Prominent trial lawyers John Eddie Williams and Walter Umphrey have made major donations to help fund Baylor University’s planned stadium project.
The university announced May 17 that it has received a “major gift” from Sheila and Walter Umphrey to “support construction of the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Bridge at Baylor Stadium.” The bridge will span the Brazos River and connect the new stadium with Baylor Law School and the Baylor campus in Waco.
Umphrey’s donation comes on the heels of another major gift from Williams for naming rights for the field, which will be called John Eddie Williams Field.
In March, Elizabeth and Drayton McLane Jr. made a donation to help fund construction of the new Baylor Stadium. Baylor is not revealing the amount of any of the donations, but in press releases, Baylor announced that Umphrey’s gift is among the top 10 capital gifts in university history, and Williams’ gift is among the top five.
Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogleman says the stadium project is expected to cost about $250 million, and fundraising continues.
Umphrey and Williams are graduates of the university and the law school. Williams, a partner in Houston’s Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas, says, “I went to Baylor on a football scholarship in 1972, went through Baylor undergrad and law school, mainly on scholarships. It’s a way for me to give back. I’ve always felt that whatever modicum of success I have is the result of a great education.”
Umphrey, a partner in Provost Umphrey in Beaumont, says, “Baylor has been awful good to me, especially the law school. I’ve been fortunate economically to be in a position to show my appreciation.”
-- Brenda Sapino Jeffreys