An estimated crowd of nearly 700 fans celebrated the opening of the long-awaited new indoor home for Baylor Tennis, a 34,000-square-foot, $7 million venue that will elevate Baylor's high-performing tennis program to new heights.
The Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center was dedicated between doubles and singles play during the inaugural match. Baylor University President Ken Starr and Director of Tennis Matt Knoll addressed the crowd and honored longtime Baylor philanthropists Jim and Nell Hawkins.
Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins delivered ceremonial first serves to Baylor Tennis players Alex Leatu and Marko Krickovic, respectively, to conclude the ceremony. Members of the Baylor men's and women's tennis team also expressed their appreciation to the Hawkins at a private dinner prior to the match.
The Hawkins Indoor Center represents the realization of a longtime vision for Baylor Tennis. The state-of-the-art facility allows the men's and women's tennis team to practice and play year-round, regardless of adverse weather conditions.
Six parallel indoor tennis courts with spectator seating will ensure that fans and players can enjoy top tennis action in a comfortable environment, providing a venue that will position Baylor to host NCAA Tennis Championships in the future. Notable features of the facility were made possible by the generosity of Baylor donors. The Center's Court Number One was provided by Claude and Becky Lindsey and the lobby was supported by the Lanning family in honor of Stacy Lanning Lessman, Lori Lanning Rogers and Kristi Lanning Blauser.
The Hawkins' love for Baylor and generous support of her students and programs is apparent across campus and particularly evident in their support of Baylor Athletics. Jim (BBA `58) and Nell, a "Baylor Alumna by Choice" (ABC), have faithfully supported scholarships for student-athletes as well as excellence funds for basketball, tennis and baseball, the Baylor Bear Foundation and mission trips by Baylor's Sports Ministry Teams. They generously provided the J-Hawk Limited and Nell Hawkins practice courts for Baylor's Men's and Women's Basketball programs, and their first major gift to Baylor Athletics funded a scoreboard at Floyd Casey Stadium.
The Hawkins' impact has touched the University well beyond Athletics alone. They are members of the Medallion Fellowship at the Judge R.E.B. Baylor Level, and both served on the Bush Library Steering Committee. Jim and Nell also have supported several areas of Baylor's Hankamer School of Business, including endowed scholarships and endowed faculty and staff positions. Jim has served on the Hankamer School of Business Board of Advisors and the Baylor Foundation board. Nell is an Art Angel for Baylor's Martin Museum of Art and is known for co-initiating the Gold Rush Campaign that transformed the spectator experience at Baylor's athletic events. Deeply valuing both Baylor and their local community, the couple has maintained involvement with the Baylor/Waco Foundation.