Baylor University’s Give Light Campaign Reaches $1 Billion Milestone with Gift from Paula Hurd

May 13, 2021

Gift names floor at Baylor Basketball Pavilion

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (May 13, 2021) – Baylor University today announced a leadership gift to the Baylor Basketball Pavilion from Paula Hurd, marking progress on the Pavilion and surpassing a significant milestone for the Give Light Campaign. This gift pushes total gifts to Baylor through the Give Light Campaign over the impressive $1 billion mark, the most the University has ever raised during one campaign effort.

Paula’s gift will be recognized through the naming of the Mark and Paula Hurd Floor at the Baylor Basketball Pavilion, honoring Paula, who is a current member of Baylor’s Board of Regents, and her late husband, Baylor alumnus and former Baylor Regent Mark Hurd, B.B.A. ’79.

Paula's $7 million gift marks significant progress in fundraising for the Baylor Basketball Pavilion, which will serve as the new home for Baylor’s men’s and women’s basketball programs. The Pavilion is one of the priority capital projects within the $1.1 billion Give Light Campaign, which aims to create endowment and infrastructure to support Baylor’s aspirations of becoming a top-tier research university.

“We are truly grateful for Paula’s continued commitment to Baylor University and our vision for building toward Baylor’s future,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “Three years ago, Baylor University announced Mark and Paula’s leadership through a gift naming the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center, which effectively launched the public phase of fundraising for the Give Light Campaign. We are truly honored that the Hurd family’s generosity once again marks a significant milestone of $1 billion raised through the campaign. I am grateful for the Hurd family’s generous gift that is helping once again to ensure we have top-tier resources and facilities for our students and the Baylor Family.”

The Hurds’ gift naming the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center was the first major gift announced as part of the November 2018 public launch for Give Light: The Campaign for Baylor, the University’s $1.1 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign. One of the largest gifts in Baylor’s history, the Hurds’ gift launched fundraising for three priority capital projects included in the Give Light Campaign: the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center, the Baylor Basketball Pavilion and the Football Operations Center. Construction on the Hurd Welcome Center is scheduled to begin in June 2021.

“The Baylor Basketball Pavilion will be a destination for the Baylor Family, and my family is proud to be able to contribute to this project,” Paula Hurd said. “Mark was a tennis student-athlete at Baylor, and the experience and discipline he gained from his time as a Baylor Bear shaped the way that he approached his career and led in the corporate world. We are excited to watch Baylor play in this beautiful new space, and we hope that they experience that same supportive, enriching environment. We hope that legacy continues.”

An Alumna by Choice, Paula Hurd has been a longtime, dedicated member of the Baylor Family. A graduate of the University of Texas in 1984, Paula became connected to Baylor University through her husband, Mark. Mark Hurd was CEO of Oracle Corp. and a member of Oracle’s board of directors, and also was serving as vice chair of the Baylor Board of Regents at the time of his death in October 2019. He attended Baylor on a tennis scholarship, lettering for two years in the sport, and graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Mark and Paula married in 1990 and have two daughters, Kelly, B.B.A. ’14, and Kathryn.

Throughout the years, Mark and Paula invested in the success of many programs at Baylor, including the tennis programs, where Mark saw success as a student-athlete. The University’s Hurd Tennis Center continues to top many lists as a top-tier collegiate tennis facility in the United States. Since Mark’s passing, Paula has continued to support the initiatives and programs that they had championed together at Baylor. Paula’s gift naming the Mark and Paula Hurd Floor at the Baylor Basketball Pavilion celebrates the success of both the men’s and women’s basketball programs, which both have risen to the highest echelons of their respective sports, most recently with the Men’s Basketball program’s ascendance as 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions.

"Mark and Paula Hurd are very special members of the Baylor Athletics family, and we are thankful for their generous and continued support of our student-athletes over the years," Baylor Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Mack B. Rhoades IV said. "The Hurd family has championed Baylor Athletics, both in their generosity to Baylor’s tennis programs and as Baylor Bear Foundation members. We are proud of the incredible success both of our National Champion men's and women's basketball teams have experienced in the last few years and are equally excited for the bright future ahead for basketball at Baylor. These elite programs deserve an elite facility, and we are grateful for Paula Hurd's generosity in helping this dream become a reality."

This gift from Paula Hurd and her family brings total funds raised through the Give Light Campaign past the $1 billion mark. Since the beginning of the campaign’s silent phase, more than 77,000 alumni, parents, friends and staff have given to support University priorities. The campaign, which undergirds Illuminate, the University's strategic plan, will impact every aspect of campus life – academics, athletics, student life and service learning – while also bolstering financial support for students and for the priorities of Baylor’s 12 schools and colleges. Baylor donors have created more than 169 endowed funds to support everything from research and instruction to academic program support and resources to preserve University traditions.

The Give Light Campaign also has sparked growth in faculty endowment, with the creation of 30 endowed faculty positions, many of which have been funded through the Baylor Academic Challenge program. Endowed faculty positions will serve as catalysts for growth within areas of research and funding for Illuminate’s five initiatives: Health; Data Sciences; Materials Science; Human Flourishing, Leadership and Ethics; and Baylor in Latin America. The Baylor Academic Challenge was funded as part of an anonymous gift of $100 million to the University in 2019. A significant portion of the $100 million gift created a matching fund to launch the Baylor Academic Challenge and provided the lead investment in the Baylor Basketball Pavilion.

In addition, the Campaign has initiated a groundswell of support for scholarships, with more than 582 scholarship funds created since the Campaign’s beginning. The Campaign also has created opportunities for leadership, through initiatives such as the Hord Scholarship Challenge created by Dan and Jenni Hord in October 2020, to challenge the Baylor family to give $30 million in scholarship support for Baylor’s students. The University also created the Trailblazer Scholars Program in June 2020 to encourage alumni and friends to support Baylor’s efforts in fostering diversity and mutual respect at the University through a scholars program that encourages leadership and service through Baylor’s Division of Student Life and Department of Multicultural Affairs.

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 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.