Weir Trust honored as Distinguished Benefactors at Wayland Baptist University
Release Date: February 23, 2009
PLAINVIEW – The Leroy and Merle Weir Charitable Trust were honored for longtime support of Wayland Baptist University with the presentation of the Distinguished Benefactor Award and the Keeper of the Flame Award during Friday’s homecoming chapel service.
Janice Torgeson of Frost Bank, who has administered the trust since 2000, was on hand to accept both awards honoring the couple whose generosity has meant so much to Wayland and other sister Baptist schools.
Established in 1984 by Merle Weir, a native of Williamson County who was a former elementary school teacher for 24 years in Georgetown, the trust fulfills her desire to help Baptist-affiliated institutions. Mrs. Weir, who died in 1990, was a very active member of First Baptist Church in Georgetown and was particularly supportive of Christian education.
The Weirs, both graduates of Southwestern University in Georgetown, owned 900 acres south of that city, some fronting I-35 and part of the Balcones Fault. The land is rich in limestone. After Mr. Weir’s death in 1964, she knew she could no longer continue ranching the property, so she entered into a long-term lease with Texas Crush Stone to quarry the limestone. It is the royalties produced by this quarry that today provide scholarship funds for five different Baptist universities, including Wayland, plus the Texas Children’s Home at Round Rock. The ranch, including the minerals and royalties produced, was placed into that trust. First City, Texas – now Frost National Bank – was named trustee.
In the last nine years, The Leroy and Merle Weir Charitable Trust distributed more than $7,800,000 in scholarship funds to seven Baptist universities. Additionally, $1,715,000 has been distributed to these universities to help build Christian study centers and Student Union buildings.
During the last nine years, Wayland has received almost $996,000 in scholarship funds. Additionally, the trust donated $100,000 for the Pete and Nelda Laney Student Activities Center dedicated in February 2008 and, in the same year, donated an additional $100,000 for the proposed new Bible building and missions center that is part of the Second Century Campaign.
An employee of Frost Bank for 20 years, Torgeson works closely with the Wayland Advancement Division. Born in Littlefield, she graduated from high school there and from Texas Tech University. She has a niece and four cousins who have graduated from Wayland.
“Frost Bank, as trustee of The Leroy and Merle Weir Charitable Trust, is honored to be able to continue Mrs. Weir’s desire for funding Christian education. We are looking forward to many more years of providing scholarship funds for the students attending Wayland Baptist University,” said Torgeson.
Also during the chapel, Wayland president Dr. Paul Armes presented Torgeson and the Weir Trust with the Keeper of the Flame Award, honoring donors who have given at least $100,000 to Wayland cumulatively.