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With latest $25 million gift, ACU names college after longtime donors

The gift, the fifth-largest in the school’s history, brings Kay and Robert Onstead’s lifetime donations to more than $59 million.

Though Kay Onstead and her late husband, Robert, never attended Abilene Christian University, they spent decades as avid supporters of the Texas school, which is associated with Churches of Christ.


Related: Abilene Christian University to raise $250 million for widespread improvements


After Onstead’s latest donation of $25 million to ACU, one of the largest in its history, the university has announced its first named college in the family’s honor: the Robert and Kay Onstead College of Science and Engineering.

The donation “establishes a significant, perpetual funding source for the college, creating crucial momentum to help launch and perpetuate one of the most significant academic realignments in ACU’s history,” the university said in a press release, adding that it has now reached the $250 million goal of its Higher Ground fundraising campaign announced last April.

Kay and Robert Onstead

Kay and Robert Onstead

Over the decades since they met a group of ACU alumni at a church in Houston, the Onsteads have given more than $59 million to the university, which ACU said has provided more than 1,000 scholarships to its students.

During that time, three of the Onsteads’ children and five of their grandchildren have attended and graduated from the university.

Robert Onstead, the founder of Texas supermarket chain Randalls, also served as an ACU trustee from 1978 until his death in 2004. Kay Onstead is a member of the Memorial Church of Christ in Houston.

Some of the family’s gifts helped establish the Robert and Kay Onstead Distinguished Chair of Biblical Studies, the Onstead Science Center, the Kay and Bob Onstead Ministers Progeny Endowed Scholarship, the Onstead Opportunity Endowed Scholarship and the Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building.

“This monumental new endowment propels us toward a bold vision for ACU’s rise as a national research university,” ACU President Phil Schubert said of Kay Onstead’s recent donation. “As we continue our pursuit of excellence, we remember that every blessing we enjoy is evidence of God’s provision. The Onstead family has exemplified the convergence of faith and excellence and caused all of us to think more courageously about how God is calling us to be world-changers.”

For more about the Onsteads and the college, visit ACU’s website.

Filed under: Abilene Christian University Christian colleges and universities Christian education donation National News Partners Top Stories

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