Ex-ConocoPhillips CEO Gives UT-Austin $60 Million

On Friday, the University of Texas at Austin will announce a $60 million gift from the Mulva Family Foundation to support the university's McCombs School of Business and Cockrell School of Engineering.

It's the latest and largest in a spate of major gifts from private philanthropists. In 2013, the Moody Foundation gave $50 million gift for the creation the Moody College of Communication. The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation provided $50 million for the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as $10 million to support local health care access.

According to a university press release, the Mulvas' gift will put the university at about $2.7 billion in donations toward its $3 billion capital campaign goal. It will result in the naming of James J. and Miriam B. Mulva Hall at the McCombs School and the James J. and Miriam B. Mulva Conference Center and Auditorium at the Engineering Education and Research Center, which is scheduled to be completed in 2017.

As far as the recognition is concerned, Jim Mulva told the Tribune, "That’s not that important to us or our family foundation, but I think the university likes to recognize people who help and support the university because it’s a nice thing to do but it also gets other alums and people to help and support the university as well."

Mulva received his bachelor's and master's degree from UT-Austin and then joined the U.S. Navy, where he was stationed in Bahrain. While there, he met fellow enlisted man Bill Powers, who years later would become the president of his alma mater. Mulva went on to become the chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips.

One-third of the Mulvas' donation will go toward the university's new Engineering Education and Research Center. The balance will be put toward renovations at the McCombs School, pending approval by the University of Texas System Board of Regents.

"Our family has been blessed, so we feel it’s important to give back to the university," Mulva said. "To the extent that we’re capable, it’s important to give back to a good academic research institution like UT."

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