ABILENE, Texas - Hardin-Simmons University announced Thursday the beginning of the 'Transformation 2020' campaign to raise $60 million in three years for new buildings and renovations.
HSU President Dr. Lanny Hall unveiled the plan during the 2013-2014 convocation Thursday morning to enthusiastic applause.
"Facilities are important to an institution," Hall said. "This is a very competitive field and we have to stay current and we want to have the very best, state-of-the-art facilities for our students."
Will Wilkins, an alum and board of trustee member, and his wife Janice donated $16 million dollars to the plan. Wilkins is an investor and has a background in banking and construction. The donation is the largest in HSU history.
"What we're hoping is that this will basically ignite other folks to be interested and to look at the benefits that they have derived from the school and they want others to derive from the school and encourage them to do the same thing," Wilkins said.
The first projects that will be tackled are the building of a new wellness center and an education building on the west end of the HSU campus. Both will feature names that are inspired by the Wilkins family. Construction is expected to begin next year.
"We're so thankful to God and thankful to this wonderful family that they love their God and they love Hardin-Simmons and that they wanted to give back to Christian education," Hall said.
Other proposed projects include renovating the Behrens Auditorium, the Van Ellis Theatre, building two new residence halls, adding stadium seating at certain athletic fields and creating more parking spaces. Academic programs could also see expansion.
As of Thursday, more than $27 million has been raised. That is more than 46 percent of the campaign's first phase goal.