AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin announces a $10 million endowment from Lois and Richard Folger to create the largest endowment to a named athletics director in the country. The Lois and Richard Folger Athletics Director Endowment will provide perpetual flexible funding for non-salaried strategic use, empowering the athletics director to launch new initiatives and enhance the excellence of Texas Athletics for years to come.
“Lois and Richard Folger understand the importance of the Texas Longhorns’ winning tradition and our ability to compete at the highest levels,” said Kevin Eltife, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents. “The Folgers’ generous endowment positions the Longhorns to build on that winning history when Texas enters the SEC next year and will have an immediate and positive impact on our athletics programs, our student-athletes and the rest of the University.”
“The legacy of excellence of Texas Athletics has inspired many of us, including Lois and Richard Folger. They know the role that athletics plays in elevating the entire University by contributing to the vibrancy of campus, connecting Longhorn Nation, and providing incredible opportunities for student-athletes,” said President Jay Hartzell. “We are extremely grateful for the Folgers’ longstanding generosity to the University and excited to see how Chris Del Conte will utilize these resources strategically to improve the support of our student-athletes, generate more passion for our University across the student body, position our former student-athletes for post-UT success, and provide a laboratory for our students and faculty with interests in sports.”
“Lois and Richard’s endowment of the athletics director’s chair is another example of the tremendous generosity, dedication and excellence personified by our most involved Longhorns,” said Chris Del Conte, UT director of athletics. “Lois and Richard have provided vital funding that will make an immediate impact on our department, and most importantly, our student-athletes. I am honored, humbled and thrilled to be the first-ever Lois and Richard Folger Athletics Director. Their support has created a legacy that will permeate through our entire department for years to come.”
“This gift will support student-athletes in their pursuit of academic and athletic excellence,” said the Folgers. “It is important that Texas Athletics continues to set a national standard for integrity and provide exceptional game day experiences and lifelong connections for our students, alumni and Longhorn fans worldwide. We believe strongly in UT’s leadership and know that this investment is important to the future success and growth of the state of Texas and its flagship University.”
About Lois and Richard Folger
This is the Folger family’s third endowed chair position following the Lois and Richard Folger Leadership Chairs in the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering department (ranked No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report) and the Dean’s Leadership Chair of the McCombs School of Business. Both investments have helped these disciplines maintain their top-tier national rankings among the best in the country. Students graduating from their rigorous programs are in high demand, fulfilling a critical need for talent in many industries with global impact.
Richard Folger, BBA ’81, B.S. ’84, is the managing general partner of Colbridge Partners Ltd., a private investment partnership. Lois Folger, B.S. ’84, M.S. ’95, is the founder and president of Folger Energy, an independent oil and gas company. The Folgers’ engagement and service to the University have been significant for several years. Most recently, Richard’s leadership as chair of the President’s Development Board and Lois’ as chair of the Cockrell School of Engineering’s Advisory Board have helped to launch the $6 billion What Starts Here campaign, the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of The University of Texas at Austin and the state of Texas.
About Texas Athletics
During the past five years, Texas Athletics has won 11 national championships and 58 Big 12 Conference titles. The program has also undergone a comprehensive facilities renovation touching all 20 Longhorn sports, the largest in the history of college athletics, and a reimagined football game day experience. During this time, Texas won back-to-back Learfield Directors’ Cup titles, an annual award given to the nation’s top-performing athletics department. Texas Athletics is one of the few athletics programs in the country that is self-sustaining, generating $7 million annually for the University’s academic enterprises. The program does not use state funding. Texas enters the Southeastern Conference on July 1, 2024.