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The Power of Education

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And what it means to Julius and Suzan Glickman


By Suzan Glickman’s count, there are four generations of Longhorns in her family—her mother, herself, her son, and her grandson. Austin Glickman is 11. “He’s been dressed in burnt orange since birth,” says her husband, Julius. “We’re thoroughly indoctrinating our grandchildren shamelessly on UT.”

School spirit aside, there’s an important subtext in play. “We try to do that as a way to just say how important education is to living—not just getting a vocation but getting a life to go with the vocation,” Julius says.

The Glickmans’ belief in the power of education doesn’t stop with family. Already prolific UT donors, the Houston pair recently added a sweeping bequest that benefits myriad causes across the Forty Acres. Primary beneficiaries are the colleges where the Glickmans received their degrees: Education and Liberal Arts. Suzan majored in elementary education while former student body president Julius spent his undergraduate years in Plan II before tackling law school. The Texas Exes just named him a Distinguished Alumnus.

“UT is one of the best educational institutions in the country and by far the best in the state of Texas,” says Julius. “We can hopefully give people greater opportunities by giving to UT than we could anywhere else. We think that’s where the money can make the most impact.”

And the impact of education on society, says Suzan, is huge. “You can educate or you can incarcerate,” she says, but either way, “you’re going to spend the dollars.”

Through the decades the Glickmans have worked for the university in numerous volunteer capacities, serving on advisory councils and advocating for important initiatives. And Julius has spoken twice at commencement ceremonies—in 2004 for Plan II and 2010 for the entire College of Liberal Arts. “The leadership contributions of the Glickmans, which have already had a profound effect on this campus, are going to continue to help us build excellence in the decades ahead,” says Dean Randy Diehl of the College of Liberal Arts.

Nor is it mere coincidence that Suzan led the College of Education Advisory Council during the college’s ascent to the top of the public school rankings, where U.S. News & World Report has placed it for the past two years. “She helped us build the momentum to get there,” says Education Dean Manuel Justiz. “Suzan has a very strong sense of what needs to be done, and she’s right in terms of the issues that we need to address.”

Julius and Suzan Glickman

The bulk of the Glickmans’ bequest will support the Forty Acres Scholars Program, UT’s prestigious new full-ride scholarship, which is designed to bring the nation’s most talented students to Texas. The bequest will fund 10 Forty Acres scholarships, including three in the College of Education and three for Plan II students in the College of Liberal Arts.

“Getting the best and the brightest students is one of the names of the game, and that’s the way to do it,” Suzan says. “If we’re going to be in competition with Yale and Harvard, then that’s who we want to go after—the cream of the crop.”

The couple’s bequest also will make possible a conference center in the College of Liberal Arts’ new building and will support ethics and leadership programming in the School of Undergraduate Studies.

“I think it’s a very important, very valuable gift,” says Paul Woodruff, who as the former Undergraduate Studies dean spent the past several years fulfilling the Commission of 125’s mandate to enhance the first-year experience for UT students. He is now working on a concept for a new center at the school that will research and teach practical ethics. “A large tangle of ethical questions awaits our graduates in real life, and our university should be preparing students to deal with those questions.”

The Glickmans’ UT philanthropy has always reflected their wide-ranging interests. They have given to the Blanton Museum of Art and have created fellowships and lectureships across campus. The two-year Julius Glickman Public Interest Fellowship in the School of Law provides an annual stipend to a recent law graduate to work with a public-interest legal organization on behalf of underrepresented individuals or groups.

“You give back in part as a debt to those who helped you,” Julius says. “We want to make it possible for others to have the same opportunities that we had.”

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