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Bob and Gayle Riley join ETBU Founders Society

November 11, 2019

East Texas Baptist University presented Bob and Gayle Riley with a Founders Society Award during halftime of the Tiger Football game on Saturday, November 9 in recognition of their generosity and faithful support of the University and its mission. Membership in the ETBU Founders Society is reserved for those who have contributed at least $100,000 to the University throughout their lifetime.

“We are immensely grateful to the Rileys for their commitment to servant leadership and their faithfulness to East Texas Baptist University that still manifests today,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said. “Their commitment to ETBU and their Christian servant leadership will have a lasting impact on generations of Tigers academically, physically, and spiritually.”

Dr. and Mrs. Riley served as President and First Lady of East Texas Baptist University from 1992-2009. Dr. Riley currently holds the esteemed title of President Emeritus. Riley was instrumental in implementing a servant leadership culture into the ETBU community, which permeates campus life today. The Rileys gifted the University with Max Greiner’s “Divine Servant Statue” that sits outside of the Rogers Spiritual Life Center as a reminder of our call to servanthood as Christ modeled. Annually, ETBU presents the Bob and Gayle Riley Servant Leadership Award, which is given annually to two upperclassman students, who exemplify the characteristics of a Christian servant leader.

“It was an honor to serve the students, faculty, and staff of ETBU from 1992 – 2009 as president,” Dr. Riley said. “Now, we are blessed to give back to the University as a reminder to all of us the importance of serving those around us and around the world. I always believed that ETBU would continue to raise up servant leaders now and in future generations as they make a difference and serve God.”

It is fitting that the Rileys were presented the Founders Society Award during the Tiger football game. Through his bold vision and pioneering spirit in 2000, Dr. Riley led the institution to launch NCAA Division III football.

“The Tiger Football program has grown so much over the years thanks in part to the generosity and advocacy of University supporters such as the Rileys,” Head football coach Brian Mayper said. “We are blessed to have some of the best facilities in NCAA DIII, which helps when it comes to recruiting quality student-athletes. Most importantly, we are thankful the football program was launched by Dr. Riley years ago, enabling us to mentor Tiger athletes to be disciples of Christ.”