Williamson County Sun
Georgetown, Texas, Friday, March 19, 1937
Volume LIX; Number 46; page 1


GeorgetownGives Over $51,000



    Southwestern University, Georgetown, has been made the beneficiary of a gift of $160,000, provided by the late Mrs. Louisa Elizabeth Wiess of Houston, mother of Harry C. Wiess, president of the Humble Oil and Refining Company, and sister of Mrs. C. S. Belford and the late Mrs. J. H. Hodges, both of Georgetown, it was announced by University authorities in Houston Monday.
    The gift was offered prior to the death of Mrs. Wiess on condition that the University pay off all indebtedness and raise an additional sum of $40,000 by March 1, 1937. The University was successful in meeting the conditions, and last Saturday the South Texas Commercial National Bank delivered to the trustees of the school the funds provided by Mrs. Wiess, cooperating with her son, Mr. Harry C. Wiess.
    The University campaign for funds to meet the conditions imposed by the Wiess gift was conducted quietly. It is understood that about $60,000 of the $145,000 obtained was contributed by former students and friends of the University in Houston.

Georgetown Gives Much

    Late in January Dr. J. W. Bergin, president of the University, contacted the directors of the Chamber of Commerce and laid down the program as submitted to the University by the Wiess estate. Dr. Bergin in his statement, explained that the total debt of the University had been set at $135,000, which included a substantial reduction in the amount owed a Missouri life insurance company. In addition to that amount, he said $40,000 would have to be met to comply with the conditions of the grant.
    He then proposed to the directors that Georgetown raise $30,000, which was half of the local indebtedness owed by the school. The directors in executive session decided that th.... (
??...... whole line missing ..???) the drive.
   A steering committee composed of O. A. Engelbrecht, R. L. Gallaway, C. E. Harris and A. W. Carlson was then named to direct the drive. Members of the soliciting committee as named were A. W. Sillure, W. P. Hoffman Jr., Tom Lundblad, A. Pieper, D. P. Irvine, Eric Lundblad, M. F. Smith, J. M. Sharpe, H. G. Friedrich, J. Clint Rogers, Jack Gillum, J. T. Atkin, B. A. Wyatt, Sam V. Stone, J. M. May, E. H. Eanes, D. W. . Wilcox, S. E. Wilcox, Robt. W. Cooper, W. P. Young, F. E. Buchholz, B. J. Bruton, R. R. Messer, H. E. Richardson, Jno. N. Ellyson, H. Winfrey.
   Active work was commenced after the formation of the organization, and by the latter part of. February some $34,000 was turned over to University authorities by the committee.
   Several days after the filing of this report with the proper authorities, an emergency demand was brought to the committee from Houston, where it was revealed that some $16,000 more was needed to consummate the program. The committee, together with a number of citizens, then put on a last-minute drive, and within a few days had the desired amount raised, bringing Georgetown's contribution to the campaign fund to over $51,000.

School Free of Debt

   One splendid feature of the program is the fact that with the receiving of the Wiess bequest, the school is completely clear of debt, and at the present time has an endowment of over $500,000.
   Members of the Board of Trustees made a formal announcement Monday addressed to Dr. John W. Bergin, president of the school. It reads as follows:

   To President John W. Bergin, D. D., President Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas.

   Dear Sir:

   On June 30th, 1936, Mrs. Elizabeth Wiess of Houston, Texas, set apart certain stocks, worth at that time in excess of $100,000, and appointed the Honorable Frank Andrews of Houston, Texas, as her Trustee, with instructions to deliver these stocks to Southwestern University, located at Georgetown, Texas, as an outright gift, provided that all indebtedness of whatever description against the institution be liquidated, and an additional amount of $40,000 be secured for the endowment fund of the University on or before March 1st, 1937.
   Through the succeeding months the officials of the University, together with the alumni, ex-students and friends of the institution have cooperated in a quiet but most effective fashion to meet the terms required, and to secure the gift. It was necessary to raise $105,000 to cover indebtedness, the major portion of which had been created during a building campaign shortly before the depression; this, together with the $40,000 required for the endowment, made a total of $145,000 to be raised. We are happy to report to you that this entire amount was secured in cash and negotiable securities by March First. No public or widespread campaign was entered into; less than two hundred individuals, all of them former students, patrons, or close friends of the University comprise the list of contributors. To attempt to name those responsible for this magnificent achievement would be to name the entire list of contributors and workers, every one of whom exerted himself or herself to the utmost that the goal might be achieved.
    The net result of the accomplishment is that Southwestern University is freed from all indebtedness of any description, and, since the value of the bequest of Mrs. Wiess is now in excess of $160,000, that $200,000 has been added to the endowment fund.
    Southwestern University is now the mother school of Texas Methodism. Established in Georgetown in 1873, through the merging of several smaller Methodist Colleges, it was designed to be the central educational institution of the denomination in Texas, and it has been a dominant factor in the educational life of the entire Southwest for two generations. From its halls have come many of the outstanding citizens, in every walk of life, and in every section of the Southwest. Ideally situated in a small community of commanding moral and intellectual type, the wholesome influence of the school upon the lives of its thousands of students through these sixty-four years has been supplement at all times by the high moral and religious tone of the city of Georgetown. In this community and in this atmosphere Mrs. Louisa Elizabeth Wiess spent her childhood and young womanhood, and from Georgetown she went to Beaumont as the bride of Captain William Wiess, who was to become one of the foremost citizens and capitalists of the South. Captain and Mrs. Wiess not only occupied a position of social and financial prestige in their city and State, they also were outstanding in their devotion to every cause that promoted the welfare of their fellow-men, and especially were they devoted to their Church, the Methodist, and all its interests. For many years Captain Wiess was a Trustee and strong supporter of Southwestern University. Following his death Mrs. Wiess maintained the active interest both had felt for the institution. Because of this interest and affection on the part of his mother, and having in mind his honored father's long connection with Southwestern University, and that his mother might have in her declining years the joy of making so significant a gift to the institution, upon which she and her sainted husband had lavished so much of time and money in years gone by, Mr. Harry C. Wiess, the President of the Humble Oil and Refining Co., last June proposed to his mother that she make the bequest described above. Mrs. Wiess joyfully acquiesced in the suggestion and executed the necessary instrument on June 26th. This was possibly the last business transaction of Mrs. Wiess' life, as within a few days thereafter, she was called to her Heavenly Home.
   It is proper to say that Mr. Wiess and his mother were led to make the gift, not only for the reasons cited above, but because of the hearty approval of their attorney and close personal friend, the late Col. Frank Andrews, whose counsel they sought in this matter. It reflects honor and credit upon Southwestern University for us to remember that Col. Andrews was himself an alumnus of that institution, and one whose noble career and exalted character in public and private life were an inspiration, not only to his Alma Mater, but to all who knew him.
   Not only because of the magnificence of the gift itself, but because of the holy sentiments and influences actuating its donors, it gives us great satisfaction to report that Southwestern has met the terms prescribed. The South Texas Commercial National Bank, made trustee of the bequests following the death of Col. Andrews, has formally awarded the gift, and the transaction is completed. The University is under lasting obligation to the bank for its 

(See UNIVERSITY on Page 4)

meticulous labors in this connection.
   It was the belief of Mr. Wiess and his mother, in requiring that all indebtedness be paid, and a substantial sum be added to the endowment of the University that this would guarantee an ever-increasing usefulness to the University. That they were justified in this assumption seems assured. The school is now free from debt and has, with the Wiess bequest, now more than a half-million dollars in productive endowment. The income from this endowment is supplemented annually by grants from each of the five conferences of Texas Methodism. There is every reason to believe that Southwestern will receive other substantial gifts in the not distant future.
   There is a distinct trend in the educational world toward the small college, with a select student body and with opportunity for close personal contact between teacher and student. With its tradition and background, and with its location and splendid physical equipment, there is no institution in the Southwest better fitted to discharge the functions of a small college, conducted under liberal religious auspices, than is Southwestern.
   To Mrs. Louisa Elizabeth Wiess and to her husband, Captain William Wiess, both of blessed memory, and to their son, Mr. Harry C. Wiess, Southwestern University and all the friends of higher education owe an incalculable debt of gratitude which can only be discharged through the proper assumption of the University of the obligations, and privileges now brought to it through their faith in the institution.

Claude C. Cody, Jr.,
Chairman of Board of Trustees.

J. M. West,
Chairman of Finance Committee.
S. W. Scott.
W. E. Orgain.
A. Frank Smith.


Williamson County Sun
Issued Weekly
By The Sun Publishing Company
Georgetown, Texas

Entered at the Postoffice at Georgetown, Texas, as second-class mail matter under provisions of the Act of March 3, 1879.



"In men whom men denounce as ill I find so much of goodness still. In men whom men pronounce divine I find so much of sin and blot, I hesitate to draw the line between the two -- when God has not."