Giving Back to Support the Next Generation in Engineering

President Powers accepts Whaley gift

David Anderson, the executor of Whaley’s estate, and his wife, Ann, and son, Matt (center) with Bill Powers (left) and Dean Sharon Wood (right).

As we enter the final weeks of the Campaign for Texas, I am gratified to see so many friends and alumni giving back to our university. This week we announced a large posthumous gift–$35 million from the late T. W. Whaley, who earned a doctorate in electrical engineering from UT in 1968.

What’s special about this bequest is that it was given with the specific intention of funding scholarships for top Texas students in engineering and science. The endowment, projected to provide $1.6 million in annual merit scholarships and fellowships, increases the Cockrell School of Engineering’s total scholarship and fellowship funding by 25 percent. It will provide substantial scholarship support for 34 Cockrell School students in the first year alone.

Born in Lorena, Texas, in 1935, Whaley was adopted at age 15 by parents who made education a priority. After service in the U.S. Army, he earned two degrees at Texas A&M University before enrolling at UT. His career included aerospace engineering with General Dynamics and employment at the Central Intelligence Agency. In later years he managed a family farm, mineral interests, and investments. A donor to the Cockrell School since 1974, Dr. Whaley died last year.

His generosity will help engineering students on our campus this fall and for generations to come.

Hook ’em!

Bill Powers signature



Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, UT thanks you


From left: Hap Hunnicutt, Steve Stevens, Bill Powers, and John O. Smith

This week, I had the honor of hosting the Executive Committee, vice presidents, and staff of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in my office. Approximately 480 current Longhorn students are at UT because of the hard work these people have put into raising scholarships, which currently total $7,769,000 over the students’ four years at UT.

Since the first scholarships were awarded in the 1980s, some 1,800 Longhorns have received more than $20 million in support. In addition to $7,577,000 for normal scholarships, the organization is awarding an additional $176,000 for achievement scholarships given to top juniors and seniors.

What’s more, each year the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo sponsors a “UT Night,” in which they celebrate all things Longhorn. I’m looking forward to going on March 18, as I do each year. I hope you’ll support this organization that has done so much to support UT Austin.

Hook ’em Horns,

Bill's Signature

Terry championed scholarships

Howard and Nancy Terry

On Friday, the University lost an inspirational pillar of support for scholarship.

The patriarch and long-time benefactor of the Terry Foundation, Howard Terry, passed away at age 95. A man of generosity, care, and humility, Mr. Terry was a 1938 UT graduate, captain of the football team, and lifelong Longhorn. Over the past quarter century, the Terry Foundation became the largest private scholarship provider at UT Austin, having awarded more than $46 million to more than 1,100 students here since 1986.

This year, the Terry Foundation supports 212 Longhorn students with full-ride scholarships valued at more than $3.35 million. The foundation also supports scholarship recipients at seven other Texas universities, with some 660 students statewide receiving full-ride scholarships. More than 2,400 Terry Scholars have benefited from the Terrys’ generosity since the foundation’s inception.

Howard will be sorely missed, but his far-sighted legacy will live on for decades to come.


Thank you, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

From left, me with UT deans Greg Fenves of Engineering,
Tom Gilligan of Business, and David Laude of Natural Sciences

Many of you, especially in the Houston area, know how much fun the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is.

But you might not realize that it’s also a huge supporter of The University of Texas. Over the years, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has awarded scholarships enabling 1,289 students to attend UT Austin. These scholarships total more than $15.5 million. Currently, there are 390 students on campus receiving $785,000 because of the generosity of this organization.

In addition, I was surprised Tuesday night, during their annual UT Day reception, to receive $285,000 worth of donations to UT from five past chairmen of the livestock show and rodeo: Louis Pearce, Don Jordan, Mike Wells, John O. Smith, and Paul Somerville.

In addition to them, I want to thank the current chairman, Steve Stevens, for his support and for hosting many of us Tuesday night.

For 80 years, this has been far more than just a rodeo and livestock show. It’s an event that really makes a difference, and not just in Houston but across the state and around the world.

Thank you again, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Hook ’em Horns!