With scholarships, alumnus says thanks to UTA

Alumnus gives back to University that played significant role in his life

Monday, Oct 30, 2023 • Cristal Gonzalez : contact

A University of Texas at Arlington alumnus has created scholarships to benefit UT Arlington students.

Collage of Lida Wilson photos

Rodney Wilson (’74 MS, ’66 BS, Mechanical Engineering) has established two endowments with his daughters, Susan Faust and Jennifer Amaral: The Rodney Wilson Endowed Scholarship and The Lida Wilson Endowed Scholarship in the College of Education, in honor of his late wife.


The Rodney Wilson Endowed Scholarship will support UT Arlington students in good academic standing with financial need. The Lida Wilson Endowed Scholarship in the College of Education will support students studying education, with preference given to students who are the first in their families to attend college, nontraditional students or transfer students.

The scholarships, which total $125,000, are a testament to the Wilson family’s commitment to UT Arlington and desire to leave a legacy with a university that has played a significant role in their lives.

“Scholarships are central to enabling our students to pursue academic excellence,” said UTA President Jennifer Cowley. “We are grateful for the leadership demonstrated by alumni and donors like the Wilson family through their investments in our students’ futures.”

Rodney and Lida were students at UT Arlington, then called Arlington State College, during the 1960s, where they studied engineering and education, respectively. The University was an important part of their history, Rodney said. Back then, if you didn’t catch them at a UT Arlington sporting event, they could likely be found working as student employees at the campus library. Indicative of their future technical and education careers, Rodney set up projectors and various audio/visual equipment at the library, and Lida helped students check out books.

Lida fell in love with teaching, Rodney said, and especially enjoyed her longtime career teaching third grade at Alvarado North Elementary School.

“We believe sponsoring education majors to be a very meaningful way to contribute to the community, as she did in her time,” Rodney said. “The contributions, in my mind, go past her lifetime.”

When the Wilsons had discussed their legacies, Lida mentioned scholarships at the institutions that had impacted her.

“We hope they offer students a challenge and reward that calls them to consider giving back as well.”

- Written by Alyssa Foy, Development and Alumni Relations