Meet Our Donors
We thank all our planned-gift donors for their generous support. Here are some of their stories.
David Pomberg and Jerri Hammer MS'97 - Bequest
Couple Jerri Hammer and David Pomberg were drawn to the UT Dallas Center for Vital Longevity through personal experiences. "We've witnessed the devastation and heartbreak that Alzheimer's and dementia have brought to so many family members and friends that we felt compelled to give our support to an organization dedicated to eradicating these conditions," Hammer said.
The center brings together a group of research scientists who are using advanced brain-imaging technologies and research techniques in cognitive neuroscience to understand, maintain and improve the vitality of the aging mind.
"It seems like the medical community is making great strides to keep our limbs and organs functioning as we age, but has not achieved the same progress with our brains," said Hammer. "Our hope is that through our gifts and others like it, the solution to keeping our brains as active and agile as our bodies will be discovered and implemented in our lifetime."
The couple lives in Richardson, Texas, with their two children.
E. Michelle Miller MS'05 - Bequest
As an alumna, graduate student and staff member of UT Dallas, Michelle Miller has an appreciation for the impact of philanthropy.
Miller decided to give back through a bequest that will benefit the Naveen Jindal School of Management, which helped expand her successful career in business and technology. Her gift will also benefit the University's Center for Vital Longevity. The center's research on age and cognitive functioning hits close to home for Michelle, who lost her mother to an incurable brain disease in 2009.
"People often don't realize that they don't need to be wealthy before they can make a planned gift," she said. "Your ending can support someone else's beginning, which can make planned giving feel less intimidating."
Miller values the freedom and choices available through planned giving. "When you make a commitment of this kind in your 30s and 40s, it is deliberate and focused," she said. "You have the liberty to choose where your funds go."
Miller is the director of corporate relations for the Jindal School of Management, where she is also pursuing her Executive MBA.
Anthony and Beatriz Champagne - Deferred Gift Annuity
"Do it now," advises UT Dallas professor of 34 years and pre-law advisor Dr. Anthony Champagne. He knows if you wait to make a planned gift, it gets moved to the back burner. Champagne—who, along with his wife, opted for a deferred gift annuity—recognizes that now is a good time in his life to make a planned gift, and he hopes to encourage others to commit to such plans as well.
"It's interesting and exciting to see a new university grow from 6,000 students to today's enrollment of nearly 21,000," Champagne said. Throughout his tenure, he has seen the pre-law program develop from two to three students entering law school each year to 35 annually. Champagne hopes his contributions will be used to support ongoing needs of the pre-law program, as well as fund special projects such as informal seminars or student- produced manuscripts.
Champagne co-authored Lone Star Leaders, a pictorial and written history of Texans serving in publicly-elected roles. Currently, he is researching a new book based on the Innocence Project of Texas—an organization committed to exonerating those who were wrongfully convicted of serious crimes.
Katherine Wells Power BS'81 - Bequest
For Kathy Power BS'81, the words "history" and "legacy" have special meaning. As an alumna, Power is leaving her legacy by naming UT Dallas as a beneficiary in her will. As a historian, she has dedicated the last decade to preserving what's left of Frankford, Texas. Frankford is now surrounded by the exclusive Bent Tree North community in far North Dallas.
Power grew up in Plano on her family's farm and remembers attending services at the Frankford Church, which was founded in the late 1800s. As other cities developed around it, Frankford was overlooked and was reduced to a sleepy town. The church and the cemetery nearby are all that remain of the pioneer community. Descendants continue to bury family in the cemetery, which contains gravestones dating to 1862 and include Addison Robertson (for whom the town of Addison is named), the Coit family, and confederate soldiers. Power is proud of the old church's designation as a Texas Historical Landmark.
Power also has dedicated the past 30 years to her role as a reading therapist, teaching reading, spelling and writing skills to students with learning challenges. She credits her training at UT Dallas in preparing her for this work.
Susan Fleming PhD'87 - Bequest
Dr. Susan Fleming has focused her career on learning everything she could about helping children. Enrolling in a doctoral program at UT Dallas allowed her to develop her love for working with young people who have communication disorders.
When Fleming joined the Shelton Evaluation Center (a division of the Shelton School) in 1993, she knew she had found what would become the pinnacle of her career. Fleming served as director until 2009 when she became director emeritus of the center, which was established in 1976.
"Throughout my life, I had always wanted to make a legacy gift to the University but had not found the inspiration until I learned of President Daniel's resolve to make UTD a Tier One institution," she said. To help reach that goal, Fleming made an estate gift to help fund scholarships. She hopes that her gift inspires and encourages others to consider becoming a member of The Legacy Society. "Don't hesitate. Follow your heart."
Randy Black BS'06 - Life Insurance
"What is my legacy?"
This is the question that motivated Randy Black to make an estate gift. Randy knew that he wanted others to benefit from his UT Dallas experience, which included an academic scholarship and a spot on the baseball team. His years living on campus, serving as a peer advisor and meeting his future wife while working at a campus job, left Randy grateful.
"I have so many positive memories of UTD, so why not give back," Black explained. As a former student athlete and management graduate, his gift will go toward athletics and the Naveen Jindal School of Management. "Making the University a beneficiary of my life insurance policy was a great choice because it will support the University in a big way in the future," he said.
Karen Wolfe - Friend, Bequest
Karen Wolfe and Jack Lamb were an inseparable team. The two began dating when Jack BS'90 was involved in the University's former alumni association. As president of the association, Jack secured the University's first class ring. "Jack wore his ring proudly," Karen said. "He would tell anyone and everyone how proud he was of his university." The couple married in 2000 and continued their volunteer work with UT Dallas until Jack's death in 2011.
The pair enjoyed volunteering in all aspects of their lives. They delighted in being part of the Richardson Newcomers and Neighbors Club and his position on UT Dallas' Arts and Humanities Advisory Council. They took this dedication a step further when they decided to mentor international students in the Naveen Jindal School of Management's Cohort MBA Program.
After Jack's death, Karen chose to give his class ring back to UT Dallas as an enduring symbol of the personal and lasting impact of the University. Recently, Karen has chosen to further honor Jack and his beloved alma mater by making an estate gift to UT Dallas for the benefit of the School of Arts and Humanities.
Tom and Lynn B. McIntire BA'79 - Bequest
Lynn BA'79 and Tom McIntire are certified financial planners who live in Dallas. Tom is a Harvard University graduate who started his planning business in 1992 following a successful overseas career in the oil services industry. Lynn joined him as a partner after having served for several years as a vice president for First Tennessee Brokerage, Inc.
Lynn's first position after graduating from UT Dallas was in a research lab at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She then worked in pharmaceutical sales and later held a development position for the Easter Seals in Fort Worth. Lynn and Tom reconnected in 1995 at their 20-year reunion at Richardson High School. While getting acquainted again, Tom discovered that Lynn would be an excellent investment planner, and he encouraged her to consider a second career. Lynn joined Tom's business soon after they married in 1997.
Tom and Lynn are firm believers in philanthropy and commit their time and income to favorite charities each year. Lynn served on the board of UT Dallas' former alumni organization and still wears her class ring. The McIntires' careers in financial planning have illustrated to them the importance of long-term investments, which is why they made a planned gift to benefit an endowed fund at UT Dallas. "We are proud of UT Dallas and all that it has become," said Tom McIntire. "We made a gift through our wills to help ensure a quality education for future generations. It was easy."
John and Nancy Van Ness - Retired Faculty, Bequest
For former UT Dallas faculty members Dr. John Van Ness and his wife, Nancy, preserving their daughter's memory has always been a priority. John Van Ness, past chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, and Nancy, a retired senior lecturer in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, are supporting the University financially while celebrating the life of their daughter, Julia, who died of Ewing's sarcoma in 1988. Shortly after her death, a scholarship was established in Julia's honor. Through their estate plans, the Van Nesses will add to the scholarship. "We want to remember Julia in a significant way and chose her scholarship at UT Dallas to be a beneficiary," explained John Van Ness, who joined the faculty in 1973 and retired in 2002. He now works as a professional artist in his Richardson-based art studio.
Professor Tim Redman - Gift-In-Kind Bequest
To honor his parents, literary studies professor, Dr. Tim Redman, intends to give 2,000 books from his personal collection to the Eugene McDermott Library.
"My late parents were both lifelong members of the The Christophers," explained Redman. "This organization encourages people to use their talents to make a positive impact on the world. So I wanted to do something in that spirit to honor my parents."
Redman's gift was made through a provision in his will. "I am healthy, but I wanted the library to have these special books related to my discipline now, so I'm giving some of the books immediately," he said. "I hope other professors consider donating the special books in their field to the library when they are finished with them."
In addition to being a scholar of American and Italian literature, Redman is well-known as the founder of the world-renowned UT Dallas Chess Program. He has more than 40 years of experience in chess, spanning his time as a player, coach, tournament director and president of the United States Chess Federation.
Jefflyn W. Williamson BS '83 - Bequest
As an undergraduate, Jefflyn Williamson was the thankful recipient of the Northwood Woman's Club Scholarship. It was a gift that inspired her to strive for greatness both in the classroom, and later on in her commercial real estate career.
In an effort to repay the generosity she was afforded, Jefflyn has established The Jefflyn Williamson Endowed Scholarship, a gift she hopes will empower young women to succeed.
"I am thrilled to know my legacy will live on through the Jefflyn Williamson Endowed Scholarship," she said. "Long after I'm gone, students will still benefit from an education at UT Dallas."
For Williamson, her decision to include the University in her estate planning is also an investment in the success of the region. As UT Dallas students graduate and pursue rewarding careers of their own, she hopes they too choose to give back.
"There is a multiplier effect when you give," Williamson said. "Your gift doesn't stop when you write a check; it keeps going. You may never realize the full impact your gift can make."
Elizabeth Exley Hodge - Bequest
Life legacies can take many forms. Thanks to a planned gift, Elizabeth "Libby" Exley Hodge's legacy will live on at the University for generations to come. A retired staff member from the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the Office of Sponsored Projects, her bequest established the Elizabeth Exley Hodge Endowment.
"When I decided to rethink the content of my will two years ago, a commitment to UTD was placed at the top of the list," she said. "This resulted in designating funding for a future endowment."
Thanks to the suggestion of Sheila Gutierrez de Pineres, undergraduate dean, and Robert Marsh, a senior lecturer in biology, Libby also began supporting the publication of an undergraduate research journal. First published in March 2012, The Exley features both research articles and creative works produced by undergraduates. Libby's gift will fund the journal in perpetuity.
"I was employed at UTD from its inception through my retirement in 1986. During that time I realized that the University would become a huge asset to the community if private citizens would contribute to its growth," Libby explained. "It is my hope that friends and local citizens will support UT Dallas financially to speed its advancement to Tier One."
Trudy Gentry MS'79 - Bequest
After carefully shopping for universities with master's programs, Trudy Gentry said, "it was clear UT Dallas had the most to offer." She enrolled in night classes and earned a master's degree in special education. She student taught at the same school where she worked during the day, which was then known as the Notre Dame Special School in Irving. Gentry spent most of her career in the Irving school district teaching special education and helping thousands of students with learning and developmental differences.
Through the years, she has watched UT Dallas grow. "I am so proud of how far UTD has come. I cannot think of a better place to leave my estate." A special fan of the Center for BrainHealth, she regularly attends its lectures.
Since retiring in 2010, Gentry wrote a book, Vintage Vehicles of Thomas Richard Gentry, about her late father's handmade wooden vintage cars, trucks, boats and airplanes. He crafted close to 150 intricately-designed vintage vehicles. Gentry shares her father's appreciation of antiques and is working on another book about her personal hat collection, which at last count included 90 pieces.
Dr. Larry Sall - Charitable Gift Annuity
When Dr. Larry Sall retired in 2010 after 32 years of service, he made it clear he had every intention of staying connected to UT Dallas and supporting its Tier One vision. He recently demonstrated this commitment by establishing the first charitable gift annuity (CGA) in the University's history, which will eventually benefit the Eugene McDermott Library.
With interest rates at historic lows, gift annuities are becoming increasingly popular to retirees like Sall. "This was practically a no-brainer for me," he said. "I'm able to make a gift that will support the McDermott Library while also receiving guaranteed income for life." In addition, he will be able to take an immediate tax deduction on his gift, and a portion of the annual distribution he receives will be tax-free. "I definitely wanted to support the University's campaign, but being newly retired, I could not make a significant outright gift. This gift annuity is the perfect vehicle for me to support UT Dallas."
For Sall, well-known on campus for his wry and pragmatic sense of humor, the process of completing a deferred gift had an unexpected outcome. "As I've heard, when you make a gift like this, which is dependent entirely on your ultimate demise, it means you'll likely live an extra 10 to 20 years. If that's true, then this is a great bargain!"
Nicole Tucker BA'04 - Bequest
Studying for a bachelor's degree in psychology and working full-time was sometimes overwhelming for Nicole Tucker BA'04. But the memory of her late mother helped motivate her. "Completing my degree has given me a great sense of accomplishment. Though it was a struggle finding the time and money while working full-time, I was determined. It took many years, but with the reassuring memories of my mother, who completed her degree while raising two children alone and working full time, and some financial aid during my last year, I graduated in 2004."
Tucker's mother, Diane Milot Tucker, died suddenly when Nicole was a teenager. "I learned at a young age to be prepared by having your finances in place. So, when revising my will last year, I contacted UT Dallas to get the information I needed to set up a scholarship in my mother's honor."
The bequest that Tucker established will eventually be used to create a scholarship that will benefit students. "I am proud to be able to help support an aspiring UT Dallas graduate with the money I leave behind. This way, my mother and I will have a role in another person's future."
Robert and Jody Nelsen MBA'97 - Bequest
Pay it forward.
This is the advice that long-time former University administrators and supporters, Robert and Jody Nelsen, give others who are considering a planned gift to UT Dallas.
"The University is part of my family and I want to take care of my family," said Robert, who taught creative writing and served in the faculty senate before serving as vice provost at UT Dallas. He is currently the president of UT Pan American.
"I consider making an estate gift as helping our family. We love UTD. We love the students—it is part of our lives," he said. Jody completed her MBA in 1997 and then served as a manager of administrative services in the physical plant and eventually, associate vice president of business affairs. She was recognized by the University with the Green and Orange Award for Alumni Service in 2008.
"We were all helped in some way with a scholarship or funding and supporting UT Dallas is a way to pay back what we were given," Jody said. The Nelsen's estate gift will benefit students by adding funds to the Joellyn (Jody) Nelsen Staff Council Scholarship and the Robert S. Nelsen Scholarship in Creative Writing. Both scholarships were established by President David E. Daniel in 2008.
Susan BA'93, MPA'94 and John Macaulay - Bequest
More than 20 years ago, a helpful assistant in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences offered then-graduate student Susan Macaulay a job that made a lasting impression. While her husband John explored a new career, Susan, a mother of two young children, jumped at the assistant's offer of a teaching assistant position that would provide the family with health insurance benefits.
The Macaulays recently named UT Dallas as a beneficiary in their wills. They are the newest members of The Legacy Society, which recognizes this type of investment in the University's future.
Susan was a 42-year-old junior interested in government and politics when she came to UT Dallas. "The professors were unbelievable and the teaching was terrific. I was impressed that many of my instructors came from Ivy League schools," said Susan, who joined the federal government as a Presidential Management Fellow in 1995 and retired in 2007 from the Dallas office of the Administration for Children and Families.
UT Dallas is a family tradition for the Macaulays. Before Susan became a student in the '90s, John taught an MBA accounting class in the '70s. Their son Craig earned his bachelor's degree in business administration in 2010 and is now a PhD student in the Naveen Jindal School of Management.
The Macaulays said a planned gift to the University symbolized the important relationship between their family and the school. "We have been giving every year and wanted to support UT Dallas as a long-term investment. The University is widely respected and will be Tier One someday," Susan said. "Education is so important to all of us, and UT Dallas is a great place to support for its success and bright future. We encourage people who are updating their wills to use a bequest as an easy way to give back."
Drs. Aage and Margareta Moller - Bequest
Professor and Spouse
Dr. Aage Moller is the Margaret Fonde Jonsson Professor in the UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS). He is known internationally for his innovative research on sensory systems and neural plasticity. Dr. Moller and his late wife of nearly 40 years, Margareta, have generously supported UT Dallas. In addition to including the University in their estate plans, they established two scholarships and two BBS professorships. Dr. Moller said the couple's strategy has been "to give to institutions that have enriched our lives—intellectually and socially." And UT Dallas has been at the "top of the list," he said. As a physician, Margareta dedicated her career to medicine. Aage Moller's work has helped establish UT Dallas as a leader in tinnitus-related research. His development of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring, which enabled monitoring of sensory and motor function during brain and spinal cord surgery, has saved many people from deficits that could have greatly reduced their quality of life.
Joyce Johnson BS'83 - Bequest
Picture this: Alumna Joyce Johnson cruising down Campbell Road in a gold Nissan with a “UTD 83” license plate and two Snoopy dolls clad in UT Dallas shirts, hats and socks safely buckled into the back seat. Johnson is at the wheel, sporting a UT Dallas lapel pin on her crisp collar. “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for UTD,” she said. “This place means the world to me.”
Johnson, who received a bachelor’s degree in general studies in 1983, has shown her loyalty in a way few other alumni have — by including the University as a beneficiary in her will.
Johnson’s gift was a way to honor her late husband, Bruce Johnson, fellow alum who received a master’s degree in international management studies in 1984. He was working toward his PhD in the School of Management when he died in 1985. “UT Dallas brought us together, and this is just a way of saying thanks to a place that gave us both so much,” she said.
When Johnson’s gift is realized, the Bruce and Joyce Johnson Endowed Scholarships will be created. Two funds will be established: one will support students in the School of Management, and the other will support students in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies (formerly General Studies).
“I know that UT Dallas will become a world-class research University and a tremendous resource for the community,” said Johnson. “For me, there’s no better legacy to leave.”