UT-Austin Announces Gift to College of Communication

The University of Texas at Austin announced on Monday a $50 million gift from the Moody Foundation to its College of Communication, which will be renamed the Moody College of Communication.

In a press release calling it the "the largest endowment for the study of communication of any public university in the nation," university officials said the sum would be put to a variety of uses.

“By making this gift, the Moody Foundation seeks to increase the presence of the university on a national and international basis and improve the quality of its education by recruiting the best professors, the best administration, and in turn having the best students coming out of the Moody College of Communication,” Ross Moody, a trustee of the Moody Foundation, said in a statement.

Each of the college's five departments — Advertising and Public Relations; Communication Sciences and Disorders; Communication Studies; Journalism; and Radio-Television-Film — will get a $1 million endowment. Additionally, $10 million will be invested in an "idea fund" for developing new curricula and courses, $13 million will go toward graduate student recruitment, $5 million will go toward facility improvements and $7 million will support undergraduate work. The rest will be split among the college's research and community outreach centers, such as the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life.

Based in Galveston, the Moody Foundation is a philanthropic organization founded in 1942 by W.L. Moody Jr. and his wife, Libbie Rice Shearn Moody. According to the foundation's website, it makes grants that primarily focus on "education, social services, children’s needs and community development."

UT-Austin President Bill Powers celebrated the gift, saying in a statement, "As the Moody College of Communication, this venerable and accomplished college is poised to become the nation’s leading institution for communication scholarship and education. It is an honor to welcome this great Texas family into the pantheon of the university’s most historically important donors."

Earlier this year, the Austin-based Michael & Susan Dell Foundation provided a $50 million gift to establish the Dell Medical School at UT-Austin, which is expected to enroll its first students in 2016.

Such largesse is increasingly vital for public universities in Texas. Both UT-Austin and Texas A&M University reported record-breaking fundraising totals in the last fiscal year. The former cited more than $450 million, while the latter touted a total of more than $740 million.

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