Austin College Launches $125 Million Campaign

Austin College Launches $125 Million Campaign

Austin College President Steven P. O’Day announced a $125 million fundraising campaign, “POWER Austin College,” before a gathering of the College’s faithful at Homecoming & Family Weekend today, November 10. The Sherman High School drumline, Katy ’Roo, and the Austin College cheerleaders were on hand to add to the festivities of the morning and the spirit of the weekend.

President O’Day told his audience that Austin College has much good news to celebrate. He explained that the College has been in the “quiet phase” of the campaign and has reached 75 percent of the goal, following a record-setting fiscal year of fundraising that brought in $31 million.

The president announced the campaign launch internally a few weeks ago to faculty and staff since they POWER the College in its mission. “Now we publicly launch the campaign with you, our alumni and current parents, because you know firsthand the POWER of an Austin College education to transform students, so they can transform the world,” President O’Day said.

“In this campaign, we are working to raise the funds needed to continue those transformations today and into the future,” the president said. “We need to support and enhance the scholarships, programs, and facilities involved in educating the whole student—mind, body, and spirit. These experiences are, after all, the essence of an Austin College education.” The campaign goals specifically focus on scholarships, capital (facilities), and endowment growth.

The “fun part” as he said this morning, is the celebration of the successes that have brought the campaign to this stage.”We are so very thankful for each one of these gifts to Austin College,” the president said. “The generosity of our friends and alumni is quite amazing.”

He told the group of some of the gifts of the last 10 months:

  • A $1.5 million gift from Robert and Joyce Johnson of McLean, Virginia, in support of Faith and Engagement and the Johnson Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in Teaching. Johnson is a member of the Class of 1953, a former chair of the Board of Trustees, and a current member of the senior board.
  • A lead gift from Mary K. Grum of Lufkin, Texas, to renovate Wynne Chapel in honor of her late husband, Clifford Grum ’56, who was a devoted supporter of Austin College students throughout his lifetime and a longtime member of the College’s Board of Trustees.
  • A $4 million gift from Nancy Bickel Bryant ’67 and her husband, Jerry Taylor, in support of STEM education. Students have already benefited from the instrumentation this gift has provided, and a STEM faculty chair and scholarships for physics majors are also part of that generous gift.
  • A $7 million gift from The Morris Family Foundation of Fort Worth—the lead gift toward the renovation of the former Moody Science Center, which will become The Jack B. Morris Center for Business Studies.

The president had new milestones to announce as well:

  • A $2 million gift from trustee Sally Nation ’64 and her husband, Jim, of Dallas, to renovate in 2019 Ida Green Communication Center’s lobby and main theatre, to be named Sally and Jim Nation Theatre. The renovation will include new seating as well as technical upgrades to lighting, sound, and audio visual systems. The lobby renovations will create a Learning Commons.
  • A $9 million gift from the estate of Bill Richardson ’64 of Sherman, who had a long family legacy and personal history of support and advocacy of Austin College. His gift will endow four faculty chairs each named, at his request, “Bill Richardson Chair in Skeptical Thought.”
  • A $1 million unrestricted and fully funded endowment gift from an anonymous donor.

An ambitious Athletics Master Plan with upgrades and enhancements of virtually all athletics facilities is another portion of the campaign. “I am very excited to announce our lead gift for athletics renovation,” President O’Day said:

  • A $500,000 gift from the Jordan Family Foundation, continuing the family’s legacy of generosity to the College. The Jordan name has had a place in Austin College history since George R. Jordan graduated in 1915. The family has created the Jordan Family Language House, the President’s Suite in Caruth Administration Building, a substantial scholarship program that has benefited many students, and endowed two faculty chairs.

The president added that four alumni and their spouses had each given $50,000 or more toward athletics also:

  • Thomas ’91 & Halley Ortiz
  • Scott ’83 & Denise Austin
  • Bill ’80 & Clyde Crook
  • Rodney ’84 & Kim Moore

The Jordan Family gift and the individual alumni gifts will fully fund reconstruction of the competition tennis courts in the coming weeks, he said.

The final gift announcement from the president involved a challenge.

  • A $500,000 matching challenge for scholarships from David ’65 and Judy Easterly of Atlanta, Georgia

“David Easterly and his wife, Judy, have put forward—for the second time in two years—a generous scholarship matching challenge,” President O’Day said. “They have agreed to match up to $500,000 this year for scholarships. For every dollar donated, David and Judy will match it TWO to one—with $1 toward immediate-use scholarships and $1 toward endowed scholarships. David and Judy believe in the power of Austin College and the importance of providing access to the education offered here.”

The president stressed the impact made by all alumni and friends of the College working together to make the POWER campaign successful. “Whatever size gift you make toward scholarships this year will effectively be tripled by the Easterly match,” President O’Day said. “I urge you to become involved in this scholarship match and the POWER Austin College campaign today. Every gift is important. Every gift has impact. Whatever size gift you make toward scholarships this year will effectively be tripled by the Easterly match!

Allison McBee Dawson ’03, vice president for Institutional Advancement, says more campaign news will be shared over the coming months. “We are proud of the progress we have made to date,” she said. “It was great to announce all the successes and ‘wow’ people with the big numbers, but there are a lot of dollars left to come in. Some of those will be big gifts. Many will be $25 or $50 or $100; those gifts are just as meaningful and can be just as generous. When all those gifts are put together, they have big impact.”

For information about the campaign, call Dawson at 903.813.2056 or email her at amdawson@austincollege.edu. Campaign specifics can be found at poweraustincollege.com.

Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with 46 percent of students identifying as persons of color. A residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. This year, the campus recognizes 100 years of co-education and has had several opportunities to recognize the history of women and accomplishments of current alumnae. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.

“Subliminal Surprises” Art Exhibit Opens Nov 5th at Austin College

“Subliminal Surprises” Art Exhibit Opens Nov 5th at Austin College

Artists Combine Jewelry and Found Objects in Upcoming Austin College Exhibit

SHERMAN, Texas–Austin College alumnae artists Martina Noble of Sherman and Amy Veatch of Raleigh, North Carolina, explore how adornment and collection reveal and reflect the story of people’s lives in their upcoming exhibit, “Subliminal Surprises,” opening November 5 at Austin College.

The exhibit runs November 5 through December 14 in Ida Green Communication Center’s Ida Green Gallery. An artist reception is scheduled for Saturday, November 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the gallery in connection with Austin College’s Homecoming and Family Weekend. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. The gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In the exhibit, “Subliminal Surprises,” jewelry and other found and saved objects explore the markers people leave behind as they link the present with the experiences of the past, the artists say. In the exhibit, the artists present a series of assemblage pieces, each featuring an item of jewelry, surround the jewelry with a suite of other objects, found or saved, that create a context which whispers, sings, or silently points up something of the artists’ thought process, Noble said. The jewelry, she explained, tells a story as it is included with other treasures, such as a small snake skeleton, a piece of wallpaper from an old house, and biology slides from a closed laboratory.

“Through various objects, treasures, and traces of other stories, other times, the pieces delineate the meandering arc of a lifetime, and its many intersections with other lives,” Veatch said. “This show explores the topography of time, beauty, and sublimity. It looks at what we hold as precious, ordinary, and extraordinary. It asks what do we see, what do we keep, what do we leave behind? And what surprises arise as we plumb these layers of experience?”

Subliminal Surprises

In their artists’ notes, Veatch and Noble explain, “This context shows how jewelry and other objects, such as wallpaper, fill some need to adorn our lives and explain ourselves. We investigate the idea that a house is decorated or adorned, and life happens all around the adornment: nesting, birth, daily drudgery, celebrations, sadness, innovation, learning, illness, death, and the myriad decisions of a lifetime. We adorn ourselves with jewelry and keepsakes from our past, our family, our present day; and we adorn our houses with ‘jewelry’ of a sort with decorative elements and furnishings. We live our lives in this mix of declaration of self, family, culture, and society … all marked with the adornment that reveals our journey.”

About the Artists

Amy VeatchAmy Veatch, Austin College Class of 1985

Amy Veatch has set a personal goal to notice and find worth in materials or objects that are used in everyday life and mix materials to create art that reflects life and its relationships. She makes jewelry from precious and non-ferrous metal sheet, tube and wire, found objects and stones, incorporating all of her interests in two-dimensional and three-dimensional artistic expression.

Growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Veatch said she loved experimenting and creating art in many forms and found inspiration in the jewelry made by Native American and Mexican artists. She still loves the natural materials used in that jewelry and how it reflects landscape and architectural shapes.

As an art major at Austin College, she concentrated on painting, drawing, and sculpture, and began to incorporate metals into her work. After moving to Raleigh, North Carolina, she enrolled in a jewelry program and expanded her art. Her recent work includes an award-winning mural for Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources at the city’s Peach Road Park.

Veatch lives and works in North Carolina, where she teaches jewelry and art for the City of Raleigh and North Carolina State Crafts Center.

Martina NobleMartina Noble, 1985 Austin College graduate Martina Buesing

Martina Noble, the daughter of a Naval architect, grew up on the shipyards of the port town of Hamburg, Germany. Avid sailors, her family spent summer weekends on the Elbe River and the Baltic and the North seas. During the winters, they worked on their boat. Noble’s fascination with metal and the ocean sparked there. “Life on the water is simple, beautiful, and stark: sparkling sunlight and ferocious storms,” she said.

Jewelry is an ancient, intimate art form—worn on the body, making a statement, she said. Using, silver, gold, gemstones and found materials, Noble searches simple lines for “the essence of a shape or a concept: a rolling wave, a smile. At their essence life, people, and ideas intersect and celebrate commonality.”

Noble holds a Graduate Jeweler Diploma from the Revere Academy in San Francisco, a master’s degree in international relations and economics from the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Relations at Johns Hopkins University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Austin College. She lives and works out of an old fire station in Sherman.

Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change LivesAustin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of approximately 1,275 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the college is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.

Austin College Presents Lively Day of the Dead Production Día de Muertos

Austin College Presents Lively Day of the Dead Production Día de Muertos

Brilliant colors, vibrant dance, artful words, and a dose of humor will bring a de Muertos alive for one night at Austin College on Monday, November 5, at 5 p.m. as the Austin College Center for Southwestern and Mexican Studies presents Day of the Dead – La Catrina Mexica y Nezahualcóyotl” in Hoxie Thompson Auditorium of Sherman Hall. The performance, presented mostly in Spanish with an English introduction, is very visual so can be enjoyed regardless of language, organizers explain. The event is free and open to the public; auditorium doors open at 4:30 p.m. Sherman Hall is located on Grand Avenue.

 Artists and actors Erik De Luna and Román Iván Gómez will bring to life the dance, poetry, philosophy, and rites of central Mexico one century before the arrival of the Spanish. This performance will feature a pre-Hispanic personification of death (la Catrina prehispánica) and the 15th-century poet king Nezahualcóyotl.

Erik De Luna is an amazing artist who not only has a keen original aesthetic but also a performers ability to sense an audience,” said Dr. Julie Hempel, director of the Center for Southwestern and Mexican Studies. The show that he is bringing to Austin College is based on the theme he is presenting this year in Querétaro, Mexico. He is working with seasoned actor Román Iván Gómez who will portray the Pre-Hispanic poet Nezahualcóyotl. The performance will be mostly in Spanish, but it is also full of visuals, dance, and rituals, so it will be entertaining to a wide audience. It is a rare chance to see how ancient Mexicans celebrated Day of the Dead.

Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos, is a Latin American holiday of celebration and festival that honors the dead and the belief that on this day, the dead join the living in celebration.Though held a few days after the American Halloween, the holidays are not related, and Day of the Dead is not considered a scary or sad event. Skeletons and skulls that are the familiar symbols of the day are nearly always festively decorated and portrayed as enjoying life. 

Erik De Luna began his artistic career with a bachelors degree in graphic design. While studying at the Autonomous University of Querétaro in Mexico, he joined the university theater group Los Cómicos de la Legua.” Through acting, he discovered a passion for performance and costume design in addition to drawing and the visual arts. He has continued to write, direct, and perform shows at the university theater for the past 19 years, most notably shows centering on Day of the Dead. In 2003, Erik designed a lotería game featuring images to match the more than 50 names that Mexicans use to personify death.  Since then, he has portrayed the Catrina (a traditional death figure) and continued to draw, paint, and design costumes for more than 100 Catrinas. He has appeared on the cover of National Geographic Traveler as theCatrina Monarca” and as an invited artist during the premiere of the movie Coco in Morelia, Mexico. In the past two years, he has performed throughout Mexico and internationally in Shanghai, Madrid, and Vienna

Román Iván Gómez, an architect by training, has acted with Los Cómicos de la Legua” at the Autonomous University of Querétaro theater for almost 13 years. Most recently, he appeared in the all-male production of La Casa de Bernarda Alba. Other productions include: Bajo tierra, Salón Calavera, Milagritos a la orden, La tradicional pastorela navideña, Yerma, and Los gritos mudos de las voces muertas.These last three works are musicals directed by Maestro Alejandro Celia.

The Austin College Center for Southwestern and Mexican Studies promotes collaborative learning between students of the college and faculty members, with special emphasis on the historical, cultural, social, economic, and political issues facing Texas and Mexico.

 Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change LivesAustin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of approximately 1,275 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.