Vision in Action

Abilene Christian University has received $55 million from three donors – including the largest gift in university history – to begin a series of construction projects that will transform the campus in a way not seen for nearly 50 years.

Together, the gifts provide $30 million for a dramatic $45 million metamorphosis of the university’s science facilities, which will comprise three buildings. The Halbert-Walling Research Center and the Robert R. Onstead Center for Science and Humanities will feature state-of-the-art laboratories, classrooms and offices supporting research and education for departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. Bennett Gymnasium will be renovated into laboratory and classroom space for the university’s fast-growing engineering program.

The gifts also provide $15 million toward Anthony Field at Wildcat Stadium on Ambler Avenue. Upon its opening, a full season of Wildcat football will be played on the ACU campus for the first time since World War II. A separate project features a new stadium on Campus Court to be shared by the university’s legendary track and field program and its newer, though already successful, women’s soccer team.

All facilities are projected to break ground this fall, pending completion of fundraising.

“Through our 21st-Century Vision, ACU promises to deliver a world-class academic education in a Christ-centered environment where students grow in their faith and are equipped to make a real difference in the world,” said university president Dr. Phil Schubert. “One of the priorities of our Vision also is creating spaces to strengthen the community aspect that makes our campus so unique. Thanks to God’s provision through these donors, we are delivering on our promise.”

The historic gifts comprise:

  • $10 million from Kay Onstead of Houston, Texas, for a science and humanities building honoring her late husband, Robert Onstead, member of the ACU Board of Trustees from 1978-2004. The gift is the sixth-largest in ACU history.
  • $15 million from alumni Kathy and David D. Halbert of Colleyville, Texas, through the Caris Foundation, for a science building that also honors David’s grandparents, the late Dean and Thelma Walling. David’s grandfather, Dean Walling, was an ACU trustee from 1976-83 and founding chair of the National Development Council during Design for Development campaigns that built numerous iconic buildings on the campus in the 1960s and ’70s. The Caris Foundation gift is the university’s third largest.
  • $30 million from alumni April and Mark Anthony of Dallas, Texas – the largest gift in ACU history, topping the $26.37 million received from the Grace L. Woodward Memorial Endowed Trust in 1998. The Anthonys’ commitment includes $15 million for construction of an on-campus football stadium; $7 million for ACU’s College of Business Administration, where April and Mark studied; $5 million for a science and humanities building in honor of Robert R. Onstead; and $3 million in undesignated funds. April Anthony is a member of ACU’s Board of Trustees.