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Scholarship campaign passes $20 million mark

Jill, Rex and Lance Fleming

Rex Fleming’s battle against brain cancer inspired many in the ACU and broader Abilene communities. Now his parents have begun the process of making sure his life, which ended too quickly in December 2012 at age 10, affects people for generations to come.

The Rex Fleming Endowed Scholarship is one of more than 60 endowed scholarships created thus far as part of ACU’s $50 million Partnering in the Journey Campaign. The campaign is more than 40 percent of the way to its goal, with more than $20 million raised thus far.

“Our students’ journeys may take them across Treadaway here in Abilene or across the globe, but wherever they go, you are their partners,”ACU president Dr. Phil Schubert (’91) told donors Feb. 17 at the President’s Circle Dinner, one year after the campaign was first announced. “Your generosity makes an ACU education possible and opens up possibilities for them they could never have imagined when they took their first steps on campus.”

The Partnering in the Journey Campaign aims to raise $50 million in endowed scholarships, the largest fundraising effort focused solely on student affordability that ACU has ever undertaken. It has inspired hundreds of donors to add to existing endowments or create new ones in honor or memory of family members, friends, mentors and other loved ones.

Dr. Darryl Jinkerson
Lois Marie Reed
Rhonda Holder

Among those created in the past year are scholarships in honor of Lois Marie Reed, administrative coordinator of the Department of Engineering and Physics; Rhonda Holder, retired coordinator of the Department of Political Science; and Willa B (Sloan ’34) Patterson, ACU’s youngest centenarian. Scholarships also have been created in memory of several members of the Abilene Christian community who have died in recent years, including alumna Jenny (Ross ’00) Bizaillion, business management professor Dr. Darryl Jinkerson, and Rex, the oldest son of Lance (’92) and Jill Fleming.

“Jill and I wanted to establish the Rex Fleming Endowed Scholarship to help aspiring doctors, nurses or medical research student-athletes attend ACU,” said Fleming, ACU’s assistant athletics director for sports media relations. “Cancer is a very tough opponent, but we know that one day a cure will be found so that no other family will suffer the loss of a child as we did. Wouldn’t it be great if one of the doctors on the team that finally cracks the code to cure cancer went to ACU with the help of the Rex Fleming Endowed Scholarship?”

Willa B Patterson waves to the Moody Coliseum crowd at 2013 Opening Assembly.

Tuition and fees only covers about 60 percent of the cost of educating a student at ACU, and more than 90 percent of students receive some sort of financial aid on top of that, making endowed scholarships a vital part of the equation that allows students to obtain an ACU education.

“That’s a tremendous help to students who love ACU,” Schubert said, “who want and need to be here, but find it hard to afford the cost of college tuition.”

Unrestricted scholarship endowments must be funded at a level of $10,000 before they can begin awarding funds to students, while restricted endowments must reach a $25,000 level. Along with the 63 new scholarships, nearly 40 others have received gifts of $10,000 or more since the beginning of the campaign.

For more information on creating an endowed scholarship, contact director of advancement Don Garrett (’78), or call 325-674-2213. To give to an existing endowment, visit or call 325-674-2612.