The EMBA class of 2011 (Click to enlarge)
Graduates of the 2011 Executive MBA program departed UT Dallas with diplomas, but they left behind a lasting contribution—a new endowed scholarship. The Class of 2011 EMBA Scholarship will provide an annual award to an undergraduate student in the School of Management. The scholarship will be permanently endowed and is expected to provide its first award in fall of 2012.
The class has raised $11,350 for the fund, and more gifts are expected. SOM has pledged to match all gifts made by April 1, 2012. “This is a remarkably generous gesture,” said Dr. Hasan Pirkul, SOM dean and Caruth Chair. “While this is our 18th EMBA class, they are the first to leave their legacy in the form of an endowed scholarship. We hope this will launch a new tradition for future EMBA classes to follow.”
The idea of establishing a scholarship was a natural fit for the class, which had already displayed a passion for philanthropy during their 21-month program. The EMBA curriculum requires day-long classes every other Saturday. For stress relief, the group would end their long day by gathering at a nearby pub, where classmates discussed their coursework and got to know each other better. “We started discovering common interests and causes, which led to us regularly taking up a collection and making a group contribution,” said Shari Hicks.
By the end of their program, the class had collectively donated more than $5,000. Some gifts went to the American Red Cross for disaster relief following the earthquake in Haiti and the tsunami in Japan. When the class traveled to Toronto, they planned to meet with executives of a major children’s hospital. Over dinner the night before, they collectively raised $1,200 and presented it to the surprised hospital administrator the next day.
Another donation came as a result of an even more personal connection. A classmate, U.S. Army Captain Jonathan Silk, had been wounded during a 2004 tour in Iraq. His colleagues knew that this experience led Silk to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that supports families of wounded soldiers. After he returned safely from a six-month deployment in Afghanistan, Silk’s classmates honored his service with a $2,600 donation to Wounded Warrior. “I’m proud to be part of such a close group of business colleagues and friends,” Silk said, “Through our scholarship, we hope future School of Management students will have the opportunity to build the same kind of relationships we have, and that they too will think of supporting UT Dallas in some way when they become alumni.”