Sealy and Debbie Massingill
When Sealy and Debbie Massingill contribute to the UT System each year, they're doing much more than providing financial support. They're sharing a family legacy.
When Debbie Massingill's parents passed away recently, Debbie and her husband Sealy inherited a serious responsibility: choosing how to allocate family estate funds earmarked for charitable giving each year.But while the responsibility may have been weighty, the decision was not difficult.
"Once we started to look at what we both appreciate and find important, it was easy for us to agree on education," says Sealy (B.A. in Plan II, 1980; M.D., 1985), associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and president of the Tarrant County Medical Society.
"My parents are from an area where it's not always that common for kids to continue on to college after they graduate," observes Debbie. "And while it was assumed that I would, and my children would, it occurred to me that a lot of people wouldn't necessarily have that opportunity, and that we could help with that."
Having made the decision to use the money at their disposal to support education, the Massingills found that choosing the UT System as the recipient of their support was also an easy decision.
"Although we do give specifically to my alma mater, The University of Texas at Austin, and my medical alma mater, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, we also recognize that there are things that the larger system can do for students that individual schools can't necessarily do," explains Sealy.
"We need a strong system that has the resources to provide education to as many people as possible."
Both Sealy and Debbie appreciate the diversity of educational opportunity in the UT System, where institutions range from one of the ten largest universities in the country, The University of Texas at Austin, to smaller campuses in other cities across the state.
"I went to Texas Wesleyan University," says Debbie, "because for me, UT was a little too large."
"That has become less so today, with so many different institutions within the system. Kids can find the right fit for them, whether they thrive in large lecture halls or smaller classes," says Sealy. He points to the addition of smaller campuses over the years, most recently The University of Texas at Brownsville, which became part of the UT System in 1991 and The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, which became a traditional four-year university in 1991.
"Texas is stronger when we have viable higher education systems, and I want to see the UT System continue to be the leader in that," concludes Sealy. "I deeply appreciate Debbie's generosity in directing some of the legacy of her family to supporting this important cause."