Stories of Impact

Give Light

The alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students and friends who make up the more than 87,000 donors to the Give Light campaign each have a story to tell about what inspires their giving to Baylor. Every donor to the campaign has helped the University surpass its ambitious $1.1 billion initial goal designed to impact every aspect of campus life — academics, athletics, student life and service learning — while also bolstering financial support for our students and campus community. These donors have provided the momentum that will carry the campaign to even greater heights as we continue to support Baylor’s bright future. The following are a few of the stories of generosity and faithfulness of our Baylor Family.


Ruth M. Belew Endowed Scholarship Fund in Theatre Arts

There are people within the Baylor community whose names are etched so deeply into the history of this institution, they become familiar landmarks, references and standards for excellence. Those names continue to influence and shape the University long after their bearers leave campus.

The Ruth M. Belew Endowed Scholarship Fund in Theatre Arts carries on that tradition, honoring Ruth Belew, a 1942 Baylor graduate who taught in the Baylor Theatre Department for more than 20 years. Her husband, John S. Belew, established the scholarship in 2015, in the early days of the Give Light Campaign, to honor Ruth after her death in 2014.

John Belew, B.S. ’41, Ph.D., had established his own Baylor legacy, beginning at Baylor as a professor of chemistry in 1954, serving as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences starting in 1974 before moving on to serve as provost from 1979 to 1991 when he retired.

Retirement didn’t end the Belews’ Baylor connections. They continued to serve the Baylor community, supporting students and mentoring faculty while staying connected with fellow retirees. 

The Ruth M. Belew Endowed Scholarship Fund in Theatre Arts reflects the Belews’ longtime commitment to the University they held dear. The scholarship is available to all Baylor students pursuing a degree in Theatre Arts, honoring Ruth’s teaching, as well as her early career in modern dance in New York City. 

After John Belew established the fund, many of the couple’s former students, colleagues and others contributed to the scholarship, which continues to be awarded each year in Ruth’s name, a testament to the profound impact of the enduring Belew legacy.

Frank and Pat Gabriel Endowed Scholarship in Business & Frank and Pat Gabriel Endowed Fund in Business
Frank and Pat Gabriel
Frank and Pat Gabriel

Frank and Pat Gabriel, of Colleyville, Texas, are part of a long line of Baylor alumni, and they have chosen to extend their legacy through a gift supporting scholarships and student research at Baylor.

“It’s exciting for us to realize that this gift will help students along their paths to graduate from Baylor,” Frank said. “We hope to give them an opportunity to come to Baylor where they might not have had an opportunity to do so, and we anticipate what their future impact will be in society. You plant trees, and you may not live to see that tree fully grown, but you know others will be able to enjoy it.”

Married for more than 61 years, the Gabriels have celebrated as each of their three children walked across Baylor’s graduation stage. They were thrilled when their five grandchildren came to Baylor. They were touched when their daughter Kimberly, B.B.A. ’84,
and son-in-law David Dominy, B.B A. ’82, established an endowed scholarship in their names.

Earlier this year, Frank, B.B.A. ’57, and Pat met with the William E. Crenshaw Dean of the Hankamer School of Business, Sandeep Mazumer, Ph.D., to learn more about his vision for Baylor Business. Inspired by his commitment to transformational undergraduate education, the Gabriels established the Frank and Pat Gabriel Endowed Scholarship in Business to support undergraduate students enrolled at Hankamer, as well as the Frank and Pat Gabriel Endowed Fund in Business to support the Undergraduate Research Assistant (UGRA) program.

The Gabriel Fund will provide stipend support specifically for undergraduate students within the School of Business who provide research support for faculty research projects. That support can mean proofreading papers, coordinating data collection sessions in a behavioral lab, entering code or data into software programs, working with survey programs or other data entry functions — all early steps to introduce students to research and build their resumes for careers or graduate education opportunities post graduation.

Frank and Pat Gabriel are ensuring Baylor’s students receive support throughout their Baylor journeys.

Baylor University Women’s Council Scholarships
Baylor University’s Women’s Council

Baylor University’s Women’s Councils have a long history of building community among the Baylor Family. From events that help alumni stay involved and informed to service projects that support students and enrich their communities, the 16 Women’s Council groups throughout Texas and the nation represent a rich, diverse community that gives back to Baylor — especially through scholarship support.

“Our Baylor Women’s Council members care deeply about supporting scholarships for Baylor’s students,” said Virginia Ellis, B.S.Ed. ’99, senior director of Baylor University Women’s Councils. “Our members love to come together and share social connections with one another, and their commitment to raising funds for scholarships is a common bond that has led to lasting friendships and wonderful support for generations of our Baylor students.”   

These Baylor alumnae, parents and friends come together to provide significant scholarship funding each year, with some councils supporting scholarships for multiple Baylor students each semester.

These groups are a clear illustration of the collective impact possible, giving as each member can, working together to support Baylor’s students. 

“There’s something wonderful about seeing these women stay involved and committed, year after year,” Ellis said. “They are committed to raising funds for their scholarships, knowing the impact that those funds can make, because so many of them were the recipients of scholarships during their own times at Baylor. They have joy in giving back, and that joy is definitely catching.”

Daniel Lee Williams Endowed Scholarship, a Hord Challenge Scholarship
Daniel Lee Williams Endowed Scholarship, a Hord Challenge Scholarship

In 2020, Dan and Jenni Hord challenged the Baylor Family to match their gift of $30 million to support merit-based scholarships, growing the University’s endowment to bridge the gap between merit- and need-based financial aid and unmet financial need.

Known as the Hord Scholarship Challenge, the initiative has resonated with Baylor’s alumni, parents and friends — including Sara Miller Massey, Ph.D., of Houghton, New York.

In 2021, Massey B.S.Ed ’79, established the Daniel Lee Williams Endowed Scholarship, a Hord Challenge Scholarship, in memory of her brother-in-law, Dan, B.A. ’75. In establishing the fund, Sara shared of Dan’s deep faith and life of service as a senior pastor of churches in Kentucky, Texas, Indiana, Oklahoma and Hong Kong that was marked by perseverance, even in the face of cancer.

Through the Hord Challenge, scholarships like Dan’s address unmet need for students, serving as a tipping point for students who receive merit support from Baylor University but who still are facing a barrier of unmet need.

The Daniel Lee Williams Endowed Scholarship underscores how the Baylor Family extends beyond alumni — to the families who support our students, to those who find community and a shared faith that forges deep connections, and to others who value excellence in Christian higher education. 

At Baylor, generations of future students will realize their dreams of a Baylor education with the support of the Daniel Lee Williams Endowed Scholarship. Dan’s first steps into ministry came when he accepted a position as a youth pastor. What a fitting legacy.

Professional Success Excellence Fund for Engineering and Computer Science

For some, the inspiration to give back to Baylor University comes from one simple place — a desire to support students. For Baylor Parents Eric and Mindy Grabau, of Longmont, Colo., they simply sought to meet a need that scholarships didn’t cover.

The result is the Professional Success Excellence Fund for Engineering and Computer Science. The fund provides a reliable, enduring budget line for the School of Engineering and Computer Science that is dedicated to funding support for students to prepare them for their careers after graduation.

Eric and Mindy Grabau with son Coltan
Eric and Mindy Grabau with son Coltan

“What inspired us to give was that Baylor is not only providing a good education for engineering students; it is a well-rounded education,” said Mindy Grabau, whose son, Coltan, is a senior within the School. “So many of Coltan’s professors bring their faith into their class discussions and share about how their faith influences their work. Their focus is on more than just building students’ careers, it’s on building the integrity of our students. I believe our students are graduating as well-rounded engineers with Christian integrity, and that’s what Baylor is known for.”

The Professional Success Excellence Fund will provide funding to connect the School’s students with professionals and industry that will allow them to investigate and research future career opportunities. The Grabau Fund is already providing funds to bring companies to Baylor’s campus for presentations and recruiting fairs with students, and the fund is also creating opportunities for faculty to build relationships with industry, opening the door to increased internship opportunities for students.

As Baylor Parents, Eric and Mindy have keen insight into the needs of today’s students who are entering a workforce and landscape forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic and a shift to remote and hybrid working. Through this fund, the Grabaus are creating opportunities for Baylor’s Engineering and Computer Science students to explore what life will look like for them beyond graduation.


Learn more at baylor.edu/givelight