WALNUT RIDGE, Ark.  – Tekla Research has made another major matching gift to the annual fund and the Williams Works initiative at Williams Baptist University. Tekla Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Beth Russell West presented checks totaling $100,000 to WBU President Dr. Stan Norman on Monday. 

Tekla’s gift of $50,000 was matched by another $50,000 from Dave and Debi Russell. Dave Russell, a former WBU trustee and board chair, is the CEO of Tekla Research.  

The $100,000 combined gift, the second of its kind from Tekla Research and the Russells, help pave a path for students to receive a tuition-free education at Williams, while they also receive an academically outstanding, Christ-centered education. 

“The Williams Works initiative has been profoundly enriched by Tekla Research through their generous gift,” Norman said. “The steadfast and faithful contributions from individuals who believe in and support Williams empower us to progress in our mission. This gift serves as a catalyst for our growth, propelling WBU forward in this innovative direction. The generosity of Beth, Dave, and Tekla Research opens doors for numerous students to attain an exceptional, Christ-centered education through their own efforts. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Tekla Research and the Russells for this truly gracious gift.” 

Students accepted into the Williams Works initiative work 16 hours per week through the fall and spring semesters, and in exchange their tuition and student service are covered. Additionally, Williams Works students can apply to work full-time through the summer to cover room & board for the following year, giving students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. 

“Tekla Research is delighted to extend our partnership with Williams Baptist University and the Williams Works program,” West said. “We have seen the program continue to grow from its beginnings to a thriving operation now with the addition of the Williams Corner store and the meat processing operation. However, our greatest encouragement stems from observing the transformative impact this program has on the lives of students who seize the opportunity to graduate without the burden of debt.” 

Tekla Research, Inc., is a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business headquartered in Fredericksburg, Va., with offices in Norfolk, Va., Patuxent River Md., Cherry Point N.C. and Jonesboro Ark., and employees located throughout the country. 

WBU Receives $100,000 from Ledbetter Estate 

WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – Williams Baptist University has been presented with a $100,000 gift from the estate of a longtime supporter. The gift comes from the Joy Gregory Ledbetter Living Trust, and it will fund scholarships for WBU students who are preparing for the ministry. 

Mrs. Ledbetter was a native of Cash, Ark.  She and her late husband, Dr. Joe Ledbetter, lived in Jonesboro and were active members of Jonesboro First Baptist Church, where they were strong advocates for missions, as well as Christian higher education. She passed away in 2010. 

“Joy and Joe Ledbetter were without children, and Joy was able to devote much of her time to her church and its many programs and activities,” said her nephew, Michael Ledbetter. “She was particularly dedicated to helping Baptist missionaries in the US as well as in foreign lands.  And, she wanted to support ministerial students, in hopes that they might continue to serve the Baptist faith upon completion of their education.”   

WBU offers more than 25 majors, preparing students for a wide array of careers, including a popular program in Christian ministries. It was ministry students, in particular, that Mrs. Ledbetter sought to help through her trust. 

“She established the Joy Gregory Ledbetter Living Trust in the year 2000, and provided that a gift in the amount of $100,000 might be made to Williams Baptist University to support ministerial students seeking an education there,” Michael Ledbetter said. “Joy would be pleased to know that her gift will help students attending Williams Baptist University.” 

WBU President Dr. Stan Norman said it is especially gratifying for Williams to receive a generous gift from such a longtime and faithful supporter. 

“Joy Gregory Ledbetter dedicated her life to advancing the cause of Christ,” Norman said. “She and her husband traveled the world in support of Baptist missionaries, and they gave generously of their resources where they knew it would make an impact for the Lord. We are truly honored that she considered WBU to be an institution that makes such an impact. Her gift will indeed make a difference for students studying for the ministry, and it is deeply appreciated.” 

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