Wildcat Club News

Wessel family donates $2.85 million to fund video board

ABILENE, Texas ­– Abilene Christian University director of athletics Lee De León announced Thursday that ACU has received a $2.85 million gift for Wildcat Stadium from trustee Rick Wessel and his wife, Debbie, both graduates of ACU.
 
In honor of their generous contribution, the new video board at Anthony Field at Wildcat Stadium will be named for the Wessel family and located at the north end of the venue. The state-of-the-art Daktronics video board will be the fourth largest on a campus where an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team plays.
 
Wildcat Stadium ­– which was announced in 2014 – is being constructed on the north end of the ACU campus and is scheduled for completion in August. ACU's first home game in its new on-campus facility is set for Sept. 16, when the Wildcats host Houston Baptist University in a Southland Conference game.
 
"Thirty-five years ago when I attended ACU, 99 percent of my experiences were positive," Rick Wessel said. "The only thing missing at that time was an on-campus football stadium. But now, our stadium will allow current and future students, including my grandchildren, the opportunity to attend, support and enjoy football on campus as well as related events the stadium will host. We are excited about the first game to be played there this fall."
 
ACU has not played a football game on campus since Nov. 27, 1958, when the Wildcats beat Howard Payne in what would later be named Elmer Gray Stadium, a structure synonymous with the university's legendary track and field program. ACU also has played home games at Wildcat Park near its original North First Street campus in the early 1920s, A.B. Morris Stadium on the current campus from 1937-42, Fair Park in central Abilene, Parramore Field on the Hardin-Simmons University campus and Shotwell Stadium from 1959-2016.
 
"Rick and Debbie have made an unbelievably generous gift to help fund Wildcat Stadium, and we are so grateful for their generosity," De León said. "I can't think of a better way to honor the Wessel family than to have their name permanently displayed at the top of our spectacular new video board."