ACU’s strongest donors were honored at one of the university’s premier events, the annual President’s Circle dinner, on Saturday.
“This is the top dinner on campus each year,” said Barbara Hejl, ACU director of stewardship.
Held in the Teague Special Events Center, the event included an opening reception, dinner and a concluding program with a video showing the benefits of the ACU endowment to students. All guests also had the opportunity to take a photograph with ACU president, Dr. Royce Money, and wife, Pam Money, at their last President’s Circle dinner before Money transitions to his new role as chancellor.
Almost 600 individuals attended the dinner this year, Hejl said. 1,157 invitations were sent to donors who have given at least $1,000 to the university during the past fiscal year. This year’s guests included members of the Heritage Society, an organization for ACU alumni and friends who have committed to giving to the university as part of their estate plans.
“We feel good about the attendance,” Hejl said. “We would like to see the dinner grow even more.”
Created in 1969, the President’s Circle was “established to bring together those who are the strongest financial supporters of ACU,” according to the ACU Office of Development Web site. Members qualify yearly according to donation. Hejl said many of the President’s Circle members are ACU alumni.
Hejl begins seriously planning for the dinner in September every year in order to make it top notch.
“My goal is to make every donor feel and realize that they are important regardless of the size of their gift,” Hejl said.
Twelve student ambassadors also attended the event to meet donors and share their experiences at ACU; the ambassadors wore name tags listing the scholarships they had been awarded. Many of the students’ stated scholarships were endowment-funded, Hejl said.
Mark Foster, senior information technology major from Abilene, was one of the ambassadors. This was Foster’s first President’s Circle dinner, although he has helped with the Heritage Society dinner in the past.
“It’s interesting to see different people gone from ACU who are giving back now,” Foster said. “It’s a good time for them to be thanked.”
Although the members of the President’s Circle meet formally only once a year, Hejl said the group is tightly knit, and the dinner helps to build relationships.
“Although we have new people every year, it feels like a family,” Hejl said.