Dallas-headquartered Texas Instruments has made a $5 million gift to the University of Texas at Dallas. The money will create an endowment to support early career faculty members in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering within the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.
The announcement was made on the school’s Founders’ Day, noting UT Dallas’ 50th anniversary celebration. The gift is the largest single commitment UT Dallas has gotten from TI, which is its oldest supporter.
UTD said the Texas Instruments Early Career Award in Electrical and Computer Engineering is intended to help it attract and retain promising scholars with the potential to become leaders in new and emerging research fields. It will also provide a competitive advantage for recruitment and make the university a destination for sought-after faculty.
“In order to sustain UT Dallas’ incredible growth and success, it is critically important that we expand our faculty with the best available talent,” Dr. Richard C. Benson, president of UT Dallas and the Eugene McDermott Distinguished University Chair of Leadership, said in a statement.
Texas Instruments’ funding to back independent research activities
To be eligible for consideration, faculty members must be in the early stages of their academic careers and must show an ability to compete for extramural funding. If chosen, recipients will get $50,000 a year for up to six years to support any independent research.
“Texas Instruments and UT Dallas have a shared history through our founders, so it is fitting that we honor them and their vision for electrical engineering talent in North Texas with this gift from TI,” TI Chairman, President, and CEO Rich Templeton said in a statement. “It’s our hope that the new endowment, as well as all we do to collaborate with UTD, reflects TI’s desire to see the University maintain engineering as central to its mission and to produce students who are equipped with both technical and entrepreneurial skills and to be a source of great local talent.”
TI and UTD have shared a bond from the beginning.
Before it officially became UTD, three of TI’s founders—Eugene McDermott, Erik Jonsson, and Cecil Green—established the institution in 1961. The trio of visionaries called it the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest, which was meant to create better higher education options after they saw promising young Texans leave the state to pursue their educations. Back then, TI struggled to import out-of-state talent to work at its Dallas-based headquarters.
Then, on June 13, 1969, UT Dallas was founded when then Texas Gov. Preston Smith signed a bill that added the institution to the University of Texas System. The Graduate Research Center became the foundation for the university.
It has since grown into one of the nation’s leading research institutions.
In 2016, UT Dallas was recognized by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as an R1 institution, a classification reserved for doctoral institutions with “very high research activity.” And last year, UTD qualified for funding from the National Research University Fund, which becomes available to emerging research universities in the state upon the attainment of critical benchmark criteria.
UT Dallas said with the new TI Early Career Award endowment, its founding vision of ensuring the recruitment of top engineering talent to the North Texas region is being continued.
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