Molly Seeligson Named New Director of UT Dallas’ Eugene McDermott Scholars Program

Dr. Charles Leonard Is Leaving University for Post in Illinois

June 12, 2007

Molly Seeligson, who has an extensive and distinguished career in education, has been named the new director of the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program at The University of Texas at Dallas. 

Seeligson will replace Dr. Charles Leonard, who is leaving UT Dallas for a post at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.  Leonard helped to found the innovative scholarship offering and has lead the program since its inception. 

The McDermott Scholars Program, established at UT Dallas in 2000, provides full scholarships and unique cultural and civic opportunities to academically talented high school students.  As scholars, students have all of their educational expenses — including travel, housing and books — covered for four years and participate in a wide variety of artistic and educational experiences.

Seeligson most recently served as headmaster at The Fulton School in Heath, Texas.  Her son, Michael, was a member of the 2002 entering class of McDermott Scholars.  He graduated summa cum laude in mathematics in 2006 and now studies law at the University of Virginia.  

Leonard said that while he was sad to leave, he was confident that Seeligson was amply prepared to motivate and support the breadth of the program.

“I’m tremendously proud of all the McDermott Scholars and my colleagues,” Leonard said.  “In seven short years, we’ve gone from just a dream to an established program whose graduates routinely get into the nation’s best law schools, medical schools and Ph. D. programs.  Though it’s a bit wrenching to leave such a great job and a terrific group of students, I’m comfortable putting it in Molly’s hands.  As an educator and a ‘McDermott parent,’ she’s in a solid position to lead the program forward.”

Seeligson is certified in five areas of teaching in secondary education and is listed in Who’s Who in American Education for 2006, as well as 24 other dictionaries, including Who’s Who in American Women and International Who’s Who of Professional and Business Women. 

“As a parent, I have witnessed the impact the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program has on a student’s college and post-graduate career.  As an educator, I have seen the many opportunities provided to the scholars by the program,” Seeligson said.  “I am honored and delighted to serve as director of this extraordinary program and to be a part of this outstanding university.”

Prior to Fulton, Seeligson was administrator and head of school at The Clear Spring School in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where she remains a board member.  She also is a board member of the KPM Institute in Austin and is a certified corporate and professional coach.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in math from Southern Methodist University.

The McDermott Scholars Program was made possible by a $32 million gift from Mrs. Margaret McDermott, wife of the late Eugene McDermott, one of the co-founders of Texas Instruments.  McDermott and two of his TI co-founders, Cecil Green and Erik Jonsson, both of whom also are deceased, founded the research institution that in 1969 became UT Dallas. 

About UT Dallas

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 14,500 students.  The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores.  The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs.  For additional information about UT Dallas, please visit the university’s Web site at

Contact Steve McGregor, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2293, [email protected]

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Courtesy of Molly Seeligson

Molly Seeligson will be replacing Dr. Charles Leonard as director of UT Dallas' Eugene McDermott Scholars Program.

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April 19, 2018