Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion
In November 2021, Baylor announced the naming of the Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion in honor of Paul, B.B.A. ’79, and Alejandra Foster of El Paso. The naming recognizes the Fosters’ 2019 Give Light gift of $100 million, which launched the public fundraising campaign for the future home of Baylor’s national championship men’s and women’s basketball programs.
The Fosters’ gift, which was anonymous until the Nov. 15, 2021, announcement, also sparked unprecedented support for faculty through the creation of a dollar-for-dollar matching program for qualifying gifts in support of Illuminate, the University’s strategic plan. Known at the time as the Baylor Academic Challenge, the program prompted the funding of 14 faculty endowed chairs and is now known as the Foster Academic Challenge.
“Alejandra and I are extremely proud of Baylor and all that it stands for, and we are grateful for the opportunity to invest in the long-term future of Baylor,” Paul L. Foster said. “Through the Academic Challenge grant, our investment will help Baylor attract and retain some of the best faculty in the nation, and to fund critical research initiatives for many years to come. And through our investment in the Pavilion, we hope to help Baylor continue its tradition as a national leader in men’s and women’s basketball and many other sports and activities. We are confident this will be one of the best multi-purpose sports and entertainment venues in the country.”
In May 2019, Baylor announced the largest current gift ever received by the University from the then-anonymous philanthropists. Since that time, the Fosters agreed to allow the University to name the Basketball Pavilion and Baylor Academic Challenge in their honor. Groundbreaking for the basketball pavilion is scheduled for this summer.
The Foster Pavilion is not the first area of Baylor’s campus to be shaped by Paul and Alejandra Foster. In 2013, they gave a $35 million gift to name the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation. At the time, Paul said he hoped his gift, a portion of which also provided support for McLane Stadium, would inspire others to support the new home of Hankamer School of Business. The Paul L. Foster Success Center also bears his name in recognition of Paul’s significant contributions to student support services.
Foster Pavilion Location Announced
Baylor University is partnering with the city of Waco to build the Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion in downtown Waco along University Parks Drive between Interstate 35 and Franklin Avenue. The partnership positions the home for the men’s and women’s basketball teams along the Brazos River where it will also double as a city-run performance venue and anchor a larger riverfront development.
“I think this project represents a kind of meshing of both the Baylor campus and downtown,” Vice President and Director of Athletics Mack B. Rhoades IV said. “I think that’s really positive for both entities. We look at it as an extension and an expansion of our campus, and the vibrancy with downtown and everything that will be going on when this project is completed.”
The Baylor University Board of Regents approved funding and location for the 7,000-seat arena that will improve fan experience and sightlines to action on the court, increasing the Bears’ homecourt advantage. The facility also will include a development center for men’s and women’s teams and offices for coaches.
“Both of our basketball programs are competing at the highest levels. The Foster Pavilion will enhance the basketball experience for everyone as our programs continue to achieve recognition on the national stage,” Baylor University President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., said. “Thanks to the strategic partnership with the city of Waco, the University and our hometown are further united as a community in support of one another.”
Waco Mayor Dillon Meek, B.A. ’07, J.D. ’10, said the Foster Pavilion is a transformational project.
“This is the culmination of our community for years prioritizing the development of our riverfront,” Meek said. “I think the economic impact of this development is going to be the most significant development in downtown Waco’s history, period.”
With $65 million in Tax Increment Financing Zone (TIF) funding from the city and strong support from Baylor’s committed donors, the University is set to break ground on the pavilion in June and complete the arena by January 2024, with the remainder of the complex complete in April 2024.