Performing Arts Center at Abilene Christian University to be named for J. McDonald and Judy Williams of Dallas


For Immediate Release
Feb. 19, 2000

ABILENE - Abilene Christian University's proposed $12 million performing arts center will be named for Dallas civic leader J. McDonald Williams and his wife Judy.

Dr. Royce Money, ACU president, announced Saturday that the ACU Board of Trustees had unanimously voted to name the new building the J. McDonald and Judy Williams Performing Arts Center. The announcement came during the university's annual President's Circle Dinner.

The Williamses donated more than $6 million to the university for the new 76,000-square-foot performing arts center, to be constructed later this year, Money said.

Williams, 1963 ACU graduate and a member of the ACU board, is chairman of Trammell Crow Company, a large, international real estate development company.

He is also a past recipient of the Linz Award, Dallas' oldest and most prestigious civic award, from The Zale Corporation and The Dallas Morning News.

Construction on the building for ACU's academic departments of music and theatre is expected to begin later this year. The total cost of the building project, including infrastructure, landscaping and endowment, exceeds $16 million. At this point, ACU has received more than $12 million in donations for the total project.

The Williams Performing Arts Center project is part of ACU's $100 million "To Lead and To Serve" campaign, which has reached $95 million. The campaign ends Dec. 31.

Money also said two theatres in the Williams Center will be named for Dr. and Mrs. James Culp of Benton, Ky., and Dr. and Mrs. Lewis Fulks of Abilene. A 300-seat theatre will be named Fulks Theatre after a man who directed sold-out ACU Homecoming Musicals for 30 years and ACU's 50th and 75th anniversary pageants.

A smaller multi-form theatre will be named Culp Theatre in honor of an ACU English professor of 15 years who also taught at Texas Tech and Lipscomb University.

"Don and Judy have made a substantial gift to the performing arts center - not just because they are patrons of the arts, but primarily because they believe in ACU and its mission," Money said. "ACU has profoundly affected their lives and the lives of their family, and they see the influence it continues to have on thousands of students every year.

"Don and Judy, frankly, have some uneasiness about this facility bearing their names. Their style of philanthropy is to do good in quiet ways. Their goal is simply to be faithful stewards of the blessings they have received from God. Board members felt this was an important way for them to express their appreciation for all the Williamses have done for ACU."

The new Williams Performing Arts Center will provide classroom, performance and practice facilities for ACU music and theatre. In addition to the Fulks and Culp Theatres, it also will include a recital hall, signature lobby area, dressing rooms, faculty and administrative offices, faculty studios, choral and instrumental rehearsal halls, and music library.

The architectural firm of record is The Tittle Luther Partnership of Abilene with Keating/Khang Architects of Santa Monica, Calif., acting as design consultants.

Williams received the Linz Award April 14, 1998, at the Hyatt Regency for his volunteer efforts with the Southern Sector Initiative, which encourages businesses to become involved in redevelopment in south Dallas. He was also named ACU's Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Feb. 23, 1987.

Before being named chairman of the board for Trammell Crow in 1994, Williams earlier was partner of overseas projects, managing partner, president and chief executive officer.

A native of Roswell, N.M., he received a law degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1966.

He has also served as a trustee for George Washington University and Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. He has served as a director for A.H. Belo Corporation, Fidelity Union Life Insurance Company, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Guaranty Federal Savings Bank and Texas Research League. He is a member of the Dallas, Texas and American Bar Associations, and has served on the U.S. President's Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations.

Williams is an elder at Skillman Church of Christ in Dallas. His wife, the former Judy Alguire, a native of Oklahoma City, also attended ACU and the University of Oklahoma. The couple has five children.

Fulks joined the ACU faculty in 1949 and, except for a three-year leave of absence, taught at the university 42 years before his retirement after the 1990-91 school year. A graduate of ACU, he received a master's degree in drama from the University of Southern California and an honorary doctorate from ACU. ACU's theatre program received national acclaim for excellence during his tenure, and Fulks established the Southwest's first dinner theatre program.

Culp, also a graduate of Abilene Christian, taught English at ACU in 1959-67 and again in 1986-92. He also taught at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., in 1950-52 and at Texas Tech in 1967-85. Culp received master's and Ph.D. degrees from Vanderbilt University and served as president of the Texas College English Association.

ACU is a national leader in Christian higher education, attracting more than 4,600 students from all the states and 60 nations. Ranked as one of "America's Best Colleges," Abilene Christian offers 117 bachelor's and 32 master's degrees and the Doctor of Ministry degree. ACU, a private comprehensive university, is known for exceptional academic programs in biblical studies, pre-med, physics, journalism/ digital media, education and business. The university is located about 180 miles west of Dallas.

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Last update: Feb. 22, 2000
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