This summer, UMHB announced that the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation of Houston approved a grant of $1.5 million for a new performing arts center. The grant is the most recent in a series of significant gifts the foundation has made to building projects at the university. 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. “Under the leadership of their daughter and granddaughters, the foundation has continued in a marvelous way to support causes that were important to them.”
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 continues to benefit from the Baugh family’s generosity.
“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. It will provide a professional-quality performance venue while also enhancing our academic reputation and confirming our role in the world of performing arts.”
— Ted Barnes, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts
The performing arts center is the latest in a series of Campus Master Plan projects that have transformed the 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. Though still in the earliest stages of design, plans call for the 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 campus, on the corner of Ninth Avenue and Main Street.