The Scotty Probasco Academic Center was formally dedicated at a ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 19, marking a significant moment in the school’s 125-year history and a crowning achievement for Baylor’s historic $50 million Forever Forward capital campaign.
Located on the site of the former Trustee Hall, the new $14 million, 33,852 square-foot academic building is named for the late trustee emeritus Scotty Probasco ’46, whose steadfast devotion to his alma mater has been expressed through many years of service as well as philanthropy. As a generous donor, trustee emeritus, and tireless cheerleader for Baylor, Probasco’s decision to give a significant donation to the Forever Forward campaign represented a powerful connection between Baylor’s past and its future. In addition to the campaign, Probasco designated gifts to Baylor through his estate that will also have a profound and lasting impact for years to come.
The building opened for classes in October and houses most of the Upper School’s history and English department classes, as well as the Baylor Learning Center, and features 15 spacious, flexible, and shareable classrooms. These state-of-the-art academic spaces offer spectacular views of the campus and come equipped with oversized video components capable of mirroring iPad or computer screens. They may be used as whiteboards or double as computer monitors.
“Having taught in the Trustee Hall basement for 23 years, I find myself in disbelief that my old home has finally been razed to make way for such a thing of beauty,” said veteran English instructor Chris Watkins. “I can’t imagine what it will be like to have so much natural light and magnificent views as my students stand to recite Shakespeare and Shange and sit down to discuss Walker and Warren. I look forward to daily interactions with both English and history colleagues, especially the opportunities to share ideas, ask questions, and collaborate. The humanities help us understand and augment what it means to be human, so I’m delighted to see that the humanities will be at the heart of Baylor’s campus.”
“The Scotty Probasco Academic Center represents a bold statement for the future of our core academic mission at Baylor,” said Chris Crimmins ’80, chairman of Baylor’s Board of Trustees. “The placement and design of the building represents years of research and planning to deliver an academic building that would be a national model for teaching and learning. We wanted to build upon Scotty Probasco’s legacy of leadership and project it forward for future generations of Baylor students and faculty.”
Along with the opening of the Probasco Academic Center and the Bullard Family Quadrangle, Baylor also celebrated the opening of the Ireland Stairs, honoring the memory and legacy of William R. Ireland, Sr. ’41 and Glen Ireland II ’44. The grand new entrance to the center of campus features wide stairways between the new Academic Center and Alumni Chapel.
Bullard Family Quadrangle Dedication
The $1.1 million renovation of the Baylor quadrangle began in May and was completed in August just as classes were beginning for the new school year. Thanks to the generous gift from Bob Bullard ’81 and his family, the asphalt area formerly used for military formations when the school was an all-male, military institution, has been converted into a beautifully landscaped green space.
“The new quadrangle fulfills a long-held vision to create a beautiful green space in the heart of campus that will enhance the Baylor experience for everyone in the community, especially our boarding students who call Baylor ‘home,’” said President and Headmaster Scott Wilson '75. Boarding student Ridley Browder ’20 agrees. “When we heard about the plans for the quad, my friends and I were elated. We are excited about the prospect of such a beautiful addition to campus. The renovation really has brightened up the space.”
Donor Wall Honors Philanthropy
It is not hard to imagine the booming voice of the late trustee emeritus Scotty Probasco ’46 enthusiastically proclaiming “Great Work!” when the limestone wall engraved with the names of major donors was revealed on Wednesday, Sept. 19, during the dedication of the new Scotty Probasco Academic Center.
Unveiled by Jo Ann Yates, whose name is engraved on the wall as part of “The Great Work Team,” the impressive installation honors lead donors to the $50 million Forever Forward campaign as the following: Scotty L. Probasco ’46; The Probasco Family; William R. (Randy) James ’67; Mr. and Mrs. Albert (Bubba and Carla) Morgan; Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Lupton, Jr. ’47 and Family; Alice Probasco Lupton; The Bullard Family; Summerfield K. Johnston, Jr. ’50; The Card, Henderson, Steele and Berube Family; Mr. and Mrs. J. Frank Harrison, III ’73; Zan Guerry ’67 and Alexis Guerry Bogo ’89; The Howalt Family; Jo Ann C. Yates; and Gary A. Norcross ’83.
Throughout Baylor’s 690-acre campus, the names of donors and other gifts to the school are on display on benches, plaques, sculptures, various student spaces, and buildings – some of which date back more than a century. As people pass through the new academic center each day, “The Great Work Team” wall serves as another reminder of Baylor’s tradition of philanthropy and the passion individuals have had throughout the school’s history