Hunt Family Foundation Donates $1 Million to UTEP

October 13, 2009

The Hunt Family Foundation has made a $1 million contribution to The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) to establish an endowed chair in international business and to support the Institute for Policy and Economic Development (IPED). The contribution will be split equally between the two entities.

Funds distributed from the new chair in international business will support an outstanding faculty member with superior professional and academic credentials whose work will contribute to teaching, research, graduate student development in the College of Business Administration, and assisting the Paso del Norte region in becoming a center for international business. Permanently endowed professorships and chairs are an invaluable investment not only in talented faculty, but also in the future of UTEP.

IPED boasts a broad portfolio of economic modeling, program evaluation, policy analysis and survey research to provide a deep understanding of regional and international interactions and trends.

“Both the Hunt family and UTEP have long been key to this region’s economic development,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “This generous contribution to the important work that IPED and the College of Business Administration do on behalf of our students and the El Paso community will reinforce an already indispensable partnership.”

The Hunt Family Foundation’s contribution is among six recent gifts, totaling $4.1 million, which the University has received in response to the Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP). TRIP is a state program to enhance research productivity and faculty recruitment at seven public universities seeking national research (Tier One) university status.

“For many years, our family has been a strong advocate for initiatives that promote economic development in our region,” said Woody L. Hunt, Chairman of the Hunt Companies and its affiliates.

Hunt founded the Hunt Family Foundation along with his wife, Gayle, and now serves as its chairman.

“There is no question that UTEP plays a critical and vital role on many economic development levels within our own community and for the entire Paso del Norte region,” he said.

Hunt added that the Hunt Family Foundation donation of $1 million is targeted to assist two major aspects of the University, both of which have important links to the region.

“We saw a valuable opportunity this year to support UTEP in its goal to achieve Tier One status and become a national research university,” Hunt said. “Being a Tier One institution will raise UTEP’s profile significantly, and that, in turn, will enhance our region’s ability to compete more effectively, especially on the international level. “This contribution will additionally support the Institute for Policy and Economic Development, which we believe will continue to be a catalyst for formulating intelligent public policies and developing strategic planning decisions for El Paso and the surrounding areas.”

Under the TRIP program, the University is eligible to receive state matching funds after each gift is certified by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for meeting TRIP criteria. Donations must be designated for research activities, including equipment, facilities, program costs, professorships, endowed chairs and graduate stipends and fellowships. The matching funds will be distributed by the state of Texas according to the following schedule: 50 percent of the value of gifts between $100,000 and $999,999; 75 percent of the value of gifts between $1 million and $1.9 million; and 100 percent of the value of gifts between $2 million and $10 million.

Based on the more than $4 million in contributions UTEP is submitting for TRIP, the University expects to receive approximately $3 million in matching funds, for a total intake of nearly $7 million, to support its push to achieve Tier One status.

“TRIP represents a significant step forward for Texas higher education,” said Natalicio. “Recognition as a national research university is UTEP’s top priority, and this program demonstrates the progress that can be made when the state’s priorities align with our own. I specifically applaud The Hunt Family Foundation for taking the lead in ensuring that UTEP will get the most out of this opportunity.”

The Hunt Family Foundation has requested that the anticipated TRIP match of $750,000 for its donation be used to establish a graduate fellows program, a permanent endowment to benefit the College of Business Administration. The dean of the college will distribute endowment funds to provide fellowships to students pursuing their graduate studies in business administration or related disciplines. Students will be selected on the basis of their academic excellence, research and leadership, and endowment proceeds will support the enhancement of their research initiatives. They will be known as the “Hunt Fellows” and will form a close-knit academic and collegial network, with research mentoring provided by senior faculty members in the College.

Mr. Hunt said that Hunt Family Foundation gifts to UTEP reflect an ongoing charitable focus on this region.

“Our family is proud to be a part of this community, as we have been for over four generations. We believe our investment in UTEP is an ongoing investment in the future of El Paso and the Paso del Norte region.”

 
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