Fall Highlights at the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center

Baylor’s new “front door” is packed with events for the fall semester.

September 15, 2023
Mark & Paula Hurd Welcome Center at Night

Baylor University's Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center (Matthew Minard/Baylor University)

WACO, Texas (Sept. 15, 2023) – The new Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center officially opened less than a week ago, and Baylor’s new “front door” is already packed with events for the fall semester.

The HOWDY at the Hurd student festival was just the beginning because in addition to campus tours for prospective students, which launched from the Hurd earlier this week, the unique design of the building allows Baylor to host celebrations, trainings, lectures and more. Whether you are attending an event, grabbing a coffee from the Varsity Coffee & Soda, or buying something new for Spirit Fridays in the Spirit Shop, there is an opportunity for everyone at the Hurd. 

Connect Column at Hurd Welcome Center
Connect Column at Hurd Welcome Center

To start, you need to know Hurd Welcome Center hours for the fall are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. with limited openings on Saturdays. The parking lots adjacent to and behind the building are reserved for visitors, events, and service vehicles, so faculty, staff and students should park in Dutton Garage or make the short walk over to the building.

This year, the Hurd is the place for Baylor Family celebrations. You can join the special Family Weekend edition of Dr Pepper Hour and the Friday Night Huddle at the Hurd – both on Sept. 15. Football fans can explore the building on Saturday from 8-10 a.m., and women’s basketball fans have the free “Premiere Night” on Sept. 19. Also, the 2nd Annual Baylor Black Alumni Achievement Awards Ceremony will be held on Sept. 22.

In between celebrations, the Hurd Welcome Center staff will be busy with campus meetings. The calendar is already full with things like the annual fall staff meeting and the annual fall faculty meeting, both of which will be held in the Grand Ballroom. Also, as the Strategic Planning Group continues its work in guiding the Baylor Family toward the next chapter after Illuminate, several listening sessions will be held at the Hurd Center, some in the smaller meeting rooms where participants will be able to share their thoughts in a more intimate setting.

Later in the semester, the Hurd Welcome Center will host historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin for the 2023 Beall-Russell Lecture Series, and the McLane Family Alumni Center inside the Hurd will be a prime location for alumni returning to campus to take part in Baylor’s special Homecoming traditions.

The Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center was designed to bring current and future members of the Baylor Family together, and after last week’s dedication and grand opening, now’s the time to take part in one of the many activities dotting a crowded fall calendar.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 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.