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Abilene Christian U. Opens Campaign With $55-Million in Gifts

Architect’s rendering of the Onstead Center for Science and Humanities (Courtesy of Abilene Christian U.)

Fund-raising campaigns frequently open with one big gift. Abilene Christian University has begun the public phase of its “Vision in Action” campaign with three sizable donations.

The Texas institution, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, announced on Friday that it had received gifts totaling $55-million. The money provides a foundation for its campaign to raise $75-million to construct three science buildings and two stadiums.

Kay Onstead, whose late husband, Robert, was a member of the university’s Board of Trustees, gave $10-million. Kathy and David D. Halbert, both alumni, donated $15-million. And two other alumni, April Anthony, a member of the board, and her husband, Mark, donated $30-million. All of the donors have children who have attended Abilene Christian.

“We are here today as a university because generation after generation supported the consistent mission of ACU,” Ms. Anthony said in a written statement. “We’re excited to be part of that next generation to give back to a university that gave so much to us.”

The institution touts the Anthonys’ gift as the largest in its history (the Grace L. Woodward Memorial Endowed Trust gave $26.37-million in 1998, an amount that would be worth almost $38-million when adjusted for inflation since then). The $30-million total is designated for a variety of uses, including $15-million for a new football stadium, $7-million for the College of Business Administration, and $5-million for a new science building.

The gifts from Ms. Onstead and the Halberts are designated for the construction of new science buildings. More than 900 of the university’s more than 4,000 students major in the sciences.

The $45-million earmarked for the 160,000 square feet in new science facilities make up the bulk of the campaign’s $75-million goal, which also will support the construction of a new stadium for track and field and soccer.

University officials said construction would not begin on any of the planned projects until the needed funds had been raised. No formal completion date for the campaign has been set.

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