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Alumnus Creates Graduate Fellowship in Honor of President Powers

Campaign News

By Kathleen Mabley
Office of Graduate Studies

A $1 million gift from Dr. Steven Ungerleider, a renowned sports psychologist in Oregon, has established the William C. Powers Graduate Fellowship to support excellence in graduate education across the University. Ungerleider, who received a BA in psychology in 1970 from the University while competing as a gymnast, is creating the fellowship to help attract top graduate students from around the world. The first cohort of Powers Graduate Fellows will enter UT this fall.

“We have an absolute gem here with the University,” says Ungerleider, “and we have a visionary sitting in the president’s office. I wanted to honor both.” He facilitated the gift through the Foundation for Global Sports Development, an outreach and mentorship educational fund for which he is a trustee.

UT President William Powers Jr.

UT President William Powers Jr.

“We are indebted to Dr. Ungerleider for this generous gift,” says UT President William Powers Jr. “He clearly understands the importance of graduate students to the success of our university. I am deeply honored that he chose to name this significant fellowship program after me.”

Despite receiving his master’s and doctor’s degrees from another institution, Ungerleider says he chose UT for his gift to support the president’s goal of becoming the top public research institution in the country. “When I asked the president what I could do to help him reach his goal, he talked about the importance of supporting graduate students at the University,” says Ungerleider. “He shared that while many top students want to attend UT Austin and work with our renowned faculty, we lose some of the best because they are offered better financial packages at other institutions.”

To learn more about graduate education at the University, Ungerleider examined its most prestigious graduate fellowship program, the Donald D. Harrington Graduate Fellowship, and met with several Harrington graduate fellows. He was impressed with the model of supporting the very best students with a multi-year package and providing a community of mentors and peers to enhance the graduate experience. Ungerleider said he wants to create another fellowship program to honor the academic excellence of the next generation and continue the practice of graduate students developing their own expertise under the mentorship of seasoned faculty.

“In 2010, the Graduate School will celebrate its 100-year anniversary and will look toward the future of graduate education at the University,” says Victoria Rodríguez, vice provost and dean of graduate studies. “This inspiring gift is vital to fulfilling our vision of attracting the highest quality students to the Graduate School.”

Author of six books, Ungerleider holds master’s and doctor’s degrees from the University of Oregon. He is a licensed psychologist at Integrated Research Services, Incorporated, in Eugene, Oregon. Since 1984 Ungerleider has served on the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry and has consulted with a number of international sport federations.

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