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Dan and Peggy Pitts

How a blended gift multiplied a Round Rock couple’s impact

Dan Pitts worries about talented college students who get caught in a financial no-man’s-land — those whose parents make too much money to qualify for aid but not enough to fully pay for their education.

“I was in that middle group,” says Pitts, a 1983 UT marketing graduate.

So Pitts and his wife, Peggy, created a scholarship to help students like him.

“I’ve always had it in my heart to want to give back,” he says. “The passion I have for this school is hard to put into words.”

The Round Rock couple has given what is known as a blended gift — they have given outright during their lifetimes and have a planned gift in place for after they’re gone. Their outright gifts created the Dan and Peggy Pitts Endowed Scholarship in the McCombs School of Business. For their planned gift, they designated UT as the beneficiary of an IRA. Their IRA gift will be added to their existing endowment, allowing for even greater impact on students at the McCombs School.

“I’ve always felt like UT treated me so well here, and the quality of education was outstanding,” Dan says. “All my friends went to school here, so it’s always been kind of a family experience for me. Part of the endowment process and the estate planning was just to continue that family relationship.”

Formerly a business unit executive at IBM, Dan is now a financial account executive with Experian. Peggy, a former schoolteacher, works as a program coordinator for UTeach in the College of Natural Sciences.

For Peggy, a graduate of the University of North Texas, it didn’t take long after she married Dan in 2002 for burnt orange to flow through her veins and those of her two children.

“He changed us all into Longhorns,” she says.

Now empty nesters, the parents of four still had children at home when they established their endowed scholarship in 2006. With a little extra forethought they were able to balance providing for their family with giving to UT.

“We’re planners,” Peggy says.

Dan and Peggy were able to make their gift go further through a matching-gift program with IBM, Dan’s employer at the time. Many employers offer matching-gift programs; to see if you qualify, contact your Human Resources department or go to matchinggifts.com/utexas/.

“The process was easy,” Dan says.

Sarah Haas is this year’s recipient of the Pitts scholarship; Matthew McCabe was last year’s. Haas will receive a bachelor’s in Plan II and a master in professional accounting when she graduates this year; McCabe earned his MPA last year. Both says the Pitts scholarship allowed them to focus on academics and passing the CPA exam.

“I can avoid taking out a lot of loans and also having to work full time while I’m in school,” says Haas, who has a job waiting for her in Houston when she graduates.

For McCabe, now an accountant in Dallas, there were other benefits, too.

“It helped me further realize how important it is to give back,” he says.

Someday he hopes to do the same.

“People are coming out of school with a lot of debt,” he says. “If I can give back and help them fulfill their dreams, it would be awesome.”

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