Texas couple commits $20 million

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Thanks to a $20 million commitment from Lacy (’61) and Dorothy Harber of Denison, Texas, Abilene Christian University’s Partnering in the Journey campaignhas exceeded its goal to raise $50 million for endowed scholarships for students to assist in making college more affordable.

Partnering in the Journey now stands at $50,075,647 in commitments. The $20 million gift is one of the largest in ACU’s history and is the second-largest scholarship endowment gift.

“I want to thank Lacy and Dorothy for their leadership and overwhelming generosity to this university and to our students,” said Dr. Phil Schubert (’91) on Feb. 20 at the university’s annual President’s Circle Dinner. “It’s hard to put into words how meaningful and significant this gift is, but know this: Scholarships change our students’ lives. And our students change the world.

”Since the campaign was publicly launched in February 2012, and including gifts made since June 1, 2010, 105 new endowed scholarships have been created and 67 existing endowments received $10,000 or more in new funding. More than 700 households made first-time gifts to ACU’s endowment during the campaign.

The Harber Bible Endowed Scholarship Fund will be used to provide scholarships for students in the College of Biblical Studies.“We are honored to be able to do this,” Lacy Harber said in a previous interview about the gift.

“We are just stewards of this money for a short time. It’s not really ours. It belongs to God.”Lacy and Dorothy were raised in the Abilene area, and Lacy attended Abilene Christian in the late 1950s.

The Harbers’ philanthropy extends to various institutions and causes, including Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, Texoma Medical Center, Wilson N. Jones Medical Center, the Salvation Army and Opportunity Village. In 2014, they received the prestigious Ellis Island Medal Honor, joining the ranks of former U.S. presidents, former U.S. Supreme Court justices and Nobel Prize winners who have been so honored.

“Lacy and Dorothy are living testimonies of the words of Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive,’ ” said ACU chancellor Dr. Royce Money (’64). “In the name of Jesus they have given freely of their time and resources to worthy causes in which they believe.”

The Harbers each received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in May 2015 from ACU for the leadership they have demonstrated through lives of selfless service to others. 

When funded through their estate, the Harbers’ scholarship will be one of more than 700 endowed scholarships directly benefiting ACU students. Every year, a portion of the interest generated from Abilene Christian’s endowment provides money for both restricted and unrestricted scholarships. As of Dec. 31, 2015, the university’s endowment had a value of $357.28 million.

All ACU freshmen receive financial aid, which makes endowed scholarships an important tool for attracting the best students and providing them valuable assistance toward earning a degree.

The average first-year ACU student’s financial aid package for 2014-15 was $24,000, which included a combination of scholarships, grants, work-study and loans. ACU offered more than 4,400 scholarships and grants valued at more than $34 million to the entering Class of 2015.

Written for ACU Today.

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