By Bridget Sjoberg | News Editor
It was confirmed today that Mark Hurd, Baylor alumnus and CEO of Oracle, has died at 62. Hurd served as vice chair of the Baylor Board of Regents, as well as a co-chair for Baylor’s Give Light philanthropic campaign.
Mark Hurd and his wife Paula Hurd donated a lead gift, one of the largest in Baylor’s history, for the Give Light campaign. His philanthropic legacy can be seen on campus through the Hurd Tennis Center and the soon-to-be Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center, which will replace the Wiethorn Visitors Center as the campus entry point for prospective students, families and visitors.
Hurd was 62 years old at the time of his death, and took a “leave of absence” from Oracle last month to focus on his health, although no specific medical concerns were specified.
Hurd graduated from Baylor in 1979 and began serving on the Baylor Board of Regents in 2014. He was chosen as vice chair of the Board in 2017. Jerry K. Clements, chair of the Board of Regents, said she expressed sadness over Hurd’s passing and recognized the dedication that Hurd brought to the Board and to Baylor.
“On behalf of the Baylor Board of Regents, we are deeply saddened by the passing of Oracle CEO and our Board’s Vice Chair Mark Hurd,” Clements said. “For the past five years, Mark Hurd served tirelessly and selflessly on his alma mater’s Board. He genuinely loved and cared for Baylor and contributed his time, strategic leadership and treasure to help achieve Baylor’s vision for the future as the preeminent Christian research university. Our Board will miss greatly his presence, wisdom and leadership.”
Hurd played tennis on scholarship while he was a student at Baylor, and served a role in establishing the nation’s No. 1 ranked tennis facility in 2011, Hurd Tennis Center at Baylor, which was previously named the Hurd Tennis Building. Mack B. Rhoades IV, vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics at Baylor, said he referred to Hurd as a “trusted friend” and someone who has played an important role in contributing generously to Baylor.
“Today, we’re deeply saddened at the passing of a dear friend, leader and pioneer. Mark Hurd and his family have served as longtime champions of Baylor Athletics and our vision of Preparing Champions for Life. Many former and current Baylor student-athletes have been inspired by his generosity, vision and leadership,” Rhoades said. “In addition to his support of facilities like the Hurd Tennis Center, Mark and Paula have gone above and beyond in their generosity to Baylor as ‘B’ Association members and Bear Foundation Championship Club members, and across many areas of Baylor’s campus.”
Jimmy Bendeck, who graduated this August and played tennis while at Baylor, said that he considers Hurd a cornerstone of the Baylor tennis program, and someone who has changed the student-athlete experience.
“It’s really sad to hear. I’ve got to know him, and he’s changed our lives as tennis players and made our student-athlete experience really positive,” Bendeck said. “He allowed us to have this amazing facility all by his support. He played for Baylor which had a big impact, and generally the impact he’s had on Baylor University and Baylor Athletics has been incredible.”
Baylor president Dr. Linda Livingstone said that she and the Baylor family feel deep sorrow over the loss of Hurd, and she appreciates how Hurd has served and supported Baylor through the years.
“The Baylor University Family extends its deepest sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of Oracle CEO and Baylor Board of Regents Vice Chair Mark Hurd, whose love and support for his alma mater and our students never wavered throughout his lifetime,” Livingstone said. “We give thanks for Mark’s leadership and his generosity of time, gifts and experiences.”
Mark Hurd’s legacy can still be recognized at Baylor through his philanthropic contributions leading to on-campus improvements like the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center, which will affect the Baylor community for years to come.