UT Dallas - The LINK
February 2014

Appreciation and Admiration Drive Alumna’s Bequest


At every opportunity, Trudy Gentry MS’79 enthusiastically praises UT Dallas. She not only raves about her student experience but also credits her alma mater with giving her a career and providing her with the means to secure a retirement fund. So when the time came to solidify her estate plans, Gentry immediately thought to include the University.

“The University is putting out some of the best graduates and research in every category,” Gentry said. “I want to make things easier for the University and the Center for BrainHealth (CBH), so they can make things easier for us.” Gentry’s bequest of $500,000 will be divided evenly between CBH and the University. “I put no strings on my gift,” she explained. “Whatever the University needs it for, they should use it for.”

Years in the classroom—as both a student and an instructor—have made Gentry a a big fan of education. She earned an undergraduate degree from UT Arlington and completed graduate work in philosophy at Southern Methodist University. After serving as an aide at what was then known as the Notre Dame Special School, Gentry was hired as an instructor with the expectation that she would pursue her teaching certification. She then enrolled at UT Dallas to earn a master’s degree in special education.

“UTD was really fabulous about working with me,” Gentry said of her time as a student. She not only was able to attend evening classes but also was allowed to student-teach in her own classroom. Gentry eventually spent 35 years teaching special education.

Although Gentry did not need student loans or grants, she’s watched others struggle financially while earning degrees. Those observations combined with classroom interactions led to Gentry’s belief that investing in education is crucial. “If children really are our future, we need to be able to provide them with financial aid, scholarships and whatever they need to get through,” Gentry said.

After learning about BrainHealth’s signature public lecture series, Gentry began attending regularly. The quality and content of the programming sparked a desire to further immerse herself in the center’s programs. Not wanting to just wait for the series to commence each February, Gentry plans to volunteer her time working with autistic children at BrainHealth. “The center provides a good way to stay in touch with my interests.”

For information on gift planning, contact Anna LeBlanc at 972-883-6023 or visit utdallas.plannedgiving.org/.

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