Lubbock Christian University received a generous donation of one million dollars from the Helen Jones Foundation, Inc., to establish the Helen De Vitt Jones Endowed Chair of Fine Arts. The gift will benefit the LCU Department of Communication and Fine Arts to support hiring and retaining highly qualified faculty to ensure excellence in the classroom and in the performing arts through special research and projects that provide exceptional experiential learning opportunities for students.  

AltDr. Laurie Doyle has served fine arts students at LCU for over 40 years.Dr. Laurie Doyle has been appointed as the inaugural Helen De Vitt Jones Endowed Chair of Fine Arts. Dr. Doyle began her work at LCU in 1983 as a faculty member in the Music Department and currently serves as a professor of music. She has been the chair for the Communication and Fine Arts Department since 2006 and has also led in the roles of director, music director, or assistant director of over 75 musicals and theater productions at LCU since 1985.  

In response to this appointment, Dr. Doyle said, “It is a high honor to have my name in any way associated with Helen De Vitt Jones, a great champion of the fine arts and education. I am thrilled to have LCU now bearing the name of Helen De Vitt Jones through this generous donation.” 

Dr. Scott McDowell, President of LCU, shared, “We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of the Helen Jones Foundation and will steward this gift well to continue the Helen De Vitt Jones legacy. The fact that Dr. Laurie Doyle will be the first occupant of this prestigious chair aligns perfectly with the vision of excellence the Foundation supports, and I am confident that her leadership in the arts will continue to promote such excellence.”

altDr. Laurie Doyle and President Scott McDowell are joined by James Arnold, head of the Helen Jones Foundation, at a luncheon where the gift was announced.Helen De Vitt Jones, who was born into one of the early ranching and oil families of West Texas, was a great humanitarian. As a faithful supporter of the fine arts, she devoted her later life to making a lasting difference as a patron of philanthropic causes, and the foundation that bears her name continues to follow her philosophy as its guiding principle. The generous donation from the Helen De Vitt Jones Foundation supports the strategic plan of the university to support faculty and students as they engage in meaningful and productive opportunities for professional development, scholarly research, and innovative curricular and co-curricular experiences.

President McDowell continued, “The Helen Jones Foundation has continued Mrs. Jones’ legacy of philanthropy and avid support of the fine arts and education and has been an outstanding supporter of Lubbock Christian University for many years. This gift to endow the first Helen De Vitt Jones Chair of Fine Arts at Lubbock Christian University will ensure that we will be able to continue to hire and retain highly qualified faculty and persist in our efforts to elevate the academic standards here at LCU.”

Raymond Richardson, Vice President for University Advancement, added, “The Helen Jones Foundation, under the leadership of Mr. (James) Arnold, has made an everlasting fingerprint on the fine arts department at Lubbock Christian University. Our community is academically stronger, culturally enhanced, and sustainable due to the strategic investments made at LCU by the Helen Jones Foundation.” 

Dr. Laurie (Lawlis) Doyle (’82)

alt Dr. Laurie Doyle’s journey to Lubbock Christian University began in her hometown in Sherman, north of Dallas. Introduced to LCU through her high school youth group’s participation in LCU’s Encounter summer camp, she felt a natural connection. Scholarships in music and academics sealed her decision to attend LCU.

In her student years, two influential faculty members left a lasting impact and played pivotal roles in shaping her journey. June Bearden, the theatre arts instructor, took a chance on Dr. Doyle and encouraged her to explore performing. This experience was particularly impactful as it was her first exposure with a female director, leaving Dr. Doyle fascinated by Bearden’s unique creative process.

Another significant influence was Dr. Don Williams, current Professor Emeritus of Communication and Theatre, with whom she began working as a student and has continued to collaborate with throughout her career at LCU. When she began teaching at LCU, Dr. Williams invited her to serve as music director for a small musical.

“Both of these incredible directors and teachers encouraged me, challenged me, and walked with me as a student, a young faculty member, and throughout my career at LCU,” Dr. Doyle reflected.

Her work with Dr. Williams continues, and together, they shape LCU’s theatre productions. She has won awards from the American College of Theatre Festival and the Christian University Theatre Festival.

Dr. Doyle completed her Bachelor of Arts in Music from LCU in 1982. She pursued further studies at Texas Tech University, where she earned a Master of Music in Vocal Performance in 1985. In 1983, she returned to LCU, where her roles included Director of Student Activities and Associate Professor. Dr. Doyle completed her Ph.D. in Fine Arts, with an emphasis in Theatre, in 2002, at Texas Tech University.

Since 2006, Dr. Doyle has served as Chair of the Communication and Fine Arts Department, leaving a notable mark on LCU’s artistic and academic landscape. She was promoted to full professor in 2012. Her journey from a student inspired by remarkable mentors to a distinguished professor and department chair emphasizes LCU’s commitment to excellence in education and the arts.

Learn more about LCU's Department of Communication and Fine Arts