Leaving a legacy
Scholarships endowed for Gardner, Darovich
Alumna Sharon Smith credits Kent Gardner with challenging her way of thinking, pushing her to excel and encouraging self-evaluation.
“His leadership helped shape who I became as an adult,” said the former two-term Student Congress president, who graduated in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. “I feel that I can accomplish anything I put my heart and mind to, in large part because of what Dr. Gardner and others at UT Arlington taught me.”
To show her appreciation, Smith, assistant director of advancement at Fort Worth Country Day School, contributed to the Kent L. Gardner Leadership Scholarship endowment. Established last year, the scholarship benefits a UT Arlington junior or senior who has demonstrated leadership within the Student Affairs Division.
Gardner came to the University in 1967 as assistant to the dean of students. He held several administrative positions before becoming vice president for student affairs in 2001. He has helped hundreds of students hone their leadership skills during his nearly 40 years here.
“The most rewarding aspect of working with student leaders is watching them grow and become independent,” said Gardner, who teaches in the College of Education after retiring as vice president last year.
While Gardner was developing student leaders, Donna Darovich was shaping UT Arlington’s image. As public affairs director for 23 years, she championed the University’s academic activities, its community service and the achievements of students, faculty, staff and alumni.
“Donna was skilled at consistently promoting UT Arlington’s strengths,” said President Emeritus Wendell Nedderman. “She essentially devoted the majority of her adult life to enhancing the image of the University.”
Upon her retirement last year, UT Arlington established the Donna Darovich Endowed Scholarship in Journalism for outstanding journalism students. A member of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s first Pulitzer Prize-winning news staff, Darovich has won more than 100 state and national writing awards and twice was named the state’s Most Outstanding Woman Journalist by Texas Press Women.
“UTA made such a difference in my life during my years as an undergraduate, Shorthorn editor and public affairs director,” Darovich (’71 BA) said. “So it is very gratifying to know that there is a scholarship that ties my name to the university I love and will help make a difference in the lives of future students.”
For giving opportunities, call 817-272-2584 or visit www.uta.edu/giving.
— Mark Permenter