Passing On the HSU Experience
Randy '83 and Roxi Barrett '84 Vanstory give back to HSU "because it has impacted our lives forever. It's been our pleasure to give back to our University because of the foundation it helped us establish."
Randy started his college experience by attending Texas Tech University in Lubbock, his hometown. "My freshman history class had 800 students! But I was living off campus, and even though I was surrounded by thousands of students, I found it hard to connect with others in these mammoth classes. So I quickly discovered Hardin-Simmons University and chose to continue my education at HSU because of the size. HSU was more my style, with smaller classes where you got to know one another more easily," he says.
Randy settled into HSU. He quickly became active in business classes and joined the men's social club, Kappa Phi Omega, which led to some great formative experiences.
His sophomore year, some of the guys were helping the freshmen girls move in. Roxi says, "That's where I met Randy, my hubby of 36 years, the first hours I was on campus. About 20 of us played the game 'Darling, if you love me, won't you smile?' and I've been smiling ever since!" Roxi had chosen HSU because her brother attended here, and she fell in love with the campus after visiting him. "It was beautiful and small, and felt easy to navigate. Everyone I met seemed to really enjoy HSU. Students were VERY positive about class size and their ability to connect with professors as well as peers."
The two made the most of their time on campus. Randy says his most memorable moments included Dr. Bill Curtis. "He was a business professor that always had such a 'style' about him, wearing pressed polo shirts, starched khaki pants, and brown penny loafers. I remember one year for our Kappa Phi Omega SING performance, I played the role of P.T. Barnum. I needed to find a pair of English riding boots. Where in the world in Abilene, Texas, would one find a pair of those? If it wasn't Western, it didn't happen in Abilene. Well, guess who had a pair of English-style riding boots? Dr. Curtis! And you can bet they were pristine, black, and shiny! I was scared to death I would scratch those perfect-condition boots. I polished them for a week before I returned them. Dr. Curtis was a great teacher!" Sometimes the best memories are the silly ones.
Roxi, a social work student, remembers Dr. Dan Cooper in the Sociology department, Dr. Bill Spencer who taught Bible, and the famous dorm director Aileen Culpepper (known as Miss Cul) who worked in the freshman girls' dorm. "Dr. Cooper was very helpful in developing my love of people with real social work skills. Dr. Spencer taught freshman Bible. I assumed this class would be a breeze because, after all, I had been in Sunday School all my life. Boy, were my eyes opened quickly! Miss Cul had a hard exterior but soft heart. She really loved and cared for her girls, and we knew it!"
Roxi's favorite parts of HSU were being a part of Tri Phi, a women's social club, and all the pledging, SING, and intramural sports that went along with those friendships. She said it was "all GREAT!" She loved how all the social groups were kindred spirits and supported each other. Roxi also was a member of Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, and fondly remembers that "Bro. Jack called me every year I was there on my birthday. That really made a lasting impression. I have been a church administrator for 25 years. Though I run the business side for a congregation of about 5,000, my degree in Social Work has served me very well. Church is about caring for people, and the foundation for doing that well was built at HSU."
Randy and Roxi stay connected with HSU through publications, Roxi's service on the Board of Trustees, their trips back to Abilene, and mixers near their home. They continue to support HSU because they feel strongly about the foundation HSU provided for them and want to provide that foundation for students coming now. Randy says, "My education has served me well. I majored in Business Management, and that background has helped me as an entrepreneur. I have started multiple businesses that have employed hundreds of people. Understanding basic business principles is a prerequisite for success if you want to start your own business. HSU helped me build a foundation of understanding of those principles that has served me well in life."
Through Roxi's service on the Board of Trustees, they have observed "that the trustees and staff take their role as stewards of gifts to the University very seriously. The gifts given to HSU are used in a way to have the most lasting effect."
Because of their confidence in the strong foundation HSU established for them, and in the able management of their gifts now, they choose to support HSU and make a difference in the lives of students who attend now. They want to make sure that another sophomore guy helping to move in another freshman girl might have a similar chance to meet, grow in foundations and understanding, and build a lifetime of education, memories, and smiles.
You can make a difference in the lives of future HSU students, too, through a gift. To learn more, contact Mike Hammack or one of our development officers at firstname.lastname@example.org or (325) 670-1260.