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2022 Lifetime Achievement Award

by Lindsey Giardino
Gail and Tim Buchanan are this year's honorees

Tim and Gail Buchanan love their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and serve him through their ministry and philanthropic efforts. Active as members of Wichita First Church of Nazarene, the couple has supported MidAmerica Nazarene University for decades.

The Buchanan’s belief in the mission of MNU is evidenced by their longstanding engagement with the university. Tim has served on the university’s Board of Trustees and previously served on the Board of Directors for the MNU Foundation. Together, the couple co-chair the Bright Futures Campaign and are this year’s recipients of MNU’s Lifetime Achievement Award, to be presented at President’s Honors on April 8, 2022.

“Through their remarkable leadership and creativity, we have been able to propel the fundraising aspect of the Bright Futures Campaign for MNU to record giving,” says Jon North, vice president for university advancement. “In addition, Tim’s experience as a builder of large-scale spaces for living and meeting has been a huge advantage when planning the Cunningham Center construction.”

Tim says his grandfather told him that if the church and leadership ask you to serve, you should say yes. So, when he and Gail were asked to co-chair the Bright Futures Campaign, that’s all the inspiration they needed.

“I feel passionate about the projects that are in the Bright Future Campaign, from sustainability for the operating budget to the capital projects and scholarships,” Tim says. “I think it’s a well-thought-out campaign and includes a lot of things that will be transformative for the university for generations to come.”

Tim and Gail have also seen the benefit of MNU from the perspective of parents: their daughter Emily, son Matt and daughter-in-law Lauren (Gilmore) all attended MNU.

A native of Wichita, Tim has owned different private and public companies in the community since he was just 20 years old, including Buchanan Homes and as co-founder of Sterling House Corporation. In 1995, he was awarded the Kaufman Foundation/Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and, in 2019, inducted into the Wichita Business Hall of Fame. He has served on the Board of Argentum, the nation’s primary senior living association, for 10 years, three of which were as chairman.

Today, Tim works full-time as the CEO of Legend Senior Living – a company he founded in 2001 dedicated to providing quality housing and services to senior adults. Legend currently owns and operates more than 42 facilities throughout the United States.

Legend Senior Living continues to receive national awards for best practices in senior living and memory care, in part because of Tim’s expertise and pioneering innovation in the assisted living industry, driven by his passion for caring for seniors.

Gail attended MNU before completing her bachelor’s degree in music education at Friends University.

“MNU had such a passionate emphasis on encouraging all students to live out their faith in a strong, Christ-like character,” she says. “It was a privilege to be at MNU.”

Gail has taught elementary school music and private voice instruction and served with her vocal talents in church choirs and small groups since junior high. She also participates in community choirs and Singing Quaker Alumni Choirs, as well as served as a board member of the Wichita Grand Opera.

Tim and Gail have been serving in ministry at Wichita First Church for 40 years. They led a Sunday class for many years, as well as children’s choirs and study groups. They also were part of the board’s leadership and helped lead building renovations.

In addition to their other involvements, both Tim and Gail have served in domestic and international missions work. Tim led his first volunteer work project to Appalachia while still in high school. He has since participated in nearly 20 work projects to Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Büsingen, Germany, building churches and working on schools. Gail, Matt and Emily have also served in Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Büsingen. Tim’s mission work led him to a vocational change in 1990 to enhance the quality of life and dignity for senior adults.

As their business and ministry leadership, as well as their philanthropy to numerous Christian educational institutions, indicates, the Buchanans have a deep desire to see young people educated in a Christian environment and worldview.

Gail says they hope their giving to MNU “changes lives and empowers students for a bright future.” She adds that it’s their goal to give students the financial opportunity to attend a strong, Christian university.

MidAmerica Nazarene University is deeply grateful to the Buchanans for their continuing investment in MNU that will make an impact for generations to come.

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