When Nicole Tucker was a young child, her mother contracted a lethal form of leukemia; she died before she could plan for the future of her two young children. Her mother’s death made a lasting impression on Nicole. Now a 37-year-old graduate of UT Dallas, Nicole chose to honor her mother by establishing a campaign gift in her mother’s name. Nicole hopes that her legacy gift will provide peace of mind for other young students.
Donors like Nicole have helped UT Dallas raise more than $125 million toward a $200 million goal. As a result, UT Dallas has successfully reached the three-year mark of a five year campaign, described in Realize the Vision: The Campaign for Tier One & Beyond. The campaign, which ends in 2014, is a key part of UT Dallas’ quest to become a nationally competitive research institution.
Before the campaign’s quiet start in 2009, only a few new endowed funds were added per year; more than 100 have been established since the Realize the Vision campaign began. Approximately 30 donors have also established Opportunity Funds, which are permanent unrestricted endowments for any school or unit.
One new fund, established at the start of the fall 2012 semester, celebrates Dr. Dean Sherry’s 40 years as a faculty member at UT Dallas. The Dean and Cindy Sherry Opportunity Fund supports the Chemistry Department. “The changes I’ve seen at UT Dallas over the course of four decades have been remarkable,” said Sherry, who holds the Cecil H. and Ida Green Distinguished Chair in Systems Biology Science.
Another new fund is one alumnus’ way of thanking the University. Qingming Yang, PhD ’93, established an Opportunity Fund for the Geosciences Department to show his gratitude to UT Dallas for providing him with support as a student. Yang is now the executive vice president of business development and geosciences at Approach Resources Inc. He hopes that others will be inspired by his gift.
In the last fiscal year, the University also received more planned gifts, such as estate commitments and charitable gift annuities. Dr. Larry Sall, retired dean of the Eugene McDermott Library, established the first charitable gift annuity (CGA) in the University’s
history. “A CGA is a life-income tool, meaning the donor gets an annual fixed payment that’s guaranteed for the rest of his life,” explained Anna LeBlanc, director of gift planning at UT Dallas. The payment a donor receives is based on his age and a percentage of the gift. The current rates for a CGA are far higher than other no-risk investments, such as certificates of deposit (CDs) or savings accounts, said LeBlanc.For Sall, the decision to create a CGA was simple. “I’m glad to be able to make a gift that will support the McDermott Library while also receiving guaranteed income for life.”
As the campaign momentum continues, University advocates look forward to what the future will bring. “The past decade has brought remarkable growth to UT Dallas,” said James Huffines, co-chair of the University Campaign Council and President of PlainsCapital Corp. “The success of this campaign will only help accelerate the impact this University will have on our community and on Texas.”
For more information on Opportunity Funds or on other ways to support the University, visit www.utdallas.edu/development. For other questions, please contact the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at 972-883-2295.