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UT Arlington announces new, private gifts aimed at enhancing research

News Release — 1 September 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contact: Kristin Sullivan, (817) 272-2761, kristinsul@uta.edu

ARLINGTON - The University of Texas at Arlington announces today $3.75 million in commitments supporting a broad range of research as the University advances in its mission of becoming one of the state's next nationally recognized research institutions.

The full value of these gifts is estimated to be about $7 million when paired with available matching funds.

The breadth and diversity of the support includes a $1 million commitment from Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. and additional gifts from Texas Instruments Inc., the Texas Health Research & Education Institute and UT Arlington alumnus Mustaque Ahmed, among others.

About $1.1 million is expected to qualify for state matching funds available through the Texas Research Incentive Program. The program was established earlier this year through House Bill 51 and aims to help UT Arlington and six other institutions leverage private gifts for the enhancement of research productivity and faculty recruitment.

"These gifts represent a growing recognition of UT Arlington's academic excellence. This is a long-term effort to increase the private support of the research mission of the University, and we are gratified by this initial response," UT Arlington President James D. Spaniolo said. "It's not about one day. This is a decade-long effort to build a national research institution."  

Carrizo's commitment establishes a new graduate research fellowship program to help attract top scholars from across the country. Carrizo is a Houston-based independent energy company engaged in the exploration, development and production of natural gas and oil, primarily in the Barnett Shale in North Texas and the Marcellus Shale in Appalachia, and is UT Arlington's partner in a campus-based natural gas development operation. Revenue garnered through the partnership is being used to leverage private gifts to the University's endowment.

The Texas Instruments gift enhances biomedical engineering in the College of Engineering. Last year, the corporate leader endowed the Texas Instruments Distinguished University Chair in Nanoelectronics with a $1 million grant. The chair is held by Dr. Robert Magnusson, a renowned nanophotonics expert.

The Texas Health Research & Education Institute is the research and medical education arm of Texas Health Resources. The institute's gift will fund research through the Medical Technologies Consortium, a partnership between UT Arlington, Texas Health Research & Education, Texas Instruments and The University of Texas at Dallas.

Ahmed's gift establishes an endowment to create the Festival of Ideas Global Research Institute in the College of Liberal Arts. The Institute builds on the existing festival, which is in its fourth year. The event seeks to engage a community of top thinkers to address pressing global issues. Ahmed earned his bachelor's degree in economics from UT Arlington in 1981 and founded the festival to engender a love of expression and creativity in others.

Gifts from other donors will support research, faculty positions and graduate students in the fields of science, nursing, engineering, liberal arts and business.

"It's heartening to see alumni, business leaders and private industry making such a significant commitment to the University," said Ralph Hawkins, president and chief executive officer of international architecture firm HKS Inc. and chairman of UT Arlington's Development Board.

"These new commitments will fuel technologies and create knowledge that will shape our future economy," said Hawkins, who earned his undergraduate degree in architecture from UT Arlington.

UT Arlington is unique among Texas universities in its ability to leverage such private gifts with natural gas revenues. Through a program called the Maverick Match, gifts for endowments of $25,000 or more paid out over no more than five years are matched dollar for dollar with gas revenues. Maverick Match will add about $2.4 million to the recent gifts.

Gifts of $100,000 or more can be multiplied with Maverick Match and state funds to further bolster the University's research activities. To date, 21 new UT Arlington endowments have been created through the Maverick Match. Learn more about Maverick Match here.

"Philanthropy is a relatively new dimension of the UT Arlington culture," said Jim Lewis, UT Arlington vice president for development. "We are dedicated to enhancing the relationship between our University and our many communities. We look forward to the continued strengthening of our partnerships with corporate leaders, alumni and friends."

More funds to enhance UT Arlington research can be made available Nov. 3 with voter support. Proposition 4 on the fall statewide ballot would reallocate some existing higher education funds to a National Research University Fund, from which emerging research institutions including UT Arlington could qualify for additional support.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.