Leroy and Merle Weir Charitable Trust
The first major gift toward the new nursing education center was made by a longtime friend of UMHB: the Leroy and Merle Weir Charitable Trust. For more than 25 years, the trust has supported UMHB through gifts for scholarships and the endowment; when the Weir trustees learned about the need for a new nursing facility, they were quick to step forward with a grant of $500,000, which they hoped would serve as a catalyst for generating additional gifts and grants for the project.
The trust was founded by Mrs. Merle Weir, who with her husband, Leroy, managed a 900-acre ranch near Georgetown, Texas. After her husband’s death in 1964, Mrs. Weir was unable to manage the ranch alone, so she studied the potential of the land itself and discovered it contained vast deposits of limestone. Her negotiations with local firms to quarry the stone resulted in entering into a lease with Texas Crushed Stone, the second-largest limestone-producing quarry in the United States, and the wealth generated from the royalties made it possible for Mrs. Weir to devote the rest of her life to civic service and philanthropy. The trust she established in 1978 provides continuing support for Texas Baptist organizations, with special emphasis on education and nursing, since those were particular interests of Mrs. Weir.
“We deeply appreciate the trustees of the Leroy and Merle Weir Charitable Trust for taking the initiative to kick off fundraising for this project with such a generous gift,” said Dr. Randy O’Rear, president of UMHB. “Texas needs more nurses, and the completion of these facilities will allow UMHB to open our nursing program to many more students in the years to come. We are grateful for the vision of the trustees in partnering with us to make this dream a reality.”