Wildcat fans packed the bleachers Saturday for the first game ever played at Wildcat Stadium. From the suite level, the donors who made the stadium possible watched the game with their family and friends.
April and Mark Anthony, who gave $15 million to the stadium project, watched their son, freshman quarterback Luke Anthony, play on the field that bears their name.
“As parents it’s great but it’s the alumni in us that has really loved this experience,” April Anthony said. “Knowing the opportunity for our university to have an on-campus stadium is pretty great and it’s just icing on the cake to have our son standing on the sideline.”
The Wildcats beat Houston Baptist University 24-3, and Luke Anthony scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Anthonys gave the largest gift in the university history, $30 million, a portion of which also went to the Onstead Science Center, the College of Business Administration and other undesignated funds.
The Anthonys said they’ll be in their suite every time the doors are open for a home game.
“It’s been spectacular the response that we’ve gotten,” Mark Anthony said. “It’s really the bringing together of our community as Wildcats.”
A 1981 graduate, Rick Wessel, along with his wife Debbie, donated $2.85 million to help build the Wessel scoreboard, the fourth largest on-campus video board in the NCAA Div. 1 Football Championship Subdivision.
Wessel said he didn’t go to many games as a student when the team played at Shotwell Stadium, but on Saturday he said he had the chance to reconnect with old friends.
“We thought it was an exciting day,” Wessel said. “It’s a great day for ACU. The family the friends, the people we’ve seen that we haven’t seen in a long time. We just loved it.”
Tod and LeeAnn Brown, 1987 graduates, donated to the club level, which is named after their family. He also serves on the university board of trustees.
“I think it’s really an investment in our future,” he said. “I think it means so much more. It’s not just about football, it’s about all the ways people connect and interact and all the ways that we can show people who don’t know us what ACU is all about.”