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UT Tyler Office of Marketing and Communications

Late UT Tyler Benefactor Ralph Spence Honored

January 27, 2014

Media Contact:  Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769 or 903.539.7196 (cell)

Longtime university friend Mary John Spence has given The University of Texas at Tyler a generous gift in honor of her late husband, Ralph Spence, Jerre Iversen, vice president for university advancement, announced.

The gift will name a boardroom in the university’s future alumni center. UT Tyler is currently finalizing plans for the alumni center and raising funds toward the building’s construction.

A dedication of the Ralph Spence Board Room and Gallery will be at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28 in the UT Tyler James H. Stewart Jr. Administration Building.

The Spence Board Room and Gallery will be located on the first floor of the alumni center. Preliminary plans for the center include a two-story building with the boardroom and meeting space on the first floor and office space on the second.

 “The dedicated leadership and enthusiastic financial support of Ralph Spence will serve as an ongoing example to boards, councils and volunteer groups who meet in the room that will proudly bear his name,” Iversen said. “UT Tyler is grateful for the generosity of Mary John Spence for helping us honor her late husband in this way.”

A true champion of philanthropy, Ralph Spence served as the founding development board chair for UT Tyler from 1982 until his death in 1995. Noted contributions to UT Tyler include his leadership on the university’s R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center campaign and the Spence Fountain and Plaza.

The Spence family has given land for future expansion and generously supported students and faculty with the establishment of numerous endowed scholarships and faculty positions. The Spences were named Patriots of the Year – the highest award given by UT Tyler and Ralph served as a member of the State Educational Board of UT Tyler. He also was a charter member of both the UT Tyler Eisenhower Golf Classic Society and President’s Associates.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler features excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 7,500 high-ability students. UT Tyler offers courses at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine as well as a location in Houston.

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