Giving Back by Planning Ahead
When Maidie Ryan, ’01, was a student at UT Law, she took a summer associate position at a law firm where recent graduate Beth Ann Dranguet, ’99, worked. Dranguet was assigned as her mentor for the summer. The assignment stuck — the two have been friends ever since.
“We’ve gone down the same paths,” Dranguet said. “She’s done the same things I have, but just a couple of years behind me.” Both served on the Texas Law Review at UT Law, and after law school, Ryan worked for a time at Dranguet’s former firm. More recently, both have served at separate times on the board of directors for Junior Leagues — Ryan for the Junior League of Houston and Dranguet the Junior League of Austin. Today, Ryan is assistant general counsel and director of compliance for Ascend Performance Materials, a chemical manufacturer. Dranguet is senior counsel and assistant corporate secretary for KBR, a global engineering, construction and services company.
Typically, Dranguet has led the way and Ryan has followed. Recently, however, when it came to giving back to UT Law, it was Ryan who took the lead. As she sat down to plan her estate, Ryan decided to make room in her will for a few organizations and institutions that had made a big impact on her life. UT Law was among them.
“I really love the idea of planned giving because it allows you to tell the university, or your chosen organization, that you have made a commitment to them for the long term,” Ryan said. “I want UT to continue being the excellent university that it currently is, and to grow into a much better university.”
Over the past three years, planned gifts have brought in more than $2.5 million for programs, scholarships and faculty at UT Law. Right now, more than 40 living UT Law graduates around Texas and the U.S. have included the law school in their estate plans.
“The law school appreciates the powerful relationship with, and contributions by, our alumni,” said John Beckworth, associate dean for Administration and Strategic Planning. “It’s particularly gratifying that our young alumni continue to have a great affection for the law school and a desire for a lifetime relationship with it as expressed in their planned gifts.”
When Dranguet heard about Ryan’s planned gift, she had recently taken the job at KBR. Her compensation package included a life insurance policy and she wasn’t sure who to name as a beneficiary.
“I have four brothers and sisters and many nieces and nephews,” Dranguet said. “I couldn’t choose among them, and to divide it among all of them wouldn’t make a difference in their lives. But if I could give it to UT and provide a scholarship to someone who wouldn’t be able to go otherwise, that’s making much more of a difference in someone’s life.”
“I’m in my dream job right now, and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for UT,” Dranguet added.
After years of playing the mentor, it was now Dranguet who has followed in Ryan’s footsteps. “In a perfect mentor/mentee relationship, I think the mentee exceeds and surpasses the mentor, because they can take everything they’ve learned and add all their own wonderful qualities. She’s done that, and I couldn’t be happier about it,” Dranguet said.
— By Michael Agresta