The University of Texas at Dallas
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Margareta and Aage Moller

The University of Texas at Dallas is home to a record number of new endowments, thanks in part to the Texas Research Incentive Program, or TRIP, a $50 million fund created by the Texas Legislature for emerging research institutions.

UT Dallas’ fund-raising push to achieve Tier One status netted $15.2 million in matching funds, which it qualified for after raising $16.9 million in private gifts in a recent competition with six other institutions aspiring to elite status.

Under the Tier One law, the TRIP fund provided matching dollars for donations specifically given for research purposes, including endowed chairs, professorships, graduate student fellowships or facilities. TRIP rewarded institutions that could make a show of significant private support: Donations of $2 million or more got a dollar-for-dollar match from the state; gifts of $1 million to $1.9 million received a 75 percent match; gifts of $100,000 to $999,999, a 50 percent match. The greater the private support, the greater the public backing received.

With donor support and TRIP matching funds, endowed faculty research and graduate student education in two of the University’s largest schools received a boost.

Thirteen donors collectively gave $116,500 so it could be matched with $58,250 for a professorship in the School of Management (SOM). The School of Management Advisory Council Professorship supports the research and scholarly activities of faculty. Another collective $100,000 gift was matched with $50,000 for the Industrial Advisory Board Graduate Fellowship in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.

Recognizing that endowed professorships and chairs give UT Dallas an edge in recruiting and retaining great faculty, a longtime faculty member recently established a professorship and contributed toward student scholarships.

It’s been 35 years since the Moller’s first coffee date, and Margareta, 75, and Aage, 78, now a professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS), are still committed to each other. They are also committed to supporting the University. Through a $100,000 gift that received a 50 percent TRIP match and $100,000 in unrestricted TRIP funds, the Aage and Margareta Moller Distinguished Professorship in Behavioral and Brain Sciences was established.

Besides his well-earned reputation for philanthropy, Aage Moller is recognized worldwide for his research into neural plasticity in the auditory system and its role in disorders such as tinnitus.

The Mollers have a long history of giving to UT Dallas. They have endowed two professorships in BBS and two scholarships for students in need.

“The unique thing about the Mollers is that they see a need and make it their own,” said Dr. Bert Moore, dean of BBS.

The Moller’s gift was one of 33 endowments—an all-time annual high for the University—created between Sept. 1, 2009 and Aug. 31, 2010. The market value of UT Dallas’ entire endowment was approximately $229 million, as of Aug. 31, 2010.