Leadership Gifts

Jane Meyer

In 2011, the Paul and Jane Meyer Family Foundation pledged a gift of $5 million toward the construction of a new nursing building. In recognition of this lead gift, the three-story building will be named the Isabelle Rutherford Meyer Nursing Education Center in memory of Paul Meyer’s mother, who worked both as a nurse and as an educator during her lifetime.

The nursing building grant is the second major gift to UMHB from the Meyer family. In 2003, Paul and Jane Meyer contributed the lead gift for the Paul and Jane Meyer Christian Studies Center, to provide a home for the College of Christian Studies.

Paul J. Meyer made his mark on the world of business in the 1960s as the founder of Success Motivation Institute (SMI), a company committed to motivating people to reach their full potential.  The enterprise grew into an international group of companies marketing personal development materials in more than sixty countries and in twenty-three languages.

Paul and his wife, Jane, firmly believed in the importance of stewardship and giving, and they instilled these values in their family.  Though Paul passed away in 2009, Jane and the children have continued to support a wide range of charities and ministries through the family foundation.

Jane Meyer traces her interest in UMHB back to her early years growing up in nearby Temple, Texas. “I have always appreciated Mary Hardin-Baylor’s strong commitment to Christian higher education, and I am so excited to support the construction of this transformational facility for the College of Nursing.”

“We are very grateful to Jane Meyer and her family for this important gift,” said President Randy O’Rear. “This gift will give our nursing program room to grow, so that many more students will be able to study nursing at UMHB in the years to come.”

James A. "Buddy" Davidson

Though Midland oilman James A. “Buddy” Davidson had no affiliation with UMHB during his lifetime, he and his wife, Sandra, became acquainted with the work of the university when they were patients at the nearby Scott & White Hospital in Temple.

“Buddy was impressed with the nurses who took care of us at Scott & White,” recalls Mrs. Davidson, “and when he visited with them, he learned that they were graduates of the UMHB nursing program. He told me that he wanted to do something to help the College of Nursing at UMHB. The foundation was formed to continue his charitable support of the causes he believed in, and in 2005 a grant was awarded to UMHB to establish a scholarship for nursing students.”

Since then, the James A. “Buddy” Davidson Endowed Nursing Scholarship has helped many students pursue their degrees in nursing at UMHB. When Mrs. Davidson and the directors of the foundation learned about plans to create a new facility for the nursing program, they decided to expand their support of nursing education at UMHB through a grant of $1 million for high tech laboratory equipment.

The Davidson grant will be used to equip two large clinical skills labs with computerized Sim Man mannequins. The high-fidelity “patients” will be programmed to manifest a variety of symptoms and to respond to care, both through vital signs and vocal responses. The grant will also help equip a hospital simulation suite that will include video cameras in every room, to record student responses as they offer care to the “patients.”

“We are very grateful to the James A. ‘Buddy’ Davidson Charitable Foundation for its generous support of the new nursing education center,” said Dr. Randy O’Rear, UMHB president. “The equipment provided through this grant will elevate an already outstanding program to new levels of excellence. Through the use of these simulators, our nursing students will develop the skills needed to provide the highest level of care for their patients.”

Merle Weir

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.”

Drayton and Elizabeth McLane, Jr.

On March 4, 2012, university officials announced Elizabeth and Drayton McLane, Jr., and their family had made the largest gift in the history of Mary Hardin-Baylor for the university’s new football stadium.

“When Elizabeth and Drayton first learned that the university was considering an on-campus football stadium, they immediately expressed an interest in the project and became our greatest champions for making this dream come true,” recalled President Randy O’Rear. “The university has been richly blessed by the friendship and generosity of the McLanes for many years, and we could not be more grateful to Elizabeth, Drayton, and their family for making this transformational gift.”

Temple businessman Drayton McLane, Jr., and his wife, Elizabeth, are well known in Central Texas for their commitment to community organizations and philanthropic activities. Drayton is chairman of the Temple-based McLane Group and is former CEO and chairman of the Houston Astros Baseball Club.

“We decided as a family that we wanted to help UMHB build an on-campus football stadium because we believe that athletic programs play a fundamental role in tying the student body to the university and strengthen school spirit,” McLane said.  “We love supporting UMHB because the university is committed to Christian values, and Christian values have been important to our family for generations.”

“Our son, Drayton III, is a member of the UMHB Board of Trustees; he and his wife, Amy, and their sons Drayton IV, Brooks, and Walker, and our son Denton and his wife, Amy, and sons Jeff and Jake join us in our continued support of Christian higher education at Mary Hardin-Baylor,” McLane continued.  “We are excited about the momentum and direction of the university and want to be a part of what it can accomplish.”

Eula Mae and John Baugh

A new center for the visual arts has taken shape on the UMHB campus thanks to a timely lead gift of $1 million in 2009 from the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation.

The foundation was established in 1995 by John F. Baugh and his wife, Eula Mae, to continue their philanthropic efforts beyond their own lifetimes.  John Baugh began his career working at an A&P grocery in Waco during years of the Depression.  Hard economic times forced a transfer to the A&P in Houston, and it was there he met and married Eula Mae Tharp.  After the war, he decided to establish his own food distribution service based in Houston.  Through his involvement and leadership in the National Frozen Food Association, he met other food distributors from across the country; when he proposed that nine of them merge to form a nationwide food distribution service in 1970, Sysco Corporation was born.  John served as Chairman, CEO, and Senior Chairman of Sysco.  Over the next 35 years, the company’s sales grew from $115 million annually to over $30 billion annually, making it the world’s largest food service company with 170 locations and over 47,500 employees.

John and Eula Mae Baugh always emphasized the importance of family, friends, and Christian endeavors, and they were well known for their generous support of higher education and Texas Baptist causes. During their lifetimes, they made significant gifts to UMHB, including support for the construction of the Frank and Sue Mayborn Campus Center and the Paul and Jane Meyer Christian Studies Center. 

Today their daughter, Babs Baugh, and her daughters, Jackie Moore and Julie Cloud, serve as the directors and officers of the family foundation, continuing the Baugh legacy of generously supporting Baptist programs and institutions.  They chose to fund the visual arts project because it clearly aligned with the interests of the family foundation.

 “These students are the future of our country, Texas, and the Baptist denomination,” said Babs Baugh.  “Students take many courses and directions at UMHB, but none are more significant than the arts.  It’s through the arts that your soul expresses beauty, joy, and thankfulness to God.”


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