New Group Joins Expanding List of University's Terry Scholars
Sept. 16, 2015
This fall’s class of Terry Scholars at UT Dallas includes 21 transfer students. The program at the University has grown from just 11 scholarships in 2006 to supporting 139 Terry Scholars this year.
UT Dallas alum Charles Cliff BS’10 says being a Terry Scholar gave him the time he needed to enhance his academic career in physics and mathematics through internships and research lab work.
“It enabled me to do the things I needed to do to become a stellar candidate for graduate school and have a career in my field,” he said. “I view the scholarship as a loan, not a gift, and I intend to pay it back, with interest.”
Cliff, who is a software engineer in Austin, has kept his word by serving on the Terry Scholars Advisory Board the past four years, coordinating alumni feedback and making recommendations for the program at its 13 participating universities in Texas. He also mentors scholars seeking academic and career advice.
Twenty-three UT Dallas freshmen are Terry Scholars, including one valedictorian and one salutatorian. For the first time, the combined awards of current scholars at the University will top $2 million.
“The Terry Scholars Program is very near and dear to my heart. I feel it is incumbent on me to work with the Terry Foundation now and with these scholars,” Cliff said.
Cliff is just one of the 200 UT Dallas students selected as Terry Scholars during the program’s 10-year history with the University. The scholarship covers scholars’ expenses, including tuition and fees, housing, books and living expenses. Scholars also can study abroad.
Blythe Torres, the program’s director at UT Dallas, has seen expansive growth in numbers of scholars since the beginning. The program at UT Dallas has grown from just 11 scholarships in 2006 to supporting 139 Terry Scholars this year.
“The growth at UT Dallas has been tremendous,” she said. “The Terry Foundation’s long-standing commitment to awarding bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds has changed the landscape of Texas higher education.”
“We have a robust alumni program. They appreciate what they have been given and desire to pay it forward. It has been such a pleasure to help the scholars achieve their academic and personal goals, and I always enjoy hearing their accomplishments. I have this rich history with them. We’ve grown together.”
For the first time, the combined awards of current scholars at UT Dallas will top $2 million. Since 2006, the foundation has given the University’s scholars more than $10.5 million.
Scholars are selected in part for their leadership potential, character, volunteerism and scholastic achievement. This fall, UT Dallas will welcome 23 freshmen and 21 transfer students to the program. Of the freshmen — 12 women and 11 men — one is a valedictorian and one is a salutatorian.
In the past decade, UT Dallas has had five classes of Terry Scholars graduate. This year marked the University’s first scholars to graduate from medical school and law school. Others have gone on to prestigious graduate school programs at MIT, the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University.
Executive director Yvonne Moody praised the efforts of Torres and the University’s administrators in helping to build an outstanding partnership with the Terry Foundation.
“Ms. Torres has cultivated a community of Terry Scholars who have leveraged their success at UTD and gone on to become engaged as Terry Scholar program alumni,” Moody said.
Moody also said that Terry Scholars at UT Dallas receive unparalleled support from the University’s administration — particularly from Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, president ad interim, and Dr. Ted Harpham, dean of the Honors College — that includes special access to Honors College resources such as faculty, cultural events, and the dedicated lounge and study space on campus.
Torres said about 60 percent of the UT Dallas students who participate in the program stay active with current scholars even after they graduate.
“We have a robust alumni program. They appreciate what they have been given and desire to pay it forward,” Torres said. “It has been such a pleasure to help the scholars achieve their academic and personal goals, and I always enjoy hearing their accomplishments. I have this rich history with them. We’ve grown together.”
Founded in 1986, the Houston-based Terry Foundation provides scholarships to help outstanding high school graduates and nontraditional/transfer students attend public colleges and universities in Texas.
Other participating schools are: the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Texas at El Paso, the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M University at College Station, the University of Houston, Texas State University, the University of North Texas, Texas Tech University, Texas Woman’s University, Sam Houston State University and Texas A&M University at Galveston.