Just a few moments ago, Baylor Athletics announced the receipt of a "major gift" from John Eddie Williams, Jr., a distinguished alumnus of Baylor in both undergraduate and law school. According to Baylor's official press release about the gift:
This generous gift, which ranks among the top 5 capital gifts in university history, will support construction of the university's new on-campus football stadium to be built alongside the Brazos River. With this naming rights gift, the field at Baylor Stadium will be named John Eddie Williams Field.
John Eddie Williams Field at Baylor Stadium. I like the sound of that.
The link above provides more information both about the gift itself and Mr. Williams' involvement with Baylor in the past. I know of him primarily because he was one of the biggest donors to the Baylor Law School (I didn't attend there, but I worked there for three years as an undergrad). My "office," if you can call it that, was actually inside the Sheridan and John Eddie Williams Legal Research and Technology Center on the third floor of the Law School. Williams has apparently also supported the building of the SLC, some of the renovations to Floyd Casey, and several endowed scholarships and athletic programs at Baylor. For those looking for a little more information about Mr. Williams and who he is, here is the bio from the website for his Houston, Texas law firm. They specialize in mass tort litigation (he was one of the lawyers for the State of Texas against big tobacco in the mid-90s).
Mr. Williams' gift is the second major donation received by Baylor Athletics for the purpose of supporting the construction of Baylor's proposed on-campus riverside football stadium. Baylor did not release the actual amount of the first donation-- that of Mr. and Mrs. Drayton McLane-- and probably won't release this one, either. That doesn't mean that the number will stay secret, however, and I'll try to track down a ballpark figure so we can know where we stand. All we know for sure at this point is that we're closer than we've ever been before and trending in the right direction. It's going to happen.
UPDATE: I added the rendering Baylor put on its official story to the top of this post. And I thought people might be interested to see a quote placed at the bottom of the article now.
With a successful spring fundraising campaign, the stadium project could be completed in time for the first game in fall 2014.