Jamail Gift Announcement
Remarks by President Bill Powers
Monday, May 12, 2008
Good morning, everyone. I am Bill Powers, president of The University of Texas at Austin. We are here today to announce an extraordinary gift to our university by an extraordinary friend.
Thank you all very much for joining us this morning to celebrate this outstanding gift and to thank the remarkable man who has done so much for this university and the state of Texas.
The gift is from Joe Jamail. And it is for $15 million.
Joe’s gift will create endowments in Law, Nursing, and Undergraduate Studies:
- The Law School will receive $10 million to create a Faculty Excellence Endowment to support faculty recruiting and retention.
- The School of Nursing will receive $2.5 million, also to create an endowment to support faculty recruiting and retention. The endowment will also support Nursing doctoral students.
- Undergraduate Studies will receive $2.5 million to create an endowment to fund an advising center for prospective students and first-year students.
In gratitude for the truly exceptional generosity of Joe and his late wife, Lee, we are naming this historically significant room – Main 212 – in honor of Lee Jamail. The Athletics Department will fund our renovation of this room, and it will forever be known as “The Lee Hage Jamail Academic Room.”
Lee was a UT graduate, a civic leader and philanthropist, and one of the foremost supporters of education, health care, and the arts in Texas. For six years, she served on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, chairing its health affairs committee. In 1998 she received the UT Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Lee grew up in Austin, near the University. She once said that her “most vivid memory of UT as a child is probably discovering the rare book collection. The University was part of my life growing up.”
That rare book collection was two floors up, in what is now my office. And so it is fitting that we name this room in honor of the young girl who found a fascinating world of learning right here in the Main Building.
We miss Lee. But she lives on in our memories – and now as a visible part of UT, forever.
Joe, we are enormously grateful for your generosity. I can’t thank you enough for the trust you have placed in us. “Thank you” seems hardly enough. But “thank you” is what we feel. So Joe Jamail, on behalf of the entire UT family, “thank you.”
For three decades, Joe and Lee Jamail have been remarkably generous to many areas of UT– including Athletics, the Colleges of Fine Arts, Communication, Liberal Arts, Natural Sciences, Education, the School of Nursing, the Harry Ransom Center, and the Texas Exes. I am proud to say that Joe Jamail is a dear friend of mine. He is also a dear friend of this great university and we honor him today for his dedication and generosity across the broad expanse of the 40 Acres.
Here to say a few words about Joe Jamail is the Lieutenant Governor of the Great State of Texas, the Honorable David Dewhurst. Governor, it’s an honor to have you on our campus.
And now it is my privilege to introduce the guest of honor today. Joe Jamail is one of the nation’s preeminent attorneys. He holds a bachelor’s degree and law degree from UT, and he is the recipient of our Distinguished Alumnus Award. Over the years, as Joe and Lee chose areas to support at UT Austin, each gift meant something to them personally. Sometimes their gift meant a new opportunity where opportunity was needed. Sometimes it advanced research that would improve lives. Sometimes it opened a door to students where doors had once been closed. In every case, their gift made us a stronger university. It made a difference to Texas and usually farther beyond. Today’s gifts will continue the Jamail legacy and make a difference far into our future.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome a man who believes that what starts here changes the world – Joe Jamail.
Thank you all for joining us on this extraordinary day in the life of The University of Texas at Austin.
That concludes our press conference. Thank you all for coming.
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