Dear Baylor Family,
Last weekend, I joined the entire Baylor Family in celebrating the largest current gift ever received by Baylor University — a $100 million investment in the future of the University made by an anonymous donor as part of our $1.1 billion Give Light comprehensive philanthropic campaign. This powerful act of generosity, announced only days after celebrating a $15 million gift from The Sunderland Foundation for the renovation of our beloved Tidwell Bible Building, moves us to $692 million toward our campaign goal. The gift has sparked a palpable energy across campus that will carry our students into final exams. With commencement ceremonies on May 17-18, I look forward to the honor of handing thousands of our students their Baylor diplomas with the knowledge that the value of their degrees will be strengthened by the work these gifts will support.
This spring semester has been a time of great accomplishment on many fronts, and we are filled with equal measures of gratitude and excitement as we pursue the strategic priorities under Illuminate, Baylor’s strategic plan. This $100 million gift provides momentum as we advance Baylor’s growth as a preeminent Christian research university, building on the University’s historic strengths and strategically investing in new areas of teaching, research and service.
I would like to share with you more details about the impact this gift will have on our students and Baylor’s ability to shine as a beacon of excellence in American higher education.
A portion of the $100 million gift will launch the Baylor Academic Challenge, a dollar-for-dollar matching program that will incentivize leadership gifts of $1.5 million to $3 million from other donors to create and fund new endowed faculty positions at Baylor. Hiring and retaining faculty members who are accomplished teachers as well as renowned researchers and deeply committed to our Christian mission is essential to our goals under Illuminate.
Within higher education, named endowed positions are prestigious pursuits for faculty, providing security and crucial funding for research and teaching. The University will pursue faculty leaders who can spark innovation and discovery in areas of strategic growth while furthering Baylor’s mission of educating young men and women for worldwide leadership and service. The Baylor Academic Challenge will provide the resources necessary to bring additional outstanding scholar-teachers to our campus.
The family who has made this transformational gift also are passionate supporters of Baylor’s intercollegiate athletics program, and they recognize the significance and impact of investing in our facilities for the long-term strength of Baylor Athletics. As such, the $100 million gift also includes a lead investment in the Baylor Basketball Pavilion, a state-of-the-art facility that will become the new home of our men’s and women’s basketball teams.
As a faith-based university, Baylor is distinctive among the institutions belonging to the Power Five conferences of NCAA Division 1 athletics. In addition, Baylor is unique among the upper echelon of research universities in our commitment to demonstrating that excellence in academics, discovery and athletics can thrive alongside a commitment to faith. The Baylor Basketball Pavilion marks a tremendous step forward, showing the strength of our resolve to compete at the highest levels in all 19 of our intercollegiate sports while simultaneously educating men and women for leadership and service across our 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
The Baylor Basketball Pavilion, which will have a capacity of around 7,000 fans, takes its lessons from other Power Five schools that have recently constructed smaller basketball venues, as well as such historic basketball arenas as those at Duke, Kansas and Indiana. By creating a more engaged and energized atmosphere, the Pavilion will elevate our home-court advantage and enhance the experiences of our fans. To be located adjacent to the Ferrell Center and along the Brazos River, the Pavilion will welcome thousands of alumni, students and friends, bringing the Baylor Family together and positively expanding the Baylor brand nationwide.
In making their $100 million gift, this family has illustrated a belief in Baylor’s Christian voice in higher education and the promise of our future. They also have expressed to me their hope that as a cornerstone of the Give Light campaign, their philanthropy will inspire others to share their support in whatever amount they are able in areas of greatest need and most significant impact.
To date, more than 55,000 members of the Baylor Family have made a gift to the campaign, and we are grateful for this remarkable outpouring of support. If you would like to learn more about Give Light: The Campaign for Baylor, visit our website baylor.edu/givelight.
Thank you for your enduring love of Baylor University.
Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.