The official motto of the city of Dallas is “Live Large, Think Big.” It’s a slogan meant to evoke the city’s rich culture and big business, but it applies just as well to the Texas Exes Dallas Chapter‘s 2011 Scholarship Dinner, held last week at the ritzy Belo Mansion.
“The chapter’s goal is to raise $500,000 in five years, and because of the success of this one event, we are a full year ahead of schedule,” says chapter board member and Scholarship Dinner co-chair Monica Murrell, BA ’02, Life Member. “One Forty Acres Scholarship—that’s tuition, room and board, a living stipend, a full ride for one outstanding student—costs $500,000. So this is a tremendous step for us.”
About 300 attendees chipped in by purchasing event tickets, bidding in both live and silent auctions, and asking friends and family to donate.
John L. Adams, BBA ’66, LLB ’69, Life Member, was named the year’s Outstanding Dallas Texas Ex in recognition of decades of philanthropy and service to the chapter.
UT President Bill Powers and his wife, Kim Heilbrun, flew in from Austin to attend the event. “Thank you for all you do,” Powers told the chapter. “You are a vital part of the University.”
In his acceptance speech, honoree Adams spoke to the current higher education debate: “This is a challenging time for higher education in Texas, and it’s an especially challenging time for the University of Texas,” he said. “There are those who would allow us to slide into mediocrity, and we can’t let that happen. We must lead the nation in research and in teaching.”
The Forty Acres Scholarship, Adams said, is a huge step toward making UT the best public university in the United States. Adams recalled meeting five of the current Forty Acres Scholars, and asking all of them if they would have chosen UT without the scholarship. All five said no, because other schools had also offered them full rides.
“My dream school was Brown University, and I almost went there,” Forty Acres Scholar Linda Shi told the crowd. “I wanted to leave Texas and see the world. But this scholarship is so special, so powerful, that it convinced me to stay. And I will make you proud.”
From left: Dallas Texas Exes Chapter past president Jeff Duchin, honoree John L. Adams, chapter president Maria Garate, and Texas Exes CEO Leslie Cedar. Photo by David Duchin/DSPNPhotos.com.