Lubbock Christian University officials announced today a million-dollar gift from the James A. “Buddy” Davidson Charitable Foundation of Midland, Texas, to endow an academic chair in the Alfred and Patricia Smith College of Biblical Studies.
The gift will establish the James A. “Buddy” Davidson Charitable Foundation Chair in Youth and Family Ministry (YFM) to permanently support a faculty position, provide resources for faculty development and research, and provide scholarships for students.
At the press conference, Dr. Jeff Cary, dean of the College of Biblical Studies announced that Dr. David Fraze, associate professor of YFM, will receive the first appointment to the endowed chair. Dr. Fraze obtained his Doctor of Ministry in Youth Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. He has been a college professor for over 10 years and has been active in youth ministry for more than 30 years. Dr. Fraze is also a lead ministry coach and blog curator with Youth Specialties, a speaker and partner with Fuller Theological Seminary, and is author of Practical Wisdom for Youth Ministry.
“Dr. Fraze’s appointment to this endowed chair recognizes his outstanding contributions as the leader of the flagship program within the Smith College of Biblical Studies. Dr. Fraze is widely recognized for his years of experience in youth ministry, his significant scholarly contributions, his active involvement in the highest levels of the field of Youth Ministry, and his extraordinary gifts as a communicator and classroom teacher. The blessing of this endowed chair will provide increased resources for Dr. Fraze to extend LCU’s reputation as a premier influencer of teenagers and those who minister to them,” said Dr. Cary.
Dr. Fraze said, “I am honored and humbled to receive this appointment. I believe that today’s youth minister needs to be trained, creative, and courageous in order to meet the challenges of reaching this and future generations of teenagers. This generous gift will enable our YFM program to strengthen its rigorous training of future youth ministers and increase the impact this program has in the broader youth ministry community.”
The university has experienced significant momentum and growth in numerous academic programs – enhancing faculty development, securing student scholarships, and creating new academic spaces for transformative educational experiences. Within the past three years, the Rhodes Institute for Undergraduate Research has created co-discovery opportunities between faculty and students; LCU’s Center for Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship was established for faculty development to enhance the student learning experience; significant gifts to the university endowment have increased opportunities for expanded student scholarship offerings; and 143,000 square feet of academic space has been added or received state of the art renovations greatly enriching our learning environments.
Dr. Foy Mills, Jr., Provost and Chief Academic Officer remarked, “This generous gift from the James A. “Buddy” Davidson Charitable Foundation recognizes one of our premier academic programs at Lubbock Christian University. This endowed chair, the first in the Alfred and Patricia Smith College of Biblical Studies, continues the significant investment begun by the Smiths in our programs preparing young people for ministry.”
The addition of the James A. “Buddy” Davidson Charitable Foundation Chair in YFM is another example of the momentum fueling the strategic priorities and investment the university is making to provide a transformative educational experience for every Lubbock Christian University student.