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Bringing the Big Apple to the Forty Acres

Giving News

Bringing the Big Apple to the Forty Acres

By Jamey Smith

With students representing all areas of Texas, every other state, and more than 100 nations, UT is in many ways a microcosm of society. Less than 5 percent of undergraduates are from states other than Texas, however. While not losing sight of the foremost responsibility to serve Texans, the University has tried in recent years to expand its national presence. Since major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York are often trendsetters and opinion leaders for the rest of the country, it is important to draw students from — and have alumni who live and work in — those areas.

It’s a win-win proposition: by attracting highly qualified out-of-state students who will exemplify UT’s excellence upon returning to their home communities, the University can further serve society while enhancing its profile among peer institutions.

David S. MorossIn the case of New York, a highly successful alumnus has lent his assistance. Briton David S. Moross ended up at UT almost by chance in the late 1970s. Just out of school in England, he came to Houston to join family members who had started a business. He accompanied his sister, a Rice University student, for a long weekend in Austin. “We went to the Texas/Rice game,” Moross recalls. “I fell in love with American football and The University of Texas that weekend.”

Moross enrolled soon thereafter and graduated in 1983 with a B.A. in economics. He went on to an illustrious career on Wall Street. In 1998 he co-founded Falconhead Capital, a private equity firm focusing on the leisure, lifestyle, sports, and media sectors. Now he wants to give other non-Texans the chance to experience UT. His charitable foundation has committed $100,000 in seed money to create the Central Park Scholars Program.

“Not enough people appreciate the scale and magnitude of what Texas offers,” he says. “UT is in the league of Harvard and Yale in terms of resources, but the kids who are looking at schools here just don’t think of Texas. It’s a foreign country to them.”

Moross is doing all he can to raise the University’s profile in the Big Apple, not only among business associates, but in high school placement offices. Once the word about UT has spread — and the four-year scholarships his program offers will undoubtedly help on that front — it should become easier to steer young people to the Forty Acres.

“I love and believe in UT, and want to see it achieve its potential,” he says. “If I can walk into a cocktail party and hear The University of Texas mentioned in the same breath as Michigan, Virginia, and Wisconsin, I’ll know I’m succeeding.”

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