Hardin-Simmons’ Christlieb Sponsor Program

October 30, 2019 Felicity Neptune, Staff Writer

(ABILENE, Texas)–When James B. Simmons partnered with merchants, ranchers, and pastors to establish what would later be called Hardin-Simmons University, he asked for the school to be called Christlieb College — the college of Christ’s love. While the name itself did not endure, the vision and mission for the school did. One way that HSU is living out the love of Christ is through the Christlieb Program, providing full tuition to independent, self-sustaining students who have no parental support.

In 2018, President Eric Bruntmyer learned that Abilene ISD had over 1,300 students who were classified as homeless. Many of these students lived in foster care or with friends or relatives. Once these students turn 18, they are often left without the financial or emotional support needed for college. While not every self-supported student is an orphan, students who classify as independent do not have family support to attend college.

To meet these student needs, Bruntmyer worked with the Board of Trustees, Admissions, and Advancement to provide full tuition to students who qualify for the Christlieb Program, leaving the remaining funds students receive from their FAFSA for housing, meal plans, and textbooks.

“This is our way of giving back to our community,” said Vicki House, Vice President for Enrollment Management. “It is HSU’s way of saying we are committed to the success of our students, even if they are not able to pay.”

HSU students gather around for STAMPEDE week to welcome the new first-year students home.

HSU students gather around for STAMPEDE week to welcome the new first-year students home.

Through the Christlieb Sponsor Program, up to 12 students per academic year can attend Hardin-Simmons with their tuition paid by sponsors. In the 2018-2019 academic year, seven students benefited from the Christlieb Program and eight students are currently benefitting from the program for the 2019-2020 year.

Finances are not the only support the university provides for these students. The Office of Student Engagement also works to ensure that students are aware of their access to free counseling, tutoring, mentoring, and career services. Students have multiple points of contact on campus, including their First Year Mentor, Resident Assistant, and Student Success Specialist.

“My hope is that we can be these students’ forever family,” President Eric Bruntmyer said. “This is a way for us to stand in the gap. We want to be the hands and feet of Christ as we serve.”

The Christlieb Program is completely funded by sponsors. Sponsors can support one or more students or donate any amount to the program. To donate any amount to the Christlieb Sponsor Program, contact Hardin-Simmons University Office of Advancement at 325-670-1260 or advancement@hsutx.edu or visit hsutx.edu/christlieb.