A lot has changed since Paul Geisel helped start what was then the Institute of Urban Studies in 1970.
“When I arrived on campus, we had four students,” he recalled. “Dr. [Del] Taebel and I got together and rounded up enough so that we could start our classes with 15.”
Since that time, the institute has grown to become the School of Urban and Public Affairs, offering two doctoral degrees, three master’s degrees, seven certificate programs, several dual-degree programs and three undergraduate minors.
“From those humble beginnings, we grew to become one of the largest and most respected schools in the nation,” Dr. Geisel said.
Geisel was always close to his students, many of whom were older because degree offerings are all at the graduate level. “We stay in touch. It is quite an honor that I have had three kids named after me.”
Because of this closeness, Geisel established a charitable remainder trust with UTA as the beneficiary. The trust pays income to him and any other individual he names. At termination, all assets of the trust pass to UTA.
There are two types of charitable remainder trusts. Geisel chose the unitrust plan, which allows him to receive payments each year by multiplying the fair market value of the trust assets, as revalued each year, by a fixed percentage.
Geisel retired from UTA last spring after 35 years on the faculty. In the fall, he was named professor emeritus, the first SUPA professor so honored.
Though officially retired, he served as an adjunct professor last fall and plans to teach during the summer sessions. And he has plenty of other things on his plate. He serves on seven boards and is chair of the Executive Committee for the Fort Worth Transportation Authority.
A former district governor for Rotary International, he has been honored as a leader in minority relations by the Fort Worth Economic Development Corp. His other honors include the Sally Kallam Award for volunteer work from Leadership Arlington and the Fort Worth Fellow Award from Leadership Fort Worth.
But for Geisel, it all comes back to education. “I would encourage everyone to give what they can to higher education,” he said. “Educating our youth is quite rewarding. So, wherever you were, just think back to your college days. Was it worth it? We just need to have faith in the future.”