• Significant gifts towards Baylor Stadium keep project moving ahead

    Baylor Stadium renderingMomentum continues to build toward a new Baylor football stadium. A month after Drayton McLane, BBA ’58, and his wife Elizabeth got things started with the largest capital gift in Baylor history, two more sizable gifts — each among the top 10 such donations ever at BU — have kept the ball rolling.

    The gift from John Eddie Williams Jr., BBA ’76, JD ’78 — a former Baylor football player under Grant Teaff and now partner at a prestigious law firm in Houston — ranks among the top five capital gifts in university history. The field at the new stadium will now be named John Eddie Williams Field. (To be clear, the stadium will remain Baylor Stadium, as requested by the McLanes. This name applies to the field, much the same way as you have the Paul J. Meyer Arena at the Ferrell Center.)

    Another gift, this one from Sheila and Walter Umphrey, BBA ’59, JD ’65, will support construction of the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Bridge at Baylor Stadium that will span the Brazos and connect the new stadium with the Baylor Law School and the rest of campus. Walter Umphrey is a senior managing partner at a law firm in Beaumont, best known as the lead attorney in the historic $17 billion settlement for Texas residents against the tobacco industry in 1998.

    The new on-campus stadium is expected to be built at the intersection of I-35 and the Brazos River, just across from campus. A successful fundraising campaign this spring could have the Bears into their new home in time for the 2014 season.

    Sic ’em, Mr. Williams and Mr. and Mrs. Umphrey!