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UT Austin Goes Public With $3.4 Billion of $6 Billion Goal
UT Austin Goes Public With $3.4 Billion of $6 Billion Goal

The University of Texas at Austin has launched the public phase of a $6 billion campaign. The effort, the What Starts Here campaign, generated more than $3.3 billion from 240,000 donors during its quiet phase, which began Sept. 1, 2016. That total alone exceeded the amount generated by UT at Austin’s previous campaign, the 2006-2014 Campaign for Texas.

As of March 4, the What Starts Here campaign had raised more than $3.4 billion.

“At this moment, we face incredible opportunities as we pursue our goal of becoming the world’s most impactful public research university,” UT Austin President Jay Hartzell said via a statement. “We will accomplish this by continuing to attract highly talented people, by taking advantage of our unique place in Austin and Texas, and by focusing on transformative pursuits. By fueling our ambitious plans, the What Starts Here campaign will truly change the world.”

While What Starts Here will benefit all sectors of the university, health care, research and scholarship will be among the top priorities.

Assuming What Starts Here meets its fundraising goal, university leadership has earmarked $1 billion for student-focused programs such as experiential learning opportunities, support programs, scholarships, and efforts to help students graduate on time with a strong sense of preparedness for success.

Prospective students will not be the only people who stand to benefit financially from the campaign. UT also intends to put some of the proceeds toward endowed faculty chairs, professorships and fellowships geared toward recruiting exceptional educators.

Some of the funds raised will be invested in strengthening relationships between the university and the business community, whether through learning and mentoring or career opportunities. Other money will be set aside for medical and health services research and caregiving.

Funders who have made significant contributions to date include:

  • The Moody Foundation, which gave $130 million for renovation and new construction within the university’s athletic facilities. The Moody Foundation, along with the Still Water Foundation, made a separate contribution to benefit UT’s public arts programs and upgrade the grounds of the university’s Blanton Museum of Art.
  • The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, which donated $100 million to support incoming freshmen with financial needs.
  • Jeff and Mindy Hildebrand, who gave $25 million to be invested in new careers and innovations in the energy sector. Jeff Hildebrand is the founder, chairman and CEO of Hilcorp Energy Company.
  • Mike Walker, co-founder of offshore drilling equipment firm Dril-Quip, who before his death in late 2018 gave $25 million to support experiential learning, faculty enhancement and research in mechanical engineering.
  • Steve Hicks, who donated a $25 million endowment in support of social work education and research.