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Red McCombs gives $50 million to UT Austin business school

In the largest single donation in the 117-year history of The University of Texas at Austin, San Antonio businessman Red McCombs has given a $50 million cash gift to the University’s business school, UT officials announced at a press conference today (May 11).

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AUSTIN, Texas—In the largest single donation in the 117-year history of The University of Texas at Austin, San Antonio businessman Red McCombs has given a $50 million cash gift to the University’s business school, UT officials announced at a press conference today (May 11).

To honor McCombs for his extraordinary gift, the UT System Board of Regents has authorized the renaming of the UT Austin College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Business as the Red McCombs School of Business.

“Red McCombs has been a leader and visionary in Texas for many years,” said UT Austin President Larry R. Faulkner. “He is committed to expanding opportunities for all Texans and to building a better future for our state and nation. We are proud and grateful that he has chosen The University of Texas at Austin as the means to accomplish these aspirations. With this gift, Red McCombs is making a Texas-sized impact on the future of this state, now and for generations to come.”

The McCombs gift arrives during UT Austin’s seven-year, $1 billion capital campaign initiated by the University in 1997. The McCombs gift brings total campaign dollars raised to $590 million.

“The gift by Mr. and Mrs. McCombs is philanthropy practiced at the highest level,” said Johnnie D. Ray, vice president for resource development at UT Austin. “The quality and reputation of this University and its ability to transform lives for the benefit of society has been materially lifted. Texas and the nation are the ultimate beneficiaries.”

In the past 20 years, the Texas Business School has risen in national standings. U.S. News and World Reportranks the UT Austin MBA program No. 16 and the BBA program among the top five. The school is noted for innovative programs in technology, entrepreneurship and globalization. McCombs’ gift provides half the capital for a planned $100 million endowment fund to further increase the school’s stature. Disbursed annually over eight years, the gift will permit the school to greatly increase faculty productivity, attract more star-quality faculty, improve student programs and become one of the leading providers of business education in the world.

Robert G. May, dean of the College of Business, said, “I’d like to emphasize how proud we are that a person of Mr. McCombs’ stature would bestow such a generous and important gift on our school. He represents the things we value in preparing outstanding new business people–entrepreneurial spirit, good business judgment, integrity and community leadership. He’s a real Texan and he honors us doubly with his great financial help and by associating his name with everything we do.”

McCombs attended UT Austin in the late 1940s as a business administration student and has become a legend in Texas business. He is a recipient of the UT Austin Distinguished Alumnus Award and a member of the Texas Business Hall of Fame. His wide-ranging business interests include automobile dealerships, communications, professional sports, oil, ranching and real estate. He is co-founder (with Lowry Mays) of Clear Channel Communications, which includes ownership of 850 radio stations in markets across the United States as well as other communications ventures. He is the owner of the Minnesota Vikings and is former owner of the San Antonio Spurs and the Denver Nuggets.

McCombs is just as well known for his generous philanthropy, particularly to humanitarian efforts, education and health organizations, including a generous donation to the medical relief effort for Kosovar refugees. In 1997, he gave UT Austin women’s athletics its largest-ever donation — $3 million for a new softball complex that bears the names of McCombs and his wife, Charline. He also has given significant donations to Southwestern University and is chair of their capital campaign. In addition, he also has donated his time, reading to students at San Antonio’s Mary Hull Elementary School which is attended by many at-risk students.

“I believe strongly in the quality of leadership at The University of Texas, or I wouldn’t be making this gift,” said McCombs. “I decided to make this gift now because the timing is right — both for me and for UT. The Texas Business School is already a great school. That’s an indisputable fact, and the national rankings confirm it. My gift is about creating new opportunities. My hope is that this gift will allow the school to be one of the very best in the world, period.”

For more information on McCombs and his donation, please visit the Website www.mccombs.utexas.edu/news/mccombs/

Contacts for media: For additional information, contact:

  • Kim Head, public relations specialist, UT Austin Business School, (512) 232-7510, or via email at kim.head@bus.utexas.edu.

  • Photographs are available for download from the Web at www.utexas.edu/admin/opa/news/00newsreleases/nr_200005/nr_gift2.html or by calling Marsha Miller of the UT Austin Office of Public Affairs at (512) 471-3151.