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ACU College of Business announces inaugural Dukes Scholars

Abilene Christian University’s College of Business Administration has selected 26 students for the inaugural cohort of Dukes Scholars, funded by the Dr. William P. and Janie B. Dukes Excellence in Finance Endowment.


Dr. Kyle Tippens, director of the Dukes School of Finance.
Kyle Tippens, director of the Dukes School of Finance.

In 2022, the late Dr. Bill and Janie Dukes donated, through their estate, more than $29 million to ACU – the largest single academic gift in ACU’s history.

Their generosity established the Dr. William P. and Janie B. Dukes Excellence in Finance Endowment, supporting student scholarships, graduate school preparation and endowed faculty positions. In recognition of this historic gift, the university has launched the new Dukes School of Finance, with the Dukes Scholars as one of its flagship programs.

“We hope to form a community that blesses the Dukes Scholars but, beyond that, also blesses all finance students,” said Dr. Kyle Tippens, director of the Dukes School of Finance.

Students were selected for the honor based on qualities important to the Dukes family, including Christian faith and commitment to the ACU mission, exemplary lives of service and leadership in the global marketplace, and high standards of character and integrity. Interested students completed an application and provided a resume and a recommendation letter. Finalists in the application process interviewed with the ACU finance faculty and were asked to discuss their meaningful achievements, their plans for the future and how faith informs their lives.

The Dukes Scholars cohort includes freshmen through seniors, and are all finance majors. Students entering as freshmen will receive scholarships of up to $38,000 over their four years at ACU. Students must continue on a strong academic trajectory, along with excellent personal integrity, to maintain the scholarship.

The group will benefit from monthly events such as dinners, speakers, training sessions, community service opportunities, mentoring and travel.

The Dukes Scholars for 2023-24 are:

  • Leighton Alford, senior from Tuscola
  • Aliyah Anderson, junior from Phoenix, Arizona
  • Abbey Baker, junior from Sugar Land
  • Emily Batchelor, sophomore from Lewisville
  • Tibby Brown, freshman from West Monroe, Louisiana
  • Peyton Bruce, senior from Keller
  • McKenzie Cantwell, sophomore from Arlington
  • Ian Gully, freshman from McKinney
  • Shane Heflin, sophomore from Fort Worth
  • Kaden Herring, junior from Fort Worth
  • Brandon Hicks, freshman from Plano
  • Blake Hill, junior from Brock
  • Emma Jaax, senior from Fair Oaks
  • Jaime Lewis, junior from Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Sydney Meyers, senior from Cypress
  • Noelle Moerdyk, freshman from San Antonio
  • Austin Petree, senior from Abilene
  • Hayden Poorman, senior from Buffalo Gap
  • Austin Pope, freshman from Aledo
  • Audrey Posey, sophomore from Keller
  • Carter Sanders, senior from Abilene
  • Kaylee Smoot, senior from Corona, California
  • Samuel (Reed) Tilly, freshman from Apex, North Carolina
  • William Vogelsang, junior from McKinney
  • Samuel Wagner, sophomore from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
  • Patience Whitaker Gill, sophomore from Houston

Learn more about the College of Business Administration.

— Wendy Kilmer

August 14, 2023

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