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Investing in Education to Make a Lasting Impact

Strategic gifts from generous donors advance UT Arlington to new levels of excellence by providing better educational opportunities for students, enhancing research and teaching initiatives for faculty, and creating facilities that transform the campus.

GIVING WITH SPIRIT

College Park Center, the 7,000-seat events venue that opens on campus this spring, received a big boost last year when the families of two distinguished business leaders committed $1.75 million to support the facility.

Alan Petsche '80 and his wife, Bonnie Smith Petsche '86, have committed $1 million to College Park Center, and the University has named the basketball court Petsche Court in their honor. Graduates of the College of Business, the Petsches met at UT Arlington and cherish the friendships they formed during their college years.

"Everything I've done in life somehow relates back to UT Arlington," says Alan, who serves on the University's Development Board. "I love the idea of the entire College Park District and that this new center is at my alma mater. This moves the University up to the next level."

Petsche credits his UT Arlington education for helping shape his entrepreneurial spirit and preparing him to direct operations for the A.E. Petsche Co., an aerospace distribution firm that his father founded in Arlington in 1966. The family sold the company to Arrow Electronics in 2009.

Joining the Petsches is the Moritz family, namesakes of Moritz Dealerships, who have committed $750,000 to establish Moritz Plaza at the northwest corner of South Pecan and East Second streets. The plaza serves as the main entrance to College Park Center and connects the venue to the College Park mixed-use retail and residential development spanning three blocks to the north.

John David Moritz, president of Moritz Dealerships, says his family was motivated to support the University as he has watched the emerging College Park District help transform central Arlington and the downtown area.

Mike and Janet Greene

LEAVING A LEGACY

Mike Greene always dreamed of becoming an engineer. So after graduating from Saginaw's Boswell High School, he enrolled in UT Arlington's fledgling engineering program.

"It turned out to be a great experience," he says.

Now, Greene and his wife, Janet, are doing their part to help the next generation of engineers by donating $500,000 to create a College of Engineering endowment. That sum will increase to $1 million thanks to the Maverick Match program, which leverages the University's natural gas royalties with new endowment commitments for maximum impact.

Greene, who earned his mechanical engineering degree in 1969, eventually became vice chairman of Energy Future Holdings, formerly TXU. He held various leadership positions with the company, including CEO of Luminant and president of Oncor.

"I was fortunate to attend a great engineering school and get an education that helped me throughout my career," says Greene, who retired in June 2010 and currently serves on UT Arlington's Development Board. "Now, Janet and I want to give back to the University that helped me."

To honor the Greenes' contribution, UT Arlington has named the new vista bordered by the Engineering Research Building, Civil Engineering Lab Building, and Nedderman Hall the Janet and Mike Greene Research Quadrangle.

PREPARING FUTURE BUSINESS LEADERS

Investing in tomorrow's leaders can yield immediate payback.

That's a benefit Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway realized through its support of UT Arlington's Goolsby Leadership Academy, a rigorous two-year program for about 60 junior and senior business majors. Academy scholars enhance their business education by taking specialized courses and participating in activities that enhance leadership skills.

BNSF Railway has been a longtime supporter of the academy and regularly recruits its students for internships and entry-level positions. The company's most recent gift to the academy will create an early development program to include freshmen and sophomores. With matches from the Maverick Match program and the College of Business, the $300,000 gift eventually will become a $900,000 endowment.

"Supporting an institution dedicated to preparing future business leaders in North Texas is a natural for BNSF Railway," BNSF Foundation President John Ambler says. "We have a number of Goolsby Leadership Academy alumni working at BNSF who demonstrate refined leadership skills and admirable character. We can say firsthand that the Goolsby Leadership Academy is an outstanding institution that we are proud to support."

John Ambler
molded plastic lenses

SHINING A LIGHT ON DISCOVERY

A new distinguished professorship will help UT Arlington recruit a world-class faculty member to lead cutting-edge optics research in the College of Science.

A $500,000 endowment established through a gift from Nelson Claytor will fund the professorship, which honors Richard Claytor, Nelson's father, for his role in shaping Fresnel Technologies. Richard Claytor founded Fresnel Technologies, a leading manufacturer of molded plastic lenses and related optical components based in Fort Worth.

"Our hope is that this commitment leads to more and more visible support for optics in this region," says Nelson Claytor, Fresnel Technologies president and a longtime member of the College of Science Advisory Council.

Nelson Claytor and Fresnel Technologies committed $250,000 to create the distinguished professorship in the Physics Department. The sum will double through the Maverick Match program, which leverages UT Arlington's natural gas royalties to bolster the University's endowment.

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