ACU Foundation Names New President, Executive Director

for immediate release Feb. 26, 1998

The ACU Foundation will be led by its first-ever president and a new executive director beginning June 1, announced Dr. Royce Money, chairman of the foundation's board of trustees and president of Abilene Christian University.

Dan Garrett, a certified financial planner and longtime fund-raising consultant, will become the foundation's first president. Garrett will continue to serve as ACU's vice chancellor.

"I've never been more excited about the future of Abilene Christian University and its ability to attract a very strong endowment than I am today," Garrett said. "I'm pleased to be a part of this ministry to help secure the future of ACU. We look forward to helping people with the planning and stewardship of the assets God has blessed them with. This is a special time in the history of ACU and the ACU Foundation."

Garrett worked for the university from 1973 to 1984 in various development roles before moving to Dallas to serve as vice president of the Baylor Health Care System Foundation for 10 years. He returned to ACU as vice chancellor in 1995 and has worked primarily in the area of estate planning. He also serves as president of the Garrett Group, a consulting company for nonprofit organizations.

Joe L. Cope, J.D., currently executive assistant to the president of ACU, will become executive director of the foundation. He has been engaged in the private practice of law in Abilene since 1986. In addition, Cope has more than 10 years of fund-raising and public relations experience.

Cope will replace Dr. Milton Fletcher, who is retiring this year. A search will begin soon to fill the executive assistant to the president position.

"Although Dr. Fletcher has made the decision to retire, I persuaded him to return to a part-time role with the foundation," said Money. "Milton has done a phenomenal job in getting the foundation started. His organizational expertise has greatly benefited us in this endeavor. While we want to honor his decision, we also sorely need his continued presence during this transition to new leadership."

Fletcher was the founding executive director of the ACU Foundation, which began in May 1993. His experience is broad: 14 years in the oil business in Dallas after graduating from ACU; four years as business manager then vice president at Michigan Christian College; and work in public relations and development at ACU from 1972 to 1980.

While at ACU the first time, he hired Garrett to begin his fund-raising work for the university.

"I'm delighted that we have Dan and Joe to step in and move ahead with great success at the ACU Foundation," Fletcher said. "The foundation is moving rapidly into an expanded role, and we need their kind of experience and leadership. It's been a great blessing and honor to be the founding executive director of the foundation and to see it move to this point. I look forward to continuing my work there as we make this important leadership transition."

Fletcher left his role as ACU's vice president for public relations and development in 1980 to become president of Michigan Christian. He served as president until his first retirement in August 1991. Fletcher's retirement lasted just one month before he began working for Christian Care Centers in Dallas. In January 1993, he returned to Abilene.

"I want to express appreciation for what Dr. Fletcher has done for the foundation, and for the role he will continue to play," Garrett said. "His continued wisdom and insight will be extremely valuable to me, and to the people we assist." Garrett was elected by a unanimous vote of the board of trustees of the foundation at a Feb. 20 meeting in Abilene.

"Dan Garrett will bring a national presence to the foundation as president," Money noted. "His acknowledged expertise in the field of estate planning will elevate awareness of the foundation's services. I'm excited about the potential that we now have, with the addition of Dan Garrett and Joe Cope, to expand these services and open new avenues and offerings."

The mission of ACU, established in 1906, is to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. The ACU Foundation, a separate, nonprofit corporation, supports the university's mission through fund-raising, primarily in the areas of deferred giving, estate planning and endowment.

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Last update: March 31, 1998