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The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

UTIMCO FS 2008
William Douglas NoŽl and wife Ellen.

The late Odessan, William Douglas (Bill) NoŽl, was a longtime, generous donor to The University of Texas of the Permian Basin. His wife, Ellen, who died this past spring, was also a great benefactor to the University in her own right. Their financial contributions helped shape this campus in West Texas.

Although orphaned at a young age, NoŽl was able to obtain a college degree in business administration from The University of Texas at Austin by working as a roustabout in the oil fields during the summers. After his successes in the oil business in McCamey as well as in the petrochemical industry in Odessa, his gratitude took the form of scholarships. He had a two-fold purpose in mind: to assist his employees' children, and then to boost enrollment at the campus.

In an interview, he stated, "I always felt that maybe one of the things that helped to make my life so nice was that I did have the opportunity to go to college. And, I've always felt like that was something that needed to be repaid." Therefore, in 1974, the couple established The Ellen and Bill NoŽl Scholarship Fund with a donation of $245,625 to the University. In 1993, Mrs. NoŽl contributed $1,000,000 to establish the University of Texas of the Permian Basin Support for Excellence Fund. Both bequests are invested in the Long Term Fund. In a final act of generosity, they donated their stately home, "NoŽl Oaks" to the school.

Mrs. NoŽl attended Duke University, and taught school in McCamey. She served on the UTPB Development Board for many years and was an emeritus member at the time of her death. Along with her husband, she was inducted into the UT Permian Basin Hall of Honor in 1985.

UTIMCO FS 2008
In 1985, the NoŽls were inducted into the UT Permian Basin Hall of Honor. Pictured, from left to right, are: Dr. Duane Leach, former president of UTPB, Ellen NoŽl, Bill Roden, former regent, and Bill NoŽl.

Her lifelong support extended to the arts as evidenced by the local gallery that bears her name: the Ellen NoŽl Art Museum of the Permian Basin. She also avidly supported the Midland Odessa Symphony & Chorale, the Globe Theatre of the Great Southwest, Permian Playhouse, and other local museums. She also contributed the funds for the Ellen and Bill NoŽl Therapy Center at High Sky Children's Ranch in Midland.

An enthusiastic volunteer, Mrs. NoŽl was recognized by the Junior League of Odessa in 2002 with a lifetime community service award. The volunteer spirit which she and her husband imparted led city officials to name the volunteer-of-the-year award after them.

Together, their vision for the UTPB campus has enabled hundreds of area students to achieve a high-quality, university education. And the vision doesn't end there, despite the fact that Bill NoŽl died in 1987.

Shortly before Mrs. NoŽl's death, she pledged $5 million in concert with $5 million from her daughter and son-in-law, Lissa and Cy Wagner, to become the principal benefactors of UTPB's Wagner NoŽl Performing Arts Center. This state-of-the-art music and theater complex, adjacent to the UTPB Center for Energy and Economic Diversification (CEED), is ideally situated midway between Odessa and Midland, and is scheduled to be completed in 2012.