Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer
An anonymous donor recently made a donation of 100 million dollars to Baylor. The donation was made in response to Baylor’s recent Give Light campaign, an effort to raise money to accomplish the university’s Illuminate strategic plan. The 100 million-dollar donation is also the largest the university has received to date and will assist in Baylor’s goal of reaching 1.1 billion dollars.
President Linda Livingstone said a large portion of the donation will go toward supporting on-campus facilities and matching gifts made by future additional donors.
“The gift will support a couple of areas—there will be some elements that relate to facilities that you’ll be hearing more about in the not-too-distant future. A portion of it will also go directly into supporting academic efforts with regards to Illuminate,” Livingstone said. “It will do that through the Baylor Academic Challenge, which is designed to help us create new endowed chairs across our campus. We will match gifts between $1.5 and $3 million — currently on campus we have five chairs that are funded at 2 and a half million dollars or more and this gift will allow us to add around 17 new endowed chairs over the course of the next several years.”
Livingstone sees the donation’s assistance to the Baylor Academic Challenge as a way to strengthen the university’s Christian mission by attracting faculty dedicated to what Baylor stands for academically and spiritually.
“This will be critical in helping strengthen our Christian mission, certainly as we hire faculty into the endowed professorships over the coming years. One of the things we look for in hiring faculty is that they are people of deep personal faith themselves and that they are excited about being at a Christian university,” Livingstone said. “When you hire in top-notch faculty and they care about our mission, it will build our reputation in the academic community and work to strengthen that mission.”
New university provost Dr. Nancy Brickhouse, who officially assumed her position on May 1, also sees the donation and the Give Light campaign as a way to strengthen Baylor’s Christian message and dedication to a variety of departments.
“We have a strategic plan that is remarkable and a focus on our foundational Christian mission, the undergraduate education, elevating research and elevating our performance in both athletics and the arts,” Brickhouse said. “We have an opportunity in front of us with Illuminate—to be a voice in the world, a force for good in the world, a beacon of light for the rest of the world to see, not for our sake but for God’s sake.”
Livingstone also hopes the donation helps further Baylor’s reputation as a research university by bringing in faculty members dedicated to pursuing research that involves students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
“Within the aspects of Illuminate, we hope to strengthen the undergraduate educational experience and our research component—as we bring in faculty who are doing significant research, that will strengthen our research endeavors and will give more opportunities for our students, both undergraduate and graduate, to be involved in that research. To have five now, and eventually around 20 endowed professorships, will lead to growth in opportunities for students to work with faculty and strengthen the learning experience and research components, both of which are critical to the goals in Illuminate,” Livingstone said.
Other recent significant donations include $15 million which will be used to renovate Tidwell Bible Building and a donation to be spent on a new visitors’ center on University Parks Drive.