In 2021, the Baylor Board of Regents approved the renovation and improvement of the Honors Residential College
(HRC) along with the development of space in nearby academic facilities for Honors College faculty and staff offices. Spanning both sides of Founders Mall, the Honors College’s new home will create a hub of honors education at the historic heart of the University.
“The Honors College capital project directly supports Illuminate, Baylor’s academic strategic plan, with prominent tie-ins to three of Illuminate’s pillars: unambiguously Christian educational environment, transformational undergraduate education, and scholarship marked by quality, impact, and visibility,” Honors College Dean Douglas Henry said. “This renovation will enable us to offer a well-integrated, high caliber learning experience for years to come. Because one in 10 undergraduates at Baylor has a connection to the Honors College, the project has university-wide scope and considerable impact.”
At the heart of this capital project is the desire to create a central location for the Honors College. Currently, faculty and staff are scattered from the Baylor Sciences Building to Brooks Residential College and everywhere in between.
“Bringing our faculty and staff together will elevate the visibility of a major University investment in outstanding undergraduate education,” Henry said. “Current and prospective students will benefit from improved access to faculty and advisors, readily receiving academic counsel, encouragement, and instruction whether in or out of class. We also anticipate gains in scholarly collaboration and contribution of our faculty as they enjoy proximity, conversation, and support of one another’s academic research and writing.”
The project also includes a complete renovation of Memorial (opened in 1930) and Alexander (opened in 1941) halls, which house the HRC. The new space, designed to fit with the existing buildings’ classical look, will feature a soaring atrium that unites Memorial and Alexander, centralized offices for the dean and administrative staff, and gathering areas and lecture halls.
Having recently entered the list of Carnegie R1 universities, Baylor now has opportunity to rise further in the national rankings. Upgraded Honors College facilities will attract top-tier undergraduate students across all majors and strengthen the University’s place among the nations’ top research universities, in service to Christ and the glory of God.
“Our hope is that these renovations, and more, will continue to allow the HRC to serve as a great entry to the Honors College and Baylor for generations of future students,” HRC Faculty Steward in Residence Jason Whitt said. “We want our facilities to match those that students can find at universities around the country, so that we continue to attract the best and brightest to Baylor."
Born out of a partnership forged by Dean Emeritus Thomas Hibbs and Campus Living and Learning, the HRC was founded in 2007 in an effort to recover an older model of residential living.
“The HRC is among the very best things that we have done and are doing in the College,” Hibbs said. “We were one of the first academic units to have a Living-Learning Community, and when we began this experiment in 2004, we were on the cutting edge, both nationally and at Baylor. The HRC enables us to pursue an integrated education at the undergraduate level and serves as the front door of the College.”
As part of its multi-year campus-wide updating of residential facilities, Baylor has committed $35 million to the HRC project, but the University is seeking additional support to remodel neighboring space for office suites, lecture halls, and conference areas for all four academic programs within the Honors College.
“My wife, Kelly, and I are so pleased to support the Honors College project,” former Baylor Regent Joseph B. Armes, BBA ’83, MBA ’84 said. “It is our hope that the Honors Residential College will be the exemplar of our shared commitment to fully integrate our Christian faith in the intellectual life of our university community—that those who live and study and work there will be transformed by the renewing of their minds.”
Because of early and generous support from Honors College Advisory Council members, the renovation and expansion project has solid footing.
"Visionary gifts from Joe and Kelly Armes and other dear friends have set the stage for the capital project ahead of us,” Dean Henry said. “We’re tremendously grateful to all our benefactors. We’re now excited to rally many others around a bold vision that will enable Baylor to be its best.”
With fundraising ongoing, the tentative completion date for the project is fall 2024. To learn how you can be involved with this project, email David Cortes or contact him at 254-710-8513 for more information.
For media inquiries, please contact Emily Clark
| (254) 710-8486.
ABOUT THE HONORS COLLEGE AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
The Honors College at Baylor University unites four innovative interdisciplinary programs – the Honors Program, University Scholars, Baylor Interdisciplinary Core and Great Texts – with a shared commitment to providing undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue questions that often fall between the cracks of the specialized disciplines by investigating the writings of scientists along with the writings of poets, historians and philosophers. For more information, visit baylor.edu/honorscollege.