Today, the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation (WGHFF) announced a $2.5 million gift to the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) to support scholarships for students from the greater El Paso, Las Cruces, and Ciudad Juarez area who choose to pursue a college degree at UT Austin.
As part of the university’s Texas Challenge, UT Austin will match this donation dollar-for-dollar, creating a $5M fund that will provide scholarships to undergraduate students from low-and middle-income families that are residents of the Borderplex region.
“We are proud to participate in the Texas Challenge to help young people from the Borderplex region pursue their college dreams at UT Austin without the financial worries that can come with higher education,” said Woody L. Hunt, Chairman of the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation. “By investing in our students, we are both providing them with the opportunity to continue their education, and investing in the talent that will keep El Paso and Texas globally competitive and innovative through the coming decades.”
The Texas Challenge is a unique giving opportunity created by UT Austin to recruit high-potential students from middle and low-income families across the state through targeted scholarships and financial incentives. The university matches any Texas Challenge gift of $100,000 or higher, dollar for dollar.
With the $2.5M gift from the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation, UT Austin will establish the Woody and Gayle Hunt Endowment to benefit students from the Hunts’ hometown of El Paso and the surrounding Borderplex region. Students who are awarded a Hunt Family Scholarship will receive it in successive years until graduation so long as they continue to meet its eligibility criteria. The scholarship endowment is designed to support multiple high-achieving UT Austin students each year in perpetuity.
“Mr. Hunt has given a much-needed emphasis on UT Austin to the Borderplex region,” said George Chidiac, an El Paso recipient of a similar scholarship to the McCombs School of Business, awarded from the WGHFF. “A lot of students are deterred by the costs since other schools are offering them scholarships. This is a statement to students showing that we are going to reward those who are working hard. I wouldn’t have been able to come to UT Austin if it weren’t for people who supported me both financially and personally. Help goes a long way and I think his help in the form of scholarships could be quite far reaching.”
Woody Hunt is an alumnus of the Business Honors Program at the University of Texas Austin, graduating in one of the school’s first classes in 1966. Gayle Hunt is also a UT Austin alum, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.
“Thanks to the generosity of the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation, we look forward to welcoming more students from El Paso to the UT Austin campus in the fall, and in the years to come,” said Hartzell. “Students from the Borderplex region come from a vibrant, unique community full of different perspectives, which adds to the diverse community that we embrace here at UT Austin. We are committed to remaining competitive across the country recruiting the brightest minds, which we know are right here in El Paso.”
The Hunt Family and the Foundation have generously supported the Forty Acres Scholars Program across the various colleges, schools, and units, including their investments in the McCombs Business School, the College of Natural Sciences, the College of Liberal Arts, and Athletics. Through their leadership, the Woody Hunt Challenge was created at the McCombs Business School, which started 40 new endowments established to benefit students and faculty, including the Woody L. Hunt Endowed Excellence Fund and the Woody L. Hunt Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Business.
Additional support includes donations to capital projects on campus such as the Woody L. Hunt classroom at Rowling Hall and the future Mulva Hall.
Since its founding in 1987, the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation has invested in key education initiatives, organizations and programs that help increase educational attainment in the Borderplex region, including scholarships that help more students pursue higher education.
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