Devlin Family gifts $500,000 to Newman University Facing Forward campaign

Jun 02, 2016
Bishop Gerber Science Center Newman University

The Tom and Myra Devlin Family has made a gift of $500,000 to Newman University in support of the upcoming Bishop Gerber Science Center.

The gift is designated specifically for the Bishop Gerber Science Center, a major component of the $30 million Facing Forward – A Campaign for Newman University. The campaign is designed to raise funds to build the 51,400 square foot science center to be named in honor of the Most Rev. Eugene J. Gerber, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Wichita, a longstanding advocate for Catholic higher education and Newman University. Funds raised through the Facing Forward campaign are also being used to renovate facilities in the existing Eck Hall, which houses the university’s nursing and health sciences programs, as well as to grow the university’s endowment and provide for the Newman Fund, which supports student scholarships.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled about this wonderful gift in honor of Bishop Gerber,” said Newman President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D. “The Devlin Family is known for their generous giving in our community, and I feel very grateful and blessed to receive this gift for Newman University. The new science center made possible by this and other gifts will help us better prepare the future scientists, doctors, nurses and other health care practitioners who will meet the needs of people across the state of Kansas, and our region.”

Tom and Myra Devlin - Newman University Facing Forward Campaign
Tom and Myra Devlin

The Devlins said a large motivation to make the gift came from their friendship with and respect for Bishop Gerber.

“We are very close friends with Bishop Gerber and have worked with him on other projects,” Myra Devlin said, including the Lord’s Diner and the Spiritual Life Center. “When I found out he was doing this I said to Tom, ‘We have to do everything we can for this.’”

“I think you couldn’t have found a better person to name this building after than Bishop Gerber,” added Tom Devlin. “He is a great priest, a great bishop and he has done so much for Wichita and the diocese. I also think Noreen (Carrocci) is very energetic, she has a great vision and is doing a great job at Newman. My respect for her, in association with my respect for a man I think is the greatest person in Wichita, are what made me decide to make this gift.”

Myra Devlin agreed that a growing friendship with President Carrocci was a factor in their decision.

“Once I got to know Noreen, I felt a connection there, and we have developed a good friendship – not just a business relationship, but a friendship,” she said.

The Devlins also commented on the need for a new science facility.

“I think the new science center will enhance the campus, and give the students a more workable space that it is very much needed at this point,” Myra Devlin said.

The new and renovated facilities on the Newman campus will allow for up-to-date technology and equipment, more research areas and “smart” classrooms, and simulation labs, which are increasingly necessary to properly train clinical skills and to meet industry and accreditation standards.

Renovations to Eck Hall are currently underway and will be completed for the Fall 2016 semester. Newman plans to break ground for the Bishop Gerber Science Center on June 10, and have the building completed by August 2017 in time for the beginning of the Fall 2017 semester.

Bishop Gerber Science Center Newman University
The future Bishop Gerber Science Center

About Newman University:

  • Newman University is a Catholic university named for John Henry Cardinal Newman and founded by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ for the purpose of empowering graduates to transform society. The university is highly respected for the quality of its science, nursing and health sciences education programs, and the high quality of its graduates:
  • 95 percent of Newman pre-med graduates who applied were accepted into medical schools over the past 15 years. All Newman University students who applied for medical school admission were accepted in 2014.
  • 100 percent of 2014 Newman Nurse Anesthesia graduates (92 percent on the first attempt) passed accreditation exams. The national average was 87 percent.
  • For the past five years, Newman nursing graduate pass rates have consistently been above state and national averages for the National Council Licensure exam (NCLEX).
  • From 2013 to 2015, 100 percent of the Newman Radiologic Technology graduates passed their licensure exams with an average first time pass rate of 84 percent.
  • 100 percent of May 2015 Sonography graduates passed their American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography exams (physics, vascular, obstetrics).
  • 100 percent of the December 2014 Newman Respiratory Care graduates passed their Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) licensure exam.
  • 100 percent of 2015 Newman Occupational Therapy Assistant graduates passed the NBCOT licensure exams.
  • Other science graduates are accepted into postgraduate programs in chemistry, biology and other science fields at universities across the nation, including such prestigious schools as Notre Dame, Washington University and Iowa State.

About The Tom and Myra Devlin Family:

Tom Devlin, along with business partner W. Frank Barton, co-founded the rent-to-own business Rent-A-Center in 1973 when Devlin was 25 years old. The business developed into the nation’s largest rent-to-own chain. Devlin and Barton sold Rent-A-Center to Thorn EMI in 1987. Devlin is now CEO of Devlin Enterprises, a Wichita-based investment holding company with interests in retail, service, manufacturing, transportation, fast food, and commercial real estate investment and development. Devlin is also the founder of Flint Hills National Golf Club, which is among the Top 100 clubs in America as ranked by Golf Digest.

For more information about Facing Forward – A Campaign for Newman University, visit, or contact Clark Schafer at 316-942-4291, ext. 2164, or [email protected].