By Kim Chaudoin on 11/15/2011
Stephens Christian Trust gives $10 million gift to build facilities and programs
Lipscomb President L. Randolph Lowry with Bill and Neika Stephens at the Stephens' home in Nashville.
Middle Tennessee’s largest private K-12 school, David Lipscomb Campus School, is the recipient of a $10 million gift awarded by the Stephens Christian Trust, founded by Nashvillian Bill Stephens, to be used to support the facilities and programs of the campus school.
The gift was announced Nov. 4 by Lipscomb President L. Randolph Lowry at the university’s annual Associates Gala held at the Country Music Hall of Fame and featuring U.S. Astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly.
“In making this generous gift, the Stephens are enabling us to begin putting form to the vision we have formulated for the campus school in recent years,” Lowry said. “We hope to begin the first step in that vision, the renovation of our elementary school on Granny White Pike, within the next 18 months.”
Lowry announced that the elementary school renovation is the first in a phased plan for the entire campus school and will be followed by a new middle school adjacent to the present elementary school and a new high school on property already a part of the institutional overlay east of Granny White Pike and bounded by Maplehurst and Caldwell lanes. This will not only give the high school extremely functional new space, it will also join the high school to its athletic activities at the Reece L. Smith Athletic Complex. He anticipates the phased plan could take up to 10 years to complete.
The gift is an opening challenge to Lipscomb University as it begins its Lipscomb:Next initiative to invest $125 million in the university and its campus school by their 125th anniversary in 2016.
“Secondary education was a part of the university’s founding,” Lowry said. “In fact, we are today the only secondary school in Middle Tennessee that is owned and operated by a university. The enrichment opportunities that association brings our young students makes us very competitive now, while our vision for the future makes us a compelling institution.”
The Lipscomb:Next initiative includes an additional $12 million investment into the campus school in athletics, academic programs, student development and a new endowment for the school.
Stephens’ wife, Neika, has served on the Lipscomb board of trustees for many years. The couple’s service to the university, and especially to the campus school, spans decades. Neika Stephens is the daughter of Charles Brewer for which the landmark Brewer Bell Tower on the Lipscomb campus was named. Her family relationships to the school stretch back to David Lipscomb himself.
Stephens is the former owner of W. E. Stephens Manufacturing Company, a clothing manufacturing company based in downtown Nashville. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Stephens served in the Navy.