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ACU to receive $10 million for graduate ministry scholarships

Lacy and Dorothy Harber spoke at a reception in their honor Thursday night.
Nov. 4, 2005

Lacy and Dorothy Harber of Denison, have made provisions for a $10 million gift to Abilene Christian University’s Graduate School of Theology, said Dr. Royce Money, ACU president. The $10 million is one of the largest gifts in ACU’s history, and is the largest-ever scholarship endowment gift.

The Lacy and Dorothy Harber Endowed Scholarship Fund will be used to provide 50 full-tuition scholarships for graduate ministry students.

“The gift from Lacy and Dorothy Harber is generous beyond words,” said Dr. Jack Reese, dean of the Graduate School of Theology and dean of the College of Biblical Studies. “It will have a deep and immediate impact on students within the Graduate School of Theology.”

Lacy and Dorothy Harber met in 1953 when she was a student at Abilene High School, and he attended Wylie High School. Lacy later attended ACU, and he and Dorothy have now been married 47 years. The Harbers have had a successful business career in banking, oil and gas, resort properties and other interests. They own Abilene-based G&L Tools, the largest oil field service company in the nation.

"We are honored to be able to do this," Lacy said. "We are just stewards of this money for a short time. It's not really ours. It belongs to God." 

In addition to the scholarships, the funding will help defray living expenses for students who have special needs, including several international students studying in the Graduate School of Theology, and will increase support for graduate assistants.

“The greatest impact of this gift will be on ministry students who often graduate with significant debt,” Reese said. “This gift will allow these students to enter ministry fully focused on their work rather than burdened by their educational debt. For that reason, the generosity of the Harbers will literally change these students' lives.”

Graduate ministry student Aaron Metcalf said he has personal experience with receiving such a scholarship, and he can testify to its impact. As an undergraduate student he found himself packing his bags to leave school because of financial problems, but before he had finished packing his bags, a benefactor from his home congregation offered to pay for his school.

"What he gave me was more than just financial relief," Metcalf said. "He gave me a sense of mission. I knew that someone believed in me enough to donate a substantial amount of money for my education. This gift today is not only financial but spiritual. The Harbers are giving the gift of mission."

The gift is part of ACU’s Centennial Campaign, totaling more than $94 million to date.

ACU, a national leader in Christian higher education with 4,700 students from around the world, was founded Sept. 11, 1906. The university is celebrating its Centennial year from Aug. 22, 2005 to Sept. 11, 2006 with the theme "Called to Faith and Excellence."

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