UTA receives $800K to drive social change

Alumna donates in support of UTA’s Center for Mexican American Studies, Center for African American Studies

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020 • Devynn Case :

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The University of Texas at Arlington has received $800,000 to empower two of its programs that drive social change.

Alumna Pat Brandenburg’s (’49 A.S., Business Administration) gift will support UTA’s Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) and Center for African American Studies (CAAS), bringing her cumulative giving for the programs to more than $1 million.

Of the new funds, $500,000 will establish an endowment for CAAS. The remaining funds will be added to Brandenburg’s existing endowment for CMAS, bringing its total to $500,000.

"My passion at UTA has always been the Center for Mexican American Studies, which has made such a difference in my life,” Brandenburg said. “I’m excited to now support the Center for African American Studies and all its remarkable work. I strongly believe in the missions of both programs, and I’m proud to support their students."

Though Brandenburg has supported CMAS for several years, she was inspired by recent social justice movements related to racial inequity to expand her philanthropy to include CAAS. This spring, Brandenburg contacted the University and asked what she could do to further those causes at her alma mater.

“Her donation is both a powerful testimony and an inspiration for people who believe in inclusion, equality and human dignity for all people,” said Christian Zlolniski, associate professor of anthropology and director of CMAS.

The gifts for both centers will provide student scholarships and may also go toward student research, guest speakers and student conference travel.

Brandenburg’s endowment for CAAS is the first established for the center. Jason Shelton, associate professor of sociology and the director of CAAS, explained the impact of this transformational gift.

“Her generous support will aid our students in various ways for many years to come,” Shelton said. “She will not only help young people advance their education through scholarships, but help CAAS prepare them for life after college as they aim to make their dreams become a reality.”

Brandenburg established her endowment for CMAS in 2013 and has added additional funds over the years. Her scholarships have helped dozens of students accomplish their educational goals.

“The Center for Mexican American Studies is deeply moved and thankful to Pat Brandenburg for her additional gift to our endowment,” Zlolniski said. “I have witnessed firsthand the difference she makes in students’ lives.”

Written by Jenny Gumbert