M. June and J. Virgil Waggoner
The Waggoners of Houston, June and her late husband Virgil, have been strong community supporters and great benefators of UT Austin. Over the years, they have funded a wide range of scientific and socially beneficial reseach at The University, from which Mr. Waggoner earned a master's degree in chemistry in 1950.
In 1997, the Waggoners donated $5 million to found an interdisciplinary institute at UT Austin for the study of the genetic causes of alcohol dependency. The resulting institute, The Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research, has already released evidence of ethanol pathways in the brain, and the strongest evidence to date that alcohols and anesthetics bind to specific sites on proteins in the brain. This knowledge may lead to improved treatment of addiction and better anesthetics.
Mr. Waggoner was a founding member of the College of Natural Sciences Foundation Advisory Council and served as chairman from 1994 to 1996. He was a member of the UT Austin Development Board as well as many other philanthropic University organizations.
The Waggoners' previous donations to the College include more than $1.6 million for the Waggoner Wing of the James and Louise Moffett Molecular Biology Building. The Waggoners have also established four endowments: the M. June and J. Virgil Waggoner Chair in Chemistry, the M. June and J. Virgil Waggoner Chair in Molecular Biology, the M. June and J. Virgil Waggoner Professorships in Molecular Biology and the M. June and J. Virgil Waggoner Endowment for Alcoholism Research.
Beyond UT Austin, the Waggoners have supported homeless programs, scientific advancements and other endeavors, including UT's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Health Science Center in Houston.
Virgil Waggoner began his long and successful career in the petrochemicals industry as an employee of the Monsanto Company, retiring after thirty years as Group Vice President. He then became President of El Paso Products Company. In 1986, Mr. Waggoner and associates founded Sterling Chemicals, Inc., a leading petrochemical product producer for the pulp paper industry in the United States. He retired form Sterling Chemicals in 1996 and became President and CEO of JVW Investments, LTD.
Mr. Waggoner also served on the Board of the National Petroleum Refiners Association, the Board of Directors of the Texas Association of Taxpayers, the Texas Research League, the Good Samaritan Foundation, and many other public service and philanthropic organizations. Mrs. Waggoner serves on the Board of the Trees of Hope and is on the Board of The Houston Council for Alcohol and Drugs.