April 18, 2015
Appreciation and Admiration Drive Alumna's Bequest
March 21, 2014
Trudy Gentry MS'79
At every opportunity, Trudy Gentry MS’79 praises UT Dallas. She raves about her student experience and credits her alma mater with giving her a career and a means to secure a retirement fund.
So when the time came to solidify her estate plans, Gentry said it seemed natural 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. A bequest is a way of giving through a will or trust. After years in education, Gentry said she understands the challenges of utilizing funds accompanied by set parameters. “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 proponent 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 at the school with the expectation that she would pursue her 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 was able to attend evening classes and was allowed to fulfill her student teaching requirement in her own classroom. Gentry eventually spent 35 years teaching special education.
While Gentry did not require student loans or grants to fund her education, she’s watched others struggle financially while earning degrees. “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. She now plans to volunteer to work with autistic children at the Center for BrainHealth. “The center provides a good way to stay in touch with my interests.”