Dr. Phil Schubert, president of the university, joined Kay Onstead and others in a ceremony Monday to break ground on the Onstead Science Center.
The ceremony marks the third project already underway as part of the Vision in Action initiative. Last spring, Onstead committed $10 million toward the project in honor of her late husband, former ACU trustee Robert Onstead.
“She was the visionary leader that began this incredible journey,” Schubert said in Chapel Monday before the groundbreaking.
In honor of that vision, the new building will be named after Onstead and her husband. The Robert R. and Kay Onstead Science Center will eventually replace what is now the Foster Science Building and Walling Lecture Hall. Foster has served as the university’s science building for more than 70 years.
“The center will be a showpiece on this campus for years to come,” Schubert said. “And I can’t think of anything better than to have it named for two of the most selfless and generous people I’ve ever had the privilege to meet.”
The ceremony started in symbolism as Schubert walked Kay Onstead to the groundbreaking site. It was one of her gifts that originally funded Schubert’s scholarship to ACU in the late ’80s, he said. Now, 30 years later, another of her gifts has sparked the vision to transform the campus under his leadership as president.
Dr. Robert Rhodes, provost, formally began the reception.
Charlie Onstead, Kay and Robert Onstead’s son, and Maxwell Moore, senior biochemistry major from Abilene, also spoke to those in attendance, with closing remarks coming from Schubert.
“The possibility of a donation that would honor her husband’s memory has evolved collectively with the Halbert and Anthony families into the single largest gift in ACU history,” said Charlie Onstead, an ACU trustee. “I know that my mother is proud to have been at the forefront of that.”
In addition to the Onstead’s $10 million donation, a portion of April and Mark Anthony’s $30 million gift will go toward the project. The Dodge Jones Foundation and the Dian Graves Owen Foundation are also supporting the new building financially as part of a combined $8 million grant.
“I cannot even comprehend the amount of money, but the value is so much more than the number of dollars,” Moore said. “The value is in the fact that its another form of investment in ACU students that they believe in us and our futures.”