Philanthropic Updates from The University of Texas at Dallas

Texas Instruments’ Gift Creates Early Career Faculty Award at UTD

By Daniel Steele   |  January 30, 2020

Longtime Supporter Donates $5 Million for New Electrical and Computer Engineering Endowment

ON THE OCCASION of The University of Texas at Dallas’ 50th anniversary, Texas Instruments made a $5 million gift to create an endowment that will support early career faculty members in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering within the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.

The Texas Instruments Early Career Award in Electrical and Computer Engineering is designed to help UT Dallas attract and retain promising scholars who have the potential to become leaders in new and emerging research fields. Faculty members eligible for the award will be in the early stages of their academic careers and must demonstrate an ability to compete for extramural funding. Award recipients will receive $50,000 a year for up to six years to support their independent research activities.

“Texas Instruments and UT Dallas have a shared history through our founders, so it is fitting that we honor them and their vision for electrical engineering talent in North Texas with this gift from TI,” said Rich Templeton, chairman, president and CEO of Texas Instruments. “It’s our hope that the new endowment, as well as all we do to collaborate with UTD, reflects TI’s desire to see the University maintain engineering as central to its mission and to produce students who are equipped with both technical and entrepreneurial skills and to be a source of great local talent.”

UT Dallas has rapidly become one of the nation’s leading research institutions. In 2016, the University was recognized by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as an R1 institution — a classification reserved for doctoral institutions with “very high research activity.” In 2018, UT Dallas qualified for funding from the National Research University Fund, an exclusive source of research support available to Texas’ emerging research universities upon the attainment of critical benchmark criteria.

As the University’s research profile grows, new resources are necessary to compete for top talent. By providing startup funding, the Texas Instruments Early Career Awards will provide a competitive advantage for recruitment and will help make UT Dallas an attractive destination for sought-after faculty.

“In order to sustain UT Dallas’ incredible growth and success, it is critically important that we expand our faculty with the best available talent,” said Dr. Richard C. Benson, president of UT Dallas. “I am grateful to Texas Instruments for helping us achieve this goal and look forward to the impact these new faculty members will make in their fields, for our students and for the economic well-being of our region.”

The TI Early Career Award endowment extends this founding vision in perpetuity, helping
recruit top engineering talent to the North Texas region. The gift is the largest single
commitment to UT Dallas made by TI, the University’s longest supporter.

Texas Instruments’ gift commemorates the shared history between TI and UT Dallas. Three of Texas Instruments’ founders — Eugene McDermott, Erik Jonsson and Cecil Green — observed promising young Texans leaving the state to pursue educations elsewhere. Simultaneously, TI leadership struggled to import out-of-state talent to work at their Dallas-based headquarters. Hoping to introduce better higher education opportunities in North Texas, the trio of visionaries created the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest, the foundation for what would become UT Dallas. In 1969, the institution’s land and assets were transferred to the state of Texas, officially joining the University with The University of Texas System.

Throughout UT Dallas’ first 50 years, philanthropic contributions from TI have helped drive the University’s evolution. When TI built a fabrication facility in Richardson in 2003, company leadership ensured that corporate tax incentives from the new building would be reinvested locally. As a result, UT Dallas received $300 million from the state of Texas, the UT System and other donors. This enabled the creation of the Natural Science and Engineering Research Laboratory.

Support from TI has funded the Texas Analog Center of Excellence and the Texas Biomedical Device Center, as well as the creation of six endowed faculty chairs, important student fellowships and scholarships, and numerous other research initiatives. TI also supported the construction of the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center, and the building’s main atrium — Texas Instruments Inspiration Hall — bears the company’s name.

“It’s hard to imagine where UT Dallas would be without Texas Instruments’ continued investment,” said Dr. Stephanie G. Adams, dean of the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair. “As a generous benefactor, research partner and top employer of our graduates, TI continues to create new avenues for our University to make an impact in the world.”

Relevance: Giving, Momentum