Students and faculty alike are looking forward to the renovations and construction announced in Friday’s Chapel.
President Schubert sent out an email on Thursday encouraging students to attend Chapel the following day, when he announced the university has received a $55 million gift from three donors. The donations will be invested in the $75 million “Vision in Action” initiative, building three science facilities and two on-campus stadiums.
Many who attended Chapel were excited about the construction, viewing it as a beneficial expansion to the university.
“We’re growing as a community and Chambers is old, so I think this project will help the community as a whole, as well as students around campus,” said Mindi Gonzales, sophomore psychology major from San Antonio.
Mark Dumcum (’83), said he was delighted by the news.
“I am so excited. I think this gives us a rebirth on our campus,” he said. “ACU is such a vibrant place anyway, so these are going to be great additions to what we have.”
Others were taken aback by the donors’ generosity. They saw it as an investment toward future students and an opportunity to gain more recognition in the collegiate world.
Jaclyn Barker, junior math education major from Grapevine, said she is looking forward to expanding out of the corner in the Foster Science Building.
“Also, for high school students looking at ACU, a new building will be more impressive,” she said. “Maybe that will increase the enrollment in the math and science departments.”
Many students realized the buildings would not be constructed in time for their use, but remained optimistic about the process.
“It’s really exciting to see the campus growing, even if we probably won’t see it all finished before we graduate,” said Michael Scott, sophomore business management major. “I’m glad to see the campus constantly improving.”
Caleb Hughes, sophomore criminal justice major, had a similar view.
“I think what they’re doing is fantastic, even though our class probably won’t be around to see the changes,” he said. “I’m thoroughly impressed, though.”
Even prospective students attending Chapel were impressed by the announcement.
Daniel Fanto, prospective student from Thousand Oaks, Calif., recognized the significance of the gift for students and the city of Abilene.
“I thought it was a great commitment toward the campus and the community that surrounds us.”
Zane Witcher, sophomore biblical text major from Georgetown, said he is most excited about the project’s potential to unite students.
“As I look at a Moody full of students who are standing around for the announcement, I think about how cool if will be for all of them to be in our football stadium one day,” he said.
However, some professors are concerned about the displacement of Chamber Hall’s departments. For example, Paul Roggendorff, professor of Language and Literature, said faculty in his area had not met to discuss the impact of construction.
“As far as I know, the departments in Chambers have not. It’s kind of a given that their building is going away,” he said. “But the new projects are for the sciences, and so that’s as much information as we’ve had up to this point. We’ve had no input in the new buildings.”
These changes will be the largest to the university since the Design for Development campaign in the 1960s and ’70s, which raised $33 million for the construction of buildings around campus.