John Tippit finds inspiration in giving back.
John Tippit was already a seasoned philanthropist when he arrived at UT four years ago.
During his youth, his mother, a lawyer who served on the school board in McAllen, Texas, encouraged her three sons to give back to their community. He and his brothers picked up trash during annual Keep McAllen Beautiful drives, and Tippit spent time in high school mentoring a third-grade student, a fifth-grade class, and children with disabilities.
As a sophomore at UT he joined the Texas Wranglers, a student organization that performs service projects for the Austin community. Through the Texas Wranglers, Tippit mentored an elementary school student with whom he established a strong mutually beneficial bond. “Giving back to that student, being his mentor for a year, was something I truly cherished,” says Tippit. “It inspired me to do something better and to be a role model.”
He also participated in the Texas Wranglers’ annual City Wide Hold Up, which raises about $30,000 annually for Easter Seals of Central Texas; a benefit for Haiti earthquake victims that raised $60,000; and Pancakes for Parkinson’s, an event in honor of former UT Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. James Vick that brought in $55,000 for The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Horns Helping Horns, which funds school and living supplies for students who lack parental support, was a natural fit for the Texas Wranglers, a group with stringent admittance requirements based on leadership, athletic, and academic abilities rather than on economic status. The April 16 event raised more than $25,000 for the organization.
It would seem challenging enough to juggle school and Texas Wranglers commitments, but Tippit is also a member of the Texas Cowboys, a group that provides volunteer assistance at major campus events. In addition he took part in Thanks Day, a Students Hooked on Texas event that gives students the opportunity to thank parents, the government, and the University for helping fund students’ educations.
Tippit graduated in spring 2011 with a BBA in investment management and finance from the McCombs School of Business. He credits his philanthropic contributions, which have included both monetary gifts and volunteer work, with greatly enhancing his college experience and encourages other students to find ways to give back.
“It’s important to start making monetary gifts, but you can also give your time and your influence,” says Tippit. “You can actually get involved, get dirty, and make something happen. Take a leadership role and host a big event that people will remember and that goes toward a good cause.
“It’s not just about going to school and getting the grades. It’s about looking at your surroundings, seeing what’s going on in the world, and seeing how you can make a difference and make it better.”
The University will continue to be part of Tippit’s life. “I definitely plan to keep giving back, whether it’s coming back to the University to help with events or giving back monetarily,” says Tippit. “I plan to keep doing that for as long as I can.”