McDermott Scholars Alumni Make Gift, Repay Generosity
Apr. 17, 2013
McDermott Scholar alumni gathered to celebrate the reflecting pool that now bears their organization's name.
As students, the McDermott Scholars are recognized as some of the best and brightest young minds in the nation. As alumni, they’ve recently added “philanthropist” to their list of accomplishments.
The Eugene McDermott Scholars Alumni Association made a $100,000 campaign commitment to honor their education at UT Dallas and the beloved donor who made it possible. The association’s contribution to the Campus Enhancement Fund will provide for the support of new trees, water features and gathering areas.
The McDermott Scholars Program brings some of the nation’s top students to UT Dallas as a result of Mrs. Eugene McDermott’s generous support of her husband’s dream, which began with founding the University.
Approximately 20 McDermott Scholars are selected each year from the top few percent of the nation’s high school seniors on the basis of their academic, extracurricular and leadership achievements.
“A very basic question behind all of this is, ‘Why are we doing this?’ ” said Andres Correa BA’05, president of the association. “As McDermott alumni, there are obvious reasons—chiefly our gratitude to a program and a university that paid for our education and that supported our projects and endeavors for four years. And of course, to Mrs. McDermott, who has made so much possible for us and for this University.”
To thank the alumni group, one of the five reflecting pools at the center of campus now bears the association’s name. The signage was unveiled at a special ceremony this spring for the alumni as well as candidates for the incoming class of McDermott Scholars who were on campus for final interviews. The pools stretch from the Naveen Jindal School of Management, past the Student Union, to the Eugene McDermott Library. The alumni chose to name the pool closest to the library as a symbolic show of gratitude to the McDermott family.
“This collective effort by one group of alumni is both remarkable and inspiring,” said Dr. Aaron Conley, vice president for development and alumni relations. “This was done entirely on their initiative and has become one of the most heartfelt stories of our Realize the Vision campaign.”
The naming of the reflecting pool is just one part of the association’s pledge to give back. Its $100,000 commitment also will fund a special grants program that will benefit promising research or travel projects for current students. For their generosity, the alumni of the McDermott Scholars were honored with the Green and Orange Award for Alumni Service last year.
“Thank you, UT Dallas, for your leadership, professors, programs—for all the moments that now motivate us to give back and, more importantly, to work together,” said Correa.
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