By Jaci Schneider, Copy Editor
The Board of Trustees on Saturday voted to name the new Alumni and Welcome Center after Robert D. Hunter and his wife Shirley.
Dr. Royce Money, president of the university, announced the decision at the President’s Circle Dinner on Saturday night, and Hunter was in attendance.
“After serving in the ACU family for 50 years, I know there are countless others whose name should be on that building,” said Hunter, vice president emeritus and Texas State Representative, district 71. “This really was such a tremendous surprise.”
Hunter said he hopes to find a way to display the names of every alumnus, parent and friend of the university who contributed to its goals in the center.
Hunter has contributed much to the university in various ways since he graduated in 1952. He created Sing Song 50 years ago, helped pass the Texas Equalization Grant, which helps Texas students attend private universities, and now helps raise funds for the university.
Although the new Welcome Center has been designed, a start date for construction has not yet been set, said Phil Schubert, vice president of finance.
“We’re in a fundraising campaign now to secure funds,” Schubert said. “We hope to begin in the next year or two.”
According to a university press release, the Welcome Center will be built next to the University Park Apartments, off Judge Ely Boulevard. It will include a large, multi-purpose lobby, conference center, theatre, hall of honor and meeting rooms.
The board also voted Saturday to increase tuition by 7 percent, raising each credit hour to $521 from $487.
The tuition increase is the same as last year, Schubert said, and the amount is typical for the past few years.
The university’s tuition is still fairly comparable for private universities throughout the country, Schubert said.
“It’s a tightrope we walk between providing affordable and quality education,” Schubert said. “We take that challenge very seriously.”
Schubert said the increase goes toward the university’s ability to attract and attain high caliber faculty and staff by raising salaries; improving technology; and making various renovations on campus, including the residence halls.
Schubert said one specific addition to campus will be wireless Internet access in all the residence halls.
Robert Heil, director of enrollment operations, said in an e-mail that the funding increase also will go toward scholarships.
“This funding increase will continue to allow ACU to offer higher competitive merit scholarships and need-based aid to our students,” Heil said.
Although Schubert said tuition probably will increase at about the same rate for a few years, he doesn’t anticipate it increasing any more than 7 percent.
“We’re very interested in seeing that ACU remain affordable,” Schubert said.