UT Dallas Nets $15.2 Million in Tier One Match Funds

University Earns Share of State Money to Develop Elite Research Institutions

Feb. 19, 2010

UT Dallas’ fund-raising push to achieve Tier One status has netted $15.2 million in matching funds, the University’s share of money that lawmakers have set aside for the Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP).

The University qualified for the funds after raising $16.9 million in private gifts in a competition with six other emerging research institutions aspiring to elite status.  The total was second only to the $24 million raised by Texas Tech University.

Under the Tier One law signed last summer, the TRIP fund provides matching dollars for donations specifically given for research purposes, including endowed chairs, professorships, graduate student fellowships or facilities. 

The greatest portion of the  $16.9 million in support for UT Dallas – almost $13 million – was in gifts of $100,000 and above from about a dozen donors. The remaining funds were raised through smaller gifts from a larger group of participants.

School of Management donor David L. Holmberg (right) confers with Dr. Aaron Conley, the University's vice president of development and alumni relations. Holmberg was a 2009 recipient of the UT Dallas Distinguished Alumni Award.

David L. Holmberg was one of 13 donors who collectively gave $116,500 so it could be matched with $58,250 for a professorship in the School of Management. “I was very fortunate to go through the MBA program in 2000, which was at the height of the dot-com phase and there was extraordinary change going on,” said Holmberg, CEO and chairman of the board of Eye Care Centers of America in San Antonio. “One of the reasons I went back to school was so that I would be prepared to deal with those changes. When I was asked to help with this, I wanted to do what I could to make sure people have the skill sets they need to succeed in the business world.”

Hoping to affect the world around him, Edward Ackerman gave $200,000 toward “teaching history that is being forgotten,” in the UT Dallas Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies. “There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this period in our history. To me, it reminds Americans what a great country we live in.” His gift netted $100,000 in TRIP matching funds.

Gifts from nearly 60 donors to the Center for BrainHealth were bundled into a $4 million chunk that was matched dollar-for-dollar.

“With these added research dollars, BrainHealth scientists will be able to make advances in some of the most urgent brain concerns facing our nation,” said Dr. Sandra Chapman, the center’s founder and chief director.

The complete list of donors to UT Dallas is as follows.

UT Dallas donors at the $1 million level or higher:

Contributors of other gifts included in the total are:

  • Charles and Nancy Davidson, UT Dallas alumni from Houston, $250,000 to support the Davidson Professorships in the SOM.
  • UT Dallas Behavioral and Brain Sciences Professor Aage Moller and his wife, Margareta, $100,000 for  a professorship in Behavioral and Brain Sciences. This is his second such gift to support a professorship and part of a long record of giving to the University.
  • Communities Foundation of Texas, two gifts, $100,000 for a graduate fellowship in the Jonsson School and $116,500 for a professorship in the SOM.
  • The Dallas Foundation, $100,000, to support research in the School of Economic, Policy and Political Sciences.
  • The Philip Jonsson Foundation, $100,000 in support of the Jonsson Family Graduate Fellowship in Bioengineering in the Jonsson School.
  • Lockheed Martin, $120,000, for research support in the Jonsson School.
  • Southwestern Medical Foundation, $257,500 in research support to the Callier Center for Communication Disorders in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
  • Russell Cleveland, $100,000 for a professorship in guitar studies in the School of Arts and Humanities.

Media Contact: Sara Mancuso, UT Dallas, (972) 883-6507, [email protected],
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected]
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From left: Brent Christopher, president and CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas; Dr. Sandra Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth; and UT Dallas President David E. Daniel.


Race for Funds Started in June

When the Tier One bill was signed in June, it was as if a starting bell rang for UT Dallas fundraisers. They hit the pavement, Blackberrys and proposals in hand. The race was on to claim a share of the Texas Research Incentive Program, or TRIP, a $50 million fund created by the Texas Legislature for seven emerging research universities.  The funds would become available Sept. 1 to institutions with qualifying donations.

TRIP promised to reward institutions that could make a show of significant private support: Donations of $2 million or more got a dollar-for-dollar match from the state; gifts of $1 million to $1.9 million received a 75 percent match; gifts of $100,000 to $999,999, a 50 percent match.  The greater the private support, the greater the public backing received by the eligible schools, a group including the University of Houston, the University of North Texas, UT  Arlington, UT El Paso, UT San Antonio and Texas Tech.

“It was a marathon. We hit the ground running and did not stop until September 1st,” said Sarah Monning, community relations director for the UT Dallas Center for BrainHealth. “It was thrilling, exhilarating and exhausting. We rallied everyone, including board members, community leaders and past donors. There was not a person or foundation that had given previously to BrainHealth that we did not seek time with.”

The largest portion of UT Dallas’ $16.9 million – almost $13 million – was raised through gifts of $100,000 and above from about a dozen donors. The remaining $4 million was raised through smaller gifts from a larger group of donors. Under guidelines set by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating  Board, smaller gifts could be combined to reach the minimum matching level of $100,000. Since these gifts were required to pass through an organization not affiliated with the universities, UT Dallas partnered with Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT).

“This partnership was pivotal,” said Dr. Aaron Conley, vice president for development and alumni relations at UT Dallas. “We had just a short amount of time until September 1, so we had to work quickly. CFT really stepped up and handled all the behind-the-scenes work of receiving and bundling these smaller gifts so they would qualify for matching funds.”

The payoff was big for the Center for BrainHealth. Gifts from nearly 60 donors created a $4 million total that was matched dollar-for-dollar.

“The TRIP funding provides an unprecedented opportunity,” said Dr. Sandra Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth. “With these added research dollars, BrainHealth scientists will be able to make advances in some of the most urgent brain concerns facing our nation, such as repairing brain injuries in our soldiers, athletes, and children; advancing a BrainHealth span to match today’s longer lifespan; and, elevating critical thinking skills in teenagers.”

For UT Dallas, the TRIP experience was an awakening, said Conley. “This achievement—raising nearly $17 million from about 100 donors in a matter of weeks—is unprecedented at UT Dallas,” he said. “It shows how much people believe in President Daniel’s vision for UT Dallas and the vital role we can play in North Texas.”

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October 21, 2018