Gandy family endows new scholarship to aid first-generation UT Arlington students
26 September 2012
A new, $1 million endowment established through a Fort Worth couple’s gift will provide scholarships to sophomores who excel academically and who are the first in their families to attend college.
The Shirlee J. and Taylor Gandy First Generation Scholarship Program will benefit UT Arlington sophomores on the basis of merit and financial need. The endowment is being established through a $500,000 commitment from the Gandys that will double in value through the Maverick Match program, which leverages the University’s natural gas royalties to encourage new philanthropic commitments.
Shirlee Gandy, president of RPM Commercial in Fort Worth, earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from UT Arlington in 1970 and serves in a leadership role on the University’s Development Board.
She has specialized in historic preservation of commercial property, including the Ashton Hotel, the historic Santa Fe Depot and the Santa Fe Freight Building – now home of the UT Arlington Fort Worth Center.
Taylor Gandy has been an owner and investor in commercial real estate in Fort Worth as a partner in Baron Investments and Ron Investments for the past 20 years. He practiced law in Fort Worth for 30 years prior to that. He has been active at Texas Wesleyan University and former chairman of Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. The couple recently led the campaign to establish the JFK Tribute in downtown Fort Worth.
Shirlee Gandy said she and her husband were moved to create the new scholarship because of their strong belief in UT Arlington’s academic mission.
“I was the first in my family to graduate college, and at the time I did not realize the tremendous impact it would forever have on my life,” Shirlee Gandy said. “In my opinion, education changes lives, builds confidence and develops individuals with strong critical thinking skills. We wanted to make this financial commitment to help first generation students achieve their goals.”
More than half of UT Arlington students say they are the first in their family to attend college, and about two-thirds of undergraduates receive financial aid to help pay for their college education.
In recent years, the University has increased academic advising, tutoring and counseling services to serve such students, establishing University College as a one-stop resource center to help students achieve their college education.
UT Arlington President James D. Spaniolo said the Gandys have been among the strongest supporters of the University’s mission toward academic and research excellence.
“Shirlee and Taylor are committed to making sure our students are prepared for success,” said Spaniolo. “They are creating a legacy that will extend opportunity to generations to come and reward students who work hard and push for academic excellence.”
The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution in the heart of North Texas with more than 33,200 students. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.
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