Tom and Jeanie Carter of Houston have pledged $1.5 million to benefit the School of Undergraduate Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. The bequest will ultimately create the Thomas L. and Eugenia G. Carter Chair in Undergraduate Studies, which will be held by the school's dean.
"Thanks to the Carters," says current Dean Paul Woodruff, "the School of Undergraduate Studies will have a permanent endowment for the dean, which will promote excellence across the board in teaching, advising and counseling students. The Carters have done a wonderful thing."
Tom and Jeanie Carter, both University of Texas at Austin graduates, got married while at the university as students in the 1970s. Tom, the chairman and chief executive officer of Black Stone Minerals Company, has BBA and MBA degrees in finance; Jeanie has a bachelor's degree in government.
"We graduated from the university, and we wanted to give back in a way that best supports the people who make UT the great place it is," says Tom Carter, who serves on the University Development Board. "It was also important to us to invest in an area of great priority for President Powers. We believe, and know the president agrees with us on this, that the ability to retain top faculty has a huge impact on the student experience."
Endowed chairs, the highest level of endowment at the university, are key to recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty leaders. President Bill Powers has stressed the need for more chairs to be competitive for top scholars.
"I want to personally thank Tom and Jeanie Carter for both their vision and their generosity in making this gift," Powers says.
The School of Undergraduate Studies promotes the success of undergraduates by offering strategic advising services and providing a strong first-year experience. The initial home for students who choose not to select another college or school upon entering the university, the school admitted its first class of 800 undeclared students in fall 2009.
The school was established based on recommendations of the Commission of 125, a group of citizens convened to express a vision of how the university can best serve Texas and society during the next 25 years.