Scholarship Honors Singing Sisters of UT Dallas Alma Mater

Apr. 9, 2012

Sani and Sherine with parents George and Suja Mathew

A new scholarship announced at a campaign kickoff event is named for Sani Mathew BS'06 (left) and her sister, Sherine (right), who is a senior. They attended the event with their parents, George and Suja Mathew.

The years that sisters Sani and Sherine Mathew spent singing the UT Dallas Alma Mater at graduation ceremonies will pay off permanently for other students for years to come.

Rita Crocker Clements, a member of the UT System Board of Regents from 1996 to 2007 and the wife of late Gov. Bill Clements, donated $25,000 for a permanent endowed scholarship named after the sisters. The gift was announced March 29th at the kickoff of the University’s first comprehensive campaign after the sisters helped open the event by singing the Alma Mater.

UTD Alma Mater

UT Dallas orange and green
Founders’ visionary dream
To inflame the scholar’s heart
Lighting pathways through the dark
Reaching out from earth to space
Serving all the human race
Joined as one in unity
Alma Mater UTD

“It is absolutely unbelievable and humbling to know that there are going to be countless students who have the opportunity to get part of their tuition paid for through the generosity of Rita Clements and her family and her foundation,” Sani said.

Their parents George and Suja Mathew were in attendance. “It is such an honor to have this under their name,” Mr. Mathew  said. “We are so blessed and humbled with this announcement.”

Sani served on the committee that helped write the words of the Alma Mater while she was a UT Dallas undergraduate. The song made its debut at commencement in May 2004.

She then sang it at graduation ceremonies. Sherine, six years younger than Sani, later sang the Alma Mater at graduations as well.

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“I’m always humbled by the way they sing,” their mother said. “The words of that school song are so meaningful, it just gives me goose bumps. It is basically saying to reach out for the highest goals in their life.”

Both sisters have been part of the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program, established by Mrs. Margaret McDermott, which provides select students with rigorous personalized education and intensive extracurricular activities.

The sisters said there is a vibrancy and enthusiasm around campus, and that the evening’s  campaign kickoff event inspired them.

“Seeing how much Margaret McDermott and all the individuals here have given to the University makes it that much more of a responsibility for us to give back in whatever ways we can,” Sani said.

Sani graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and minor in medical and scientific humanities and went on to medical school at UT Southwestern. She is now doing her pediatrics residency at Children’s Medical Center Dallas.

Sherine is graduating this spring with a bachelor’s degree in biology and business administration. She anticipates that her studies for a master’s degree in health care management and preparation for medical school won’t allow her time to sing at graduations.

“It's time for new singers at UT Dallas,” Sani said. “I’m sure there are plenty of them just waiting to be found.”


Media Contact: LaKisha Ladson, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4183, lakisha.ladson@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu.

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