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World War II veteran leaves $29 million endowment to Abilene Christian University

The gift to ACU’s finance program represents the largest single academic gift in school history.

Abilene Christian University in Texas, which is associated with Churches of Christ, has received its largest single academic gift ever from the estate of Bill and Janie Dukes.

William “Bill” Dukes was a retired Marine colonel who received combat decorations during World War II and went on to earn a doctorate and teach finance at the Texas Tech College of Business for 45 years.


Related: Oldest WWII vet — and member of a Church of Christ — dies at 112


Meanwhile, he became good friends with two deans of ACU’s College of Business Administration: Bill Petty and Jack Griggs.

“Bill Dukes was a man of great dignity, honor and respect, and he had all the traits you would want in a friend,” Griggs said in a press release. “He was the kind of man you wanted to honor.

Bill Dukes

Bill Dukes in his Marine uniform.

“He was constantly searching for excellence in everything that he did. He wanted to be the best. And that’s what he wanted for the finance department with this gift. He wanted it to be the best in its class — now and in the future.”

The Arkansas native died in 2015, and his wife, Janie, passed away this past June.

The $29 million Dr. William P. and Janie B. Dukes Excellence in Finance Endowment will create multiple endowed faculty positions in finance and seeks to “to glorify God by helping populate the world with Christian men and women of influence and ability who understand and live Luke 10:27 – ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.’”

To further honor the Dukeses for their generosity, ACU plans to launch the Dukes School of Finance next year.

For more information on the Dukeses’ gift, visit ACU’s website.

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

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