Belton, Texas—The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor announced today that the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation of Houston has approved a grant of $1.5 million as a lead gift for a new performing arts center at UMHB.
The grant is the most recent in a series of significant gifts the foundation has made to building projects at UMHB. In addition to gifts for the Parker Academic Center, the Frank and Sue Mayborn Campus Center, and the Paul and Jane Meyer Christian Studies Center, the foundation made the lead gift that led to construction of the Baugh Center for the Visual Arts, which was completed last year.
“During their lifetimes, John and Eula Mae Baugh were dedicated supporters of Christian higher education and Texas Baptist causes,” said Dr. Randy O’Rear, president of UMHB. “Under the leadership of their daughter and granddaughters, the foundation has continued in a marvelous way to support causes that were important to them. We are honored and grateful that Babs Baugh, Jackie Moore, and Julie Cloud have chosen to take the lead in supporting this new center for the performing arts, which we believe will play a pivotal role in the growth of our programs in the years to come.”
The Baughs established the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation in 1995 to continue their philanthropic efforts beyond their own lifetimes. John Baugh was the founder of Sysco Corporation and served as chairman and CEO of the company, which became the world’s largest food distribution service with 170 locations and over 47,500 employees. Mr. Baugh’s business acumen was matched by his commitment to numerous charitable causes, and UMHB is one of the many organizations that that continue to benefit from the Baugh family’s generosity.
The performing arts center is the latest in a series of Campus Master Plan projects that have transformed the UMHB campus in recent years. Through gifts made to Momentum: The Campaign for Mary Hardin-Baylor, the university has constructed a field house addition, the Baugh Center for the Visual Arts, and the Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Nursing Education Center. A new Student Union and an on-campus football stadium are currently under construction and are scheduled for completion in fall 2013.
The university has selected Randall Scott Architects of Dallas to serve as principal architect for the performing arts center. Randall Scott Architects will partner with Westlake Reed Leskosky, an architectural firm that specializes in the design of performing, fine, and media arts projects, with offices in Cleveland, Phoenix, Washington DC, New York City and Los Angeles. Though still in the earliest stages of design, plans call for the UMHB venue to include a 600-seat performance hall suitable for large choral and theatrical productions. The center will be built near the entrance to the UMHB campus, on the corner of Ninth Avenue and Main Street in Belton.
News of the gift from the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation has already sparked great excitement on the UMHB campus. “The performing arts center is a project that we have been anticipating for a long time, and we feel that it will have a significant impact on the growth and development of the College of Visual and Performing Arts,” said Ted Barnes, dean of the college. “It will provide a professional-quality performance venue to serve our students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community. We also believe this innovative space will enhance our academic reputation and confirm our role in the world of performing arts.”