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Why We Give: Terry '68 and Zelda (Donaldson) Ellison '71

Terry and Zelda Ellison

By Zelda Ellison

How We Met

In the fall of 1963, I went with my parents to visit my oldest sister, Jolene, who was a student at Hardin-Simmons. While visiting Jolene, a family friend and neighbor Ronnie Wood (then a freshman at HSU), asked if he and his friend Terry Ellison could show me around Abilene. They did, and that was the beginning of “us.” It was a lengthy friendship before we realized that we were meant to always be together. One memory from that day is the three of us going to the A&W Root Beer Drive-In because the guys wanted a root beer, but I had never had one. After Ronnie and Terry convinced me that it was NOT beer, I let them get me a root beer in a frosted mug. Terry bought that mug for me as a keepsake. We had that mug until I broke it just last year.

Terry served as dorm RA at Anderson Hall (then a men’s dorm) for two years and can tell many stories about mischievous things that went on in that dorm. One story has to do with a cherry bomb being flushed down a toilet. Another that comes to mind involves boys hiding a cat under the bed of one of their friends. He kept dreaming that he was hearing a cat meow every night.

Terry’s ROTC Captain was Albert Maroscher, who was later killed in action in Vietnam. Major Maroscher remains one of Terry’s true heroes. Terry also has hilarious tales about things that happened in ROTC as well as in Sigma Delta Sigma. Apparently, no one ever went to jail, so that was a good thing.

I had fun as a freshman cheerleader. I have “friends” who still laugh at the image of seeing me flying into my partner’s hands—except that he DIDN’T catch me, so I just kept flying until I landed somewhat ungracefully on the gym floor instead. I pledged Tri Phi, and our pledge class became very close. Most of us still see each other from time to time or keep up on Facebook. Terry graduated in 1968 and was already teaching when I graduated in 1971. The day before my graduation, Terry gave me an engagement ring. We were married six weeks later.

Our only child, Tiffany, attended HSU from 1995-1999. She, too, was a freshman cheerleader. She dedicated herself to bringing new life to a seemingly fading Tri Phi. When I see Tri Phi as it is today, I am proud that she was a successful leader in that endeavor.

We manage to stay connected with our HSU friends by going back to Homecoming every time we can. We love seeing our old friends, but we have also made many new friends that we have grown to love just as much. Both of us have served on the Alumni Board, and I served as president in the late 1990s. We both strongly encourage all HSU alumni and exes to stay connected. Go to HSU Homecoming, support the sporting events, and back the academic goals of the university.

Why Do We Give?

We love Hardin-Simmons now because we first loved it as students. Both our lives were greatly enriched there. But the real reason we give to Hardin-Simmons University is that we still feel that HSU is a God-blessed institution. The educational expectations at Hardin-Simmons are absolutely second to none. We know the leaders who are presently there are sincere and highly qualified in their goal of keeping Hardin-Simmons a top-quality school. It is a beautiful, healthy, challenging, and fun place to learn and grow into the adults that God has planned for each of His children.

If you would like to make a difference for future Hardin-Simmons students so they have the same opportunities the Ellisons did, please contact Mike Hammack or one of our development officers at (325) 670-1260 or plannedgiving@hsutx.edu to get started.

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