At the time, UT Dallas had yet to admit its first classes of freshmen and sophomores. Primarily a graduate school, any undergraduates who enrolled at UT Dallas were transferring from other colleges.
As the years passed, the Marlowes watched UT Dallas grow in their own backyard and began to feel a connection between the University’s history and their own experiences in higher education.
Attending college was not an immediate possibility for Peggy when she graduated from high school. After 10 years of secretarial work, Peggy began commuting to UT Tyler, where she eventually earned her teaching certification. She would later earn a master’s degree at Texas Woman’s University in preparation for work as an educational diagnostician.
John grew up in Tyler, the youngest of three children raised by a single mother.
“We were not poor, but not far from it,” John said. “My mother worked, and I worked from the time I was 12. I knew college wasn’t an option for me without working.”
John supported himself through two years at Tyler Junior College before transferring to Baylor University. Between his personal income and the school’s financial aid, John was able to finish his degree.
The couple saw their own experiences reflected in the lives of the students Peggy taught in Richland College’s teacher preparation program.
“I saw students who were barely able to afford community college,” Peggy said. “The students I got to know all wanted to be teachers, so I could identify with them. I remember how it felt, when you feel like you are being called to be a teacher and yet you can’t do it.”
John and Peggy knew that these students were giving everything they had to pursue their educations. But they also understood that balancing work and school can have a detrimental effect on student outcomes.
“You can’t do both,” John said. “You can’t have the full college experience and also work. If there’s a way to make that situation more manageable for other people, we would like to be a part of that.”
Peggy and John found a way to help similar students when they began planning for their estate. The couple has made a gift via their will to endow the John and Peggy Marlowe Scholarship. Their gift will support students transferring to UT Dallas from community colleges who aspire to teaching careers.
“Although we are not actually funding the scholarship today, we have made plans to make a difference for students after we are gone,” Peggy said.
Of all the local universities that could have benefited from their generosity, UT Dallas was the natural fit for the couple’s plans.
“We’re a neighbor,” Peggy said. “Watching UT Dallas grow has been like watching one of your kids grow.”
The couple appreciates the opportunities that UT Dallas makes available for local students to better themselves through world-class academic programs. In fall 2018, almost 2,000 transfer students enrolled at the University.
“There are so many exciting things happening at UTD,” John said. “Why wouldn’t you go there if you could?”