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$1M Gift from Ed and Denise Crenshaw Establishes Student Commons in Foster Campus for Business and Innovation

Dec. 12, 2013

WACO, Texas (Dec. 12, 2013) - Baylor University today announced a gift of $1 million from Ed and Denise Crenshaw of Lakeland, Fla., that will create the Ed and Denise Crenshaw Student Commons within the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation.

Reflecting the dynamic culture of the Hankamer School of Business, the open atmosphere and flexible space of the Crenshaw Student Commons will accommodate and encourage a variety of activities such as individual and group study, student-faculty meetings and collaboration on group projects, as well as provide enhancements to student life such as socializing, alumni gatherings, career fairs, receptions, presentations and donor events. A host of amenities, ranging from a cafe to information kiosks showcasing opportunities for student involvement and development, will add to the inviting atmosphere of the Crenshaw Student Commons.

"For Baylor's business school to continue to excel and attract the top students, we need to have a first-class facility," said Ed Crenshaw, BBA '73, who serves as CEO of Publix Super Markets, based in Florida. "Denise and I thought a gift to the business school in support of the Student Commons was a great idea because the activities taking place in such a space complement the education students receive in the classroom by teaching them how to work together as a team, both socially and professionally, in a way that mirrors how people are successful today in the business world."

The $100 million, 275,000-square-foot Foster Campus for Business and Innovation will provide a new home for the University's nationally ranked Hankamer School of Business. Following a remarkably successful fundraising campaign for the project, including an historic gift from Paul L. Foster, BBA '79, of El Paso, construction will begin in December on property along Bagby Avenue between Third and Fourth Streets. The facility is scheduled for completion in July 2015.

"The future of America and our academic enterprise requires a culture of innovation, grounded in an informed and tested sense of ethics," said Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr. "By supporting our business school's future through their gift to the Foster Campus for Business and Innovation, Ed and Denise Crenshaw are actively helping to position Baylor University in the vanguard of excellence in the preparation of tomorrow's most honorable and successful business leaders, and we are very grateful for their generosity and example."

The architectural design for the new Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation building features a highly corporate and sustainable business environment, including a centerpiece atrium that will showcase some of the school's signature classrooms, such as the Southwest Securities Financial Markets Center. The design also includes a 350-seat auditorium, accommodating guest lectures and special events, and a variety of classroom spaces that will incorporate the latest classroom technology for collaborative learning, innovation and problem solving. The facility will expand the business school's size by nearly 40 percent.

"Ed Crenshaw is an exemplary business executive, well known for his ethics and integrity, and his company, Publix, often shows up in rankings of the best places to work," said Terry Maness, DBA, dean of Baylor's Hankamer School of Business. "He and Denise care deeply about Baylor, and their gift will support our ability to offer our students a rich learning environment."

Ed Crenshaw joined Publix Super Markets -- founded in 1930 by George W. Jenkins, Crenshaw's grandfather -- as a grocery bagger and stocker. He became president of the company in 1996, and he was named CEO in 2008. Today the southeastern supermarket chain is Florida's largest private employer, with more than 160,000 associates and 1,000 stores across five states. With $28 billion in sales, Publix has often been ranked as one of the fastest-growing supermarket companies in the United States.

A graduate of the University of Georgia, Denise Crenshaw is a dedicated volunteer with Lakeland Regional Hospital Foundation and Peace River, a United Way agency assisting women in crisis. She also serves on the board for Guardian ad Litem, which is composed of volunteers who speak on behalf of abused and neglected children in the court system.

In 2005, the Crenshaws provided the naming gift for Baylor's Ed Crenshaw Student Foundation Building and established the Ed Crenshaw Endowed Student Foundation Scholarship. They have served together on The President's Scholarship Initiative Steering Committee at Baylor, and their private philanthropy extends to several organizations near their home in Lakeland, Fla.

"When I think back on my time at Baylor, I recognize that being a Baylor student shaped me in so many ways -- not only in my personal life, but also in the way that I work and how I have approached my business career," said Ed Crenshaw, who was a member of Kappa Omega Tau and served as president of Student Foundation at Baylor. "When you have the kind of environment that Baylor has, you're able to produce strong, ethical leaders who will make a huge difference in the business world."

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