Message from the President
UT Tyler University Advancement
Philanthropy has played a huge role in the 41-year-history of the University of Texas at Tyler (UT Tyler). Most of the landmark buildings and plazas on our campus were made possible by generous benefactors who believed in this University.
While landmarks like these create the physical presence of a university, what breathes life into a campus are the wonderful students. They are the heart of a university. Indeed, I am pleased to report that donors to UT Tyler over the decades have created more than 200 endowed scholarships with a current market value of $27 million. Nearly half of our students receive at least partial assistance from these scholarships. Especially here in East Texas, where it is sobering to realize that the average yearly household income is $43,000, many of our students could not possibly stay in school without the support of our donors.
During the past five years alone, more than 3,600 donors, making gifts ranging from $10 to nearly $5 million, supported our successful $30-million Inspiring Excellence Campaign. This effort, which may have been the largest campaign in Tyler to date, raised more than $13 million in new scholarship funds for our students, almost $4 million in faculty support and over $5 million for new capital projects.
Most recently, The Brookshire Grocery Company then made a significant gift to help expand the new home for the Ben and Maytee Fisch College of Pharmacy.
Just in the past year since the end of the $30-million campaign, more donors have come forward to give another $11 million, especially to help us launch and fund our new Ben and Maytee Fisch College of Pharmacy that will open two years from now, but also for other capital and endowment projects such as the Alumni House.
Some people may wonder why philanthropy has any importance at a state institution. They assume that public universities like UT Tyler are largely or even wholly funded through State allocations. It may have been true at one time. Over the past decade, however, the percentage of State support has dropped precipitously. Today, only 43 percent of our nearly $100-million annual budget comes from State funds.
While donors can never bridge the gap between what the State provides and what it costs to operate a public university, what makes philanthropy so vital is that it generates funds for projects and programs we could otherwise not afford to include in our annual budget.
It can make the difference whether or not a student is able to attend UT Tyler; whether or not we can afford to add new facilities; and whether or not there is enough money to continue important academic or student activity programs.
My heartfelt appreciation goes to all of you who are already philanthropic partners with UT Tyler. If you are thinking about becoming our partner, I gladly welcome you to the growing ranks of our benefactors who help make UT Tyler a special place.
Dr. Michael V. Tidwell, President