Fort Worth philanthropist W.A. "Tex" Moncrief has given $18 million to create the W. A. "Tex" Moncrief Jr. Endowment in Simulation-Based Engineering Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, the university announced today (Feb. 3).
The gift will be combined with an $18 million gift from an anonymous donor to create the endowment.
"This is an extraordinary gift," said William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin. "It will allow this university to become the leader in researching what we call the scientific 'grand challenges' facing the nation and the world today. These will involve using computational engineering and science to study such monumental challenges as cardiovascular engineering, water sustainability and weather."
Other important areas of study include the next generation of energy sources, carbon sequestration, drug design and delivery, healthcare system modeling, nano-science and engineering, rising seas modeling, national security, and computational medicine and biomedicine.
The endowment will allow the university's Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) to support eight new Faculty Fellows, nine Grand Challenge Faculty Fellows and eight undergraduate interns.
ICES is one of the nation's leading interdisciplinary research centers in the computational sciences and engineering and in information technology. The institute supports nine research centers and numerous research groups. It also supports the Computational and Applied Mathematics Program (CAM), a graduate degree program leading to master's and doctor's degrees in computational and applied mathematics, the ICES Post Doctoral Fellows Program and a program for visiting scholars through the J. Tinsley Oden Faculty Fellowship Research Fund.
"This generous and timely gift is enormously important to the university and to the nation," Oden said. "We hope to recruit the best faculty and students to advance areas of computational engineering and sciences vital to our nation's competitiveness. The new programs made possible by this gift will ensure the success of our university as the leader in the nation in these important disciplines."
Moncrief is a 1942 graduate of The University of Texas and President of Moncrief Oil Interests in Fort Worth. His father was legendary Texas wildcatter, W. A. "Monty" Moncrief, who discovered Lathrop #1, one of the first major East Texas oil wells.
Moncrief's interest in The University of Texas at Austin dates back to the late 1930s, when he was on the university's golf team. He was graduated in 1942 with a degree in petroleum engineering and went to work as an engineer for Standolind Oil and Gas Co., the forerunner of Amoco.
In 1943, Moncrief left the company to serve in the U.S. Navy, where he was commissioned as an officer in the South Pacific. After the war, he joined his father's oil business, which had interests in Texas, Wyoming and Florida.
Moncrief has been president of Montex Drilling since 1946 and is now president and owner of Moncrief Oil. His accomplishments as an engineering alumnus were recognized in 1983 when he was honored as a Distinguished Engineering Graduate.
Moncrief's interest in higher education led to his appointment to a six-year term on The University of Texas System Board of Regents by Texas Governor Bill Clements in 1987.