Belton, Texas – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor announced today that its new student union building will be named in honor of the university’s former president and first lady, Jerry and Vicky Bawcom. Dr. Bawcom served as the 21st president of UMHB from 1991 to 2009. During those years the university achieved increased academic prominence, financial strength, enrollment growth, enhanced student life programming, and athletic success.
“I cannot think of anything more fitting than for this center to carry the Bawcoms’ name,” said Dr. Randy O’Rear, university president. “Dr. Bawcom began his higher education career in the student life department at Texas Wesleyan University. Throughout their 18 years as president and first lady of UMHB, Dr. and Mrs. Bawcom’s philosophy that students benefit from personal attention and an active campus life permeated the university. That philosophy will be reflected in this new facility, which will support the activities of our student life division and offer a variety of spaces where students can meet and interact with the faculty and their fellow students.”
The 107,613-square-foot student union is being constructed at a central location on King Street so it will be within easy walking distance from all residence halls and apartments on campus. The facility will offer students a variety of dining environments, from “watch as they fix it” stations for pasta and stir-fry to areas with salad bars and “home-style” foods such as meatloaf and chicken fried steak. The first floor of the building will also include a Chick-fil-A Express and a Starbucks counter. The facility will also house a band hall, offices for the student life division, and a third-floor ballroom for conferences and banquets.
The Bawcom Student Union was designed as an interlocking component with UMHB’s new Crusader Stadium, which was completed in September. Together, the two facilities join with the neighboring Mayborn Campus Center to support a student activity zone at the heart of the campus. Plans call for the student union to be completed by the end of the year, with the university’s dining service ready to serve students there when they return for their spring semester.
“Our university has been blessed with a growing student population,” said President O’Rear. “As we looked toward the future, we saw that a facility like this would better meet the needs of today’s students and encourage them to stay on campus and be involved in activities here.
“The Bawcom years set the table for the success our university enjoys today,” O’Rear said. “Naming our new facility the Bawcom Student Union is a great way to honor and recognize Dr. and Mrs. Bawcom’s tremendous contributions to Mary Hardin-Baylor. I look forward to a grand dedication and celebration ceremony when we open the facility in the spring.”