UT Dallas - The LINK
April 2014

Parents Honor Children with Naming Gifts

Judy (not pictured) and Zeke Fairbank named a campus tree for their children, Nate, a junior, and Nancy, a freshman, both of whom are Eugene McDermott Scholars.

Siblings Kathryn and Kyle Trost—along with their fellow students—have the opportunity to learn and study in a new place on campus, thanks to their parents, Donald and Karen Trost.

The Trosts had tracked the progress of the new Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building on visits to campus from their home in nearby Keller. From there, it didn’t take long for them to agree that a naming gift was something they wanted to pursue.

“We simply felt it was right to give something back to the program and UT Dallas now, while Kyle and Kathryn are both on campus,” Don said. In doing so, the Trosts have named the first space in the new building, a student lounge, in honor of their children who both are majoring in arts and technology (ATEC).

“Everything we’ve seen since Kyle first visited campus—the construction of new residence halls, the Student Services Building, and now the new Edith O’Donnell ATEC Building—has changed the way we think,” Don said. “What better way to support UT Dallas than to give back while Kyle and Kathryn are both ATEC students? We hope that every time they use the student lounge they’ll feel the same sense of pride and commitment that we do.”

A similar sense of commitment attracted parents Judy and Zeke Fairbank to make a gift in honor of their children, Nate, a junior math major, and Nancy, a freshman, both of whom are Eugene McDermott Scholars.

Both freshman Kathryn and junior Kyle are enjoying a student lounge bearing their names in the new Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building, thanks to the generosity of their parents, Donald and Karen Trost.

“We are so grateful to UT Dallas and to the McDermott Scholars Program for the opportunities given to both our children,” Judy said. “We asked ourselves, ‘How do you thank a university for that?’”

While visiting Nate, Zeke walked by the reflecting pools and happened upon a sign about naming opportunities for trees and reflecting pools. Then, when Nancy attended her interviews for McDermott Scholar finalists earlier this year, Judy saw a plaque commemorating a campus enhancement gift from the Eugene McDermott Scholars Alumni Association. With those experiences, a seed was planted in the Fairbanks’ minds, and the idea to give back grew.

“To me, seeing that commitment from the young McDermott alumni conveyed a special level of gratitude and connection,” Judy said.

As the owner of The Alternative Energy Co. LLC in Missouri, Zeke also was pleased with the steps that UT Dallas has taken to promote environmental stewardship. “After reading about the University’s quest to become Tier One, I wanted to do something tangible to support that mission, especially sustainability,” Zeke said. Gifts to the Campus Enhancement Fund, such as the one from the Fairbanks family, provide permanently endowed support of trees, water features and gathering areas.

In a few years, even as Nate and Nancy graduate and embark on new journeys, the trees will mature and provide a beautiful, natural backdrop to the campus landscape.

“We have pin oak trees back home in Missouri, and both kids loved climbing them,” Judy said. “Our gift is a connection, a way for them to remember where they come from and where they’re going.”

For more information, visit utdallas.edu/development.

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