Baylor receives largest gift from living alum

WACO—Baylor University received a $35 million gift from Paul L. Foster of El Paso—the largest gift from a living alumnus in the school’s history.

paul alejandra foster400Paul Foster of El Paso, president and CEO of Western Refining Co., with his wife Alejandra. Their gift of $35 million to Baylor University is the largest from a living alumnus in the school's history.His gift will support Baylor’s $100 million campaign to construct a new 275,000-square-foot facility—to be named the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation—that will house Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business.

It also will support Baylor Stadium, the university’s $250 million on-campus football stadium under construction on a 93-acre site at the intersection of Interstate 35 and the Brazos River. The stadium will hold 45,000 spectators, with the flexibility to expand to 55,000.

“My family and I believe strongly that we have an obligation to give back to the people, the organizations and the communities that have given so much to us,” said Foster, who serves as chairman of the board and executive chairman of Western Refining.

“Like so many other graduates, the education I received at Baylor prepared me for personal and professional success. That’s why Alejandra and I couldn’t be more pleased to come alongside the university to support the new building for Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, which will provide a transformational and innovative education for Baylor business students, and Baylor Stadium, which will benefit the university and the Waco community for generations to come.”

hankamer interior400Interior of the new building to house the Hankamer School of Business. It will benefit from the Fosters' gift. (Baylor University Photos)Foster hopes his gift will inspire others to support the business school project. If private philanthropy goals can be reached in the next few months, construction on the new business school facility could begin as early as December.

Baylor President Ken Starr characterized Foster’s donation as “a visionary and truly transformational gift that supports two significant initiatives for Baylor.”

In February, the Baylor board of regents approved public fundraising for the new business school building that will expand the school’s size and reach by nearly 40 percent. At their most recent meeting in May, regents voted to approve $2.8 million to continue with programming and design developments for the new facility.

“Paul Foster leads a growing community of generous Baylor benefactors who are stepping forward to support Baylor’s powerful forward progress,” said Richard Willis, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents.

“Paul recognizes the distinct and essential role that Baylor plays in American higher education and the manner in which his own Baylor education prepared him for personal success. With this historic gift, Paul and Alejandra affirm Baylor’s bright future and invite others in the Baylor family to contribute to the strong momentum that is propelling our university to new heights.”

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