Upward and Onward

Nearly four years into the public phase of the Give Light campaign, the impact is visible across the University. From a changing skyline to a steady influx of resources into each academic unit, the Baylor Family is helping the University build on its strengths, funding opportunities through philanthropy that have propelled Baylor to new heights. 

Transforming Baylor’s Skyline

One of the most immediate, visible markers of progress is the presence of construction crews on either side of I-35 as construction moves forward on the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center and the Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion. 

With a targeted completion of Summer 2023, the Hurd Welcome Center will serve as Baylor’s new front door for returning alumni, prospective students and others who make up the more than 60,000 guests who visit campus each year.

Across the interstate, site preparation continues on the Foster Pavilion, which is slated for an early opening in January 2024, followed by the development center’s opening in April of the same year.

Academic Unit Support

Beyond the exciting changes to Baylor’s physical campus, the Baylor Family has come alongside the goals and aspirations for each of the University’s 12 schools and colleges. At the beginning of the Give Light campaign, each academic unit compiled goals specifically related to priorities outlined in Illuminate and long-range plans, detailing scholarship needs and faculty support that will allow each part of the University to continue its momentum.

So far, Baylor donor support has helped three academic units realize and surpass their initial fundraising goals. Baylor Law and the George W. Truett Theological Seminary have both surpassed their initial fundraising goals of $50 million. Baylor’s School of Music saw a groundswell of support among alumni and friends for scholarships and program funds, receiving more than $23.8 million, as of May 2022, and eclipsing their initial $15 million goal.

Donor giving to University Libraries, Baylor Athletics and Student Life have also helped those areas surpass their initial goals, contributing directly to the experiences, programs and resources that help create a vibrant Baylor experience.

Other academic units are quickly closing in on their own fundraising goals. As of May, the Hankamer School of Business had received a total of $121.4 million in support of its $125 million fundraising goal. One of the largest academic units on campus, the Business School has seen nearly 63 percent of its living alumni give back through the Give Light campaign. 

The Louise Herrington School of Nursing has also received significant support, with nearly $46 million given so far toward their $50 million goal. From scholarship support raised through the Going for the Gold Gala to gifts from Baylor parents and generous alumni, the School has celebrated many firsts through the Give Light campaign, including the creation of the first named endowed faculty position.

In all, 85,000 members of the Baylor Family have given generously of their resources to support the mission of Baylor University through the Give Light campaign. Those gifts are already reaping benefits in the lives of Baylor’s students, making an impact within our community and building toward an even brighter future for this institution.

Harrod Chair in Christian Thought

In April, Jim and Sharon Harrod of Horseshoe Bay, Texas, established an endowed faculty chair position to support exceptional scholarship and transformational learning within the Honors College and the study of great thinkers who have stood at the intersection of the Christian faith and culture at large.

The Jim and Sharon Harrod Endowed Chair of Christian Thought will be used to attract, retain and support a distinguished Christian scholar who will promote deep study of the relationship between faith and knowledge, while fostering rich avenues for transformational learning among Baylor’s students within the Honors College. The Harrod Chair also will help ensure Baylor is a national leader in dialogue concerning the intersection of faith and learning in higher education.

Jim and Sharon Harrod chose to create enduring support through The Harrod Chair based upon their belief that a college education should offer a Christian dimension to learning. The Harrods chose Baylor for this endowment after experiencing the University’s approach to Christian higher education through their daughters, Kelly Woods, B.A. ’90, and Mary Kate Garrison, B.A. ’94, M.A. ’98, and son-in-law, Will Woods, B.B.A. ’94, J.D. ’98. Their grandson, Ben Woods, is currently enrolled in the Class of 2026.

For the Harrods, their vision for the chair is summed up in a quote by British author and theologian C.S. Lewis: “An appetite for knowledge and beauty exists in the human mind and God makes no appetite in vain. We can therefore pursue knowledge as such, and beauty as such, in the sure confidence that by doing so we are either advancing to the vision of God ourselves or indirectly helping others to do so.”

The Jim and Sharon Harrod Endowed Chair of Christian Thought supports the Human Flourishing, Leadership and Ethics initiative within Illuminate, the University’s strategic plan, and qualifies for matching support through the Give Light campaign’s Illuminate Chair Matching Program. The matching program supports the University’s efforts to generate high-impact research and scholarship, focusing especially upon research faculty chairs that support the five academic initiatives of Illuminate: Health, Data Sciences, Materials Science, Human Flourishing, Leadership and Ethics and Baylor in Latin America.