Former Regent's Chair Louis Beecherl Jr. Mourned
Jul. 6, 2011
The UT Dallas community mourns the passing of Louis A. Beecherl Jr., a former chairman of The University of Texas System’s Board of Regents, whose generosity and guidance helped fuel the University’s growth and vision. Beecherl died Tuesday at age 85.
Beecherl’s leadership and numerous contributions to UT Dallas shaped the University’s education goals and helped establish excellence in attracting top faculty and students.
“Louis was a valued friend and mentor to me. Louis played a key role in my decision to come to UT Dallas as president, and his support of UT Dallas, through his generosity and valued counsel, has been critical as we have advanced in name and stature,” said UT Dallas President David E. Daniel. “Today, many Texans mourn his passing, but we have the comfort of knowing that Louis’ passionate support of higher education in this state left a great legacy that will benefit many generations to come.”
Beecherl established two distinguished professorships, a faculty chair and a distinguished chair all in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) at UT Dallas. Beecherl also established the Louis Beecherl Jr. Graduate Fellowship. In addition, he was a member of the UT Dallas Laureates, a donor recognition society that honors cumulative lifetime giving of $1 million or more to the University.
Executive Vice President and Provost Hobson Wildenthal said: “His selfless contributions to UT Dallas have been essential in recruiting the best and brightest faculty and students. For a relatively young university to have such a dedicated supporter has been a tremendous asset. He has helped propel our national ascension as a university.”
“Louis’ extraordinary vision and outstanding support of our school formed a basis on which we continue to offer the best instruction and educational experience for our students,” said Dr. Mark Spong, dean of ECS. “There is no doubt that his influence on our school and university will positively affect the educational experience here for years to come.”
UT Dallas was among dozens of area beneficiaries of Beecherl’s civic-mindedness and generosity over the last three decades. In addition to his service with the UT System board, he was chairman of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, and was a strong supporter of hospitals and medical institutions in North Texas.
Beecherl was born Feb. 10, 1926, in Dallas and graduated from Tulane University and the University of Texas with bachelor of science degrees after his service in the U.S. Navy in World War II. He was chair and chief executive officer of Texas Oil & Gas Corp. from 1957 to 1977 and served as chairman of the Texas Water Development Board of the Department of Water Resources from 1980 to 1986. He was appointed to the UT System Board of Regents in 1987 by Gov. Bill Clements, and in 1989 he was elected chairman of the board.
Beecherl is survived by his wife, Julie; his eight children; 35 grandchildren; and four great grandchildren. Services will be at 10 a.m., Friday, July 8, at the Church of the Incarnation located at 3966 McKinney Ave. in Dallas.
|Louis Beecherl Jr. was appointed to the UT System Board of Regents by Gov. Bill Clements in 1987. He served until 1993. He was chairman for four of those years.|
Louis Beecherl Jr. (far right) joined UT Dallas researchers and elected officials on a tour of the Natural Science, Engineering and Research Laboratory in 2007. The group accompanying him included (from left) Dr. Thomas E. Linehan, director of the Center for Interactive Arts and Engineering; State Rep. Dan Branch of Dallas; and Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, chief director of the Center for BrainHealth.