Gift of Gab

Donation establishes Center for Critical Languages and Area Studies

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A new $1.16 million endowment will help future students at UT Arlington develop a better understanding of global languages and cultures.

Betty Ruch donated $580,000 on behalf of herself and her late husband, Roger, to establish the Charles T. McDowell Center for Critical Languages and Area Studies. The contribution will double through the Maverick Match, a program that matches major gifts using the University’s natural gas royalties.

Dr. McDowell, who died in 2007, was a distinguished UT Arlington professor who established the Center for Post-Soviet and East European Studies at the University in 1968. The Ruch endowment gives the new center within the College of Liberal Arts a global focus, including Russia, the Baltic States, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Eastern and Central Europe, and the Balkans.

In addition to the study of critical languages and the history of cultures in these geographic areas, the center will sponsor lectures by experts and provide annual scholarships for exchange students. Political science Professor Mark Cichock is the interim director.

The contributions of the McDowell center will be immense in terms of our commitment to global understanding,” President James D. Spaniolo says. “Endowments like this play a major role in the University’s work to become a nationally recognized research institution.”

The Ruches were the host family to 28 exchange students. They met McDowell in 1970 during their 17-year quest to host a student from the Soviet Union. The couple admired McDowell’s work and shared his desire to provide students from other nations a broad-based education and exposure to American life.

The center is a fitting way to honor a man who devoted his career to giving exemplary service to his university, his country, and communication between the peoples of the world,” College of Liberal Arts Dean Beth Wright says.

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