St. Edward's University Announces $7.5 Million Gift
St Edward's University is pleased to announce the naming gift for the future John Brooks Williams Natural Sciences Facility. The $7.5 million gift, which is the largest single gift in the university's history, comes from the estate of Houston businessman John Brooks Williams. Though raised in North Carolina, Williams spent his career in Texas and was the owner of Markle Steel Company, a steel service center and fabricator headquartered in Houston. William passed away in January 2002, just days shy of his 81st birthday. His wife, Elizabeth, had died several years earlier.
“This gift represents a tangible opportunity to memorialize a man who lived quietly and without fanfare. It is a tribute to a great man which will inspire and impact the lives of countless young people right here in the State of Texas,” said John H. Bauer, an executive vice president of Nintendo of America Inc. in Seattle, executor of Williams' estate and St. Edward's alumnus. “I considered many options for the estate and wanted to ensure that the money was used in a way that best paid tribute to Brooks. I knew that a gift of this size could make a tremendous impact at St. Edward's, and I am proud that through the creation of the John Brooks Williams Natural Sciences Center, future students will benefit from a world-class facility where they can think and dream and create their future — in so doing, they will honor Brooks' memory every time they use the building.”
“More than bricks and mortar, this building is a tribute to the enduring power of friendship, and we are extremely grateful for the generosity of both John Brooks Williams and John Bauer,” said George E. Martin, Ph.D., president of St. Edward's University. “As the largest gift in the history of St. Edward's, this contribution affirms the value of the transformative educational experience offered here.”
Designed by Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners of Santa Monica, Calif., construction of the $20 million, 61,000 square-foot natural sciences center will begin in Fall 2004, and eventually will encompass two buildings including state-of-the-art laboratories, classrooms and seminar rooms, as well as offices and common spaces for students to gather or study before class.
The John Brooks Williams Natural Sciences Center is part of an ambitious campus master plan developed to shape the institution's future in support of the vision to become recognized as one of the best small universities in the country. In addition to the science facility, the plan will add new residence halls, academic buildings, a theater, a parking garage, a chapel, athletic fields, an administration building and a redesigned road system. Many existing buildings also will receive a face-lift and expansion.
Founded by the Congregation of Holy Cross, St. Edward's University has been named as one of America's Best Colleges for 2004 by U.S. News & World Report. St. Edward's is a private Catholic, liberal arts university of approximately 4,450 students located in Austin, Texas.