry on a rich tradition of serving the majority of the University’s population as it houses faculty offices for the religion, history and sociology departments and features renovated technology-enabled classrooms and greater accessibility to enable technology-enhanced learning. Graduate seminar rooms, conference rooms and a dedicated graduate student lounge were also created through the renovation.
Important renovation components also include the preservation of the limestone carvings depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments and the stained-glass windows that shine in Miller Chapel, as well as the conversion of the Chapel into a two-story space for faculty offices. Before several new chapels were built on campus, Miller Chapel had served for decades as the primary chapel on campus.
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.