By Phoebe Terry
Amarillo College has announced a $2.5 million gift from Amarillo National Bank as a part of the Badger Bold Comprehensive Campaign at an event held in The Underground March 7.
This gift marks a total of $3.7 million from ANB to the campaign, making them the largest supporter and bringing the total funds raised to $36.5 million out of the total goal of $45 million.
“Because the gift is so large and it comes from a foundational organization like Amarillo National Bank, it’s a message to the rest of the community and an endorsement of what this college is doing,” Russell Lowery-Hart, president of AC, said.
The gift will go toward three initiatives outlined in the Badger Bold campaign; $1 million will go toward the STEM scholar program, $1 million will go to capital enhancements and $500,000 will go to athletic scholarships according to William Ware, the president of ANB.
The STEM Scholar program began in the summer of 2022 according to Edythe Carter, dean of STEM at Amarillo College. “We began the STEM scholarship program with the HSI (Hispanic serving institution) STEM grant,” she said.
The STEM grant gave AC an award of $4,783,323 over five years in September 2021 according to a press release from AC.
“The College, as stipulated by the grant, will focus on the following initiatives: develop a work-based learning system for STEM students, update technology-skills instruction in STEM programs, develop a STEM Scholars program, strengthen STEM-related articulations between AC and West Texas A&M University,” the press release said.
“The regents initially approved a budget that included $85,000 for rental assistance for athletes,” Mark White, director of AC athletics, said. “The AC foundation graciously agreed to provide $150,000 a year for scholarships, that’s a three-year commitment. Our goal is to replace that commitment with a $3 million endowment at the end of those three years,” he said.
The $500,000 will be added to the previous gift of $200,000 and a contribution of $150,000 for a total of $850,000 in total for the athletics endowment according to Mark White.
The $1 million going toward capital enhancement will help with construction on buildings like the Enrollment Center, Russell Hall and other projects according to Lowery-Hart.
The Badger Bold Campaign was officially launched October 5, 2022 with the goal to raise $45 million over the next three years according to Lowery-Hart.
“It’s ambitious, it’s multi-layered and it will be vastly transformative,” said Lowery-Hart. “Through Badger Bold, we will empower students and faculty to unleash their unlimited potential, generate the workforce of the future and attract the jobs of the future and maximize the economic viability of our city and our region.”
The campaign is set for $45 million in order to address a shortage, according to Joe-Bill Sherrod, vice president of institutional advancement. The 2019 bond election approved $90 million for the college, but, according to Sherrod, there was still a need for $30 million that was left unmet.
“We got a $15 million gift from MacKenzie Scott, and it was very unfair for us to not raise our goal. We’re actually going to fund about $20 million of the construction costs, the bond will do the rest,” he said.
While addressing the Ware family, Lowery-Hart said “$3.7 million is a transformative gift for this college, the largest that we’ve received and I think you are telling the community that you believe in us and collectively our future.”
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