El Paso businessman and philanthropist Paul Foster has given $35 million to his alma mater, the largest gift ever made by a living alumnus in Baylor University’s history.
Foster, executive chair of El Paso’s Western Refining Inc., graduated from Baylor University in Waco with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1979, according to an announcement.
“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,” Foster said in a statement.
The gift made by Foster and his wife Alejandra de la Vega Foster will support the university’s $100-million campaign to construct a new 275,000-square-foot business facility.
It will be named the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation and house Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, according to the university.
The gift will also support construction of a $250-million football stadium on the Baylor campus.
“Paul Foster has been steadfast in support of his alma mater, responding to Baylor’s call during seminal moments in the life of our university,” said Ken Starr, Baylor’s president.
In El Paso, Foster may be best known for his $50-million gift that launched Texas Tech’s Paul L. Foster School of Medicine. It was the largest gift in the history of the Texas Tech University System. He is also known for his big investments in Downtown, including the meticulous restoration of the historic Anson Mills Building.
Most recently, Foster and his wife partnered with businessman Woody Hunt and his son Josh Hunt to purchase the Tucson Padres, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. The team is expected to play in its new ballpark, under construction now in Downtown El Paso, next year.
Earlier this year, Forbes reported that Foster is the 408th-richest person in the United States and the 1,268th-richest person in the world with $1.1 billion in assets.