McLane Family Alumni Center fosters connection between alumni, university

The McLane Family Alumni Center will serve as a place of connection for Baylor alumni for years to come. Abby Roper | Photographer

By Hayden Cottrell | Reporter

The Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center not only welcomes prospective students to Baylor but also serves as the home to the new McLane Family Alumni Center, providing a special space for alumni to come back to campus and connect with one another.

“When they come back to see campus and see how it’s evolved, we want the McLane Family Alumni Center to be a space for them to relax, recharge, reconnect,” Sarah Kathryn Ricci, assistant vice president for alumni engagement and annual giving, said. “And, as my boss Toby Barnett says, it’s a place for them to come back and grab an ice cold Dr Pepper and think back on their time here and have kind of nostalgia take over and evoke that sense of pride and joy.”

Ricci said the Welcome Center is meant to showcase how the university has a focused vision for the future.

“We want Baylor alums, who already have an incredible sense of pride about their alma mater, to believe that this is a facility that projects who we are and kind of where we want to go,” Ricci said.

For some upcoming home football games, alumni are able to attend Huddle at the Hurd.

“We do plan on having the facility open on certain Friday evenings before football games,” Ricci said. “We’re calling some of those more general events Huddle at the Hurd, especially before football. Those will feature Dr Pepper floats and popcorn and family-friendly activities.”

Beyond Huddle at the Hurd, there will be different alumni events aimed at connecting various alumni groups.

“Some of the ones coming up in the fall are the Golden Wave Alumni Band Reunion and the Baylor Black Alumni Alliance Reunion,” Ricci said. “They will be using the facility on some of those Friday nights before football. So we plan to host many different ways for alums to connect back, whether it’s kind of more generically, as in a come-all event like Huddle at the Hurd, or more specific events like the reunions I mentioned.”

Kelsey Gasiorowski, a 2023 Baylor graduate, said she is excited to use the new Welcome Center as an alumna.

“I think the Hurd Center is really pretty, and it was interesting to see,” Gasiorowski said. “I saw it as an alumna for the first time … and I’m excited to use it.”

Ricci said the McLane Family Alumni Center offers a multitude of other resources to connect and network with alumni.

“If there are ever questions about what it means once you graduate and how to reconnect or how to network, you can find us here,” Ricci said. “There’s no reason that we should be thought of as a group that you don’t connect with or don’t engage with as a student. We should be walking alongside our students, and you feel comfortable coming to us as well.”