The has announced a $20 million gift from alumnus Bobby Patton, Jr. and his wife, Sherri, in support of faculty and graduate student endowments in the .
The gift will boost efforts to build excellence across the college, which offers more than fifty majors in twenty-two academic departments. The funds also will support experiential learning opportunities for undergraduates as well as excellence funds that support priority programs in the college. A member of the UT College of Liberal Arts Advisory Council, Patton said his gift was inspired by his experiences as an interdisciplinary arts and science honors major in the 1980s.
"I like to call this an investment rather than a gift," said Patton, an oil and gas investor and part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. "After I left UT I realized just how important liberal arts were to my life. They taught me how to learn and how to keep on learning."
"The recruitment of top faculty and top graduate students go hand in hand, ultimately benefiting every student who enrolls in liberal arts courses." said Randy Diehl, dean of the college. "Bolstering experiential learning will also greatly enhance undergraduate opportunities in areas such as study abroad, internships, leadership, and research. We are grateful to the Pattons for this truly transformative gift."