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Students Say Thanks to UT’s Many Donors

Giving News

Whether learning through unparalleled hands-on research programs or participating in life-changing opportunities to grow as leaders and individuals, every Longhorn benefits from philanthropy in some unique way.

Thanks Day is an annual event that Students Hooked on Texas, a philanthropy organization at the university, puts on each November. The mission of the event is twofold: to extend a heartfelt, Texas-sized acknowledgment to the tens of thousands of donors who support UT each year, and to give students in the organization an opportunity to educate their peers about UT’s funding structure and the importance of philanthropy on the Forty Acres.

Thanks Day

Students come together once a year to thank all the donors who support hands-on learning, research, and more at UT.

For the seventh anniversary of the event this past November, the students held a Thanks Day festival and invited their classmates to celebrate the 90,002 alumni and friends who collectively gave more than $347 million to the university in the 2015-16 academic year.

Participants had the opportunity to write messages to donors and post photos to social media using the hashtag #UTThanksDay. Many walked away with a newfound appreciation for the impact of alumni and friends on the student experience.

With more than $48 million pledged for student support in 2015-16, and 7,274 students benefiting from endowed scholarships, there was no shortage of volunteers to share what philanthropy has meant to them personally.

Alumni and friends donated $48 million to UT for student support in the 2015-16 academic year.

Alumni and friends donated $48 million to UT for student support in the 2015-16 academic year.

Biology senior Will Wood said it allowed him to host an after-school program teaching underprivileged kids about science. Advertising senior Lizzie Cook gushed about getting to attend an arts conference in New York, calling it one of the highlights of her college career.

Donations helped send junior Cat Cardenas and other journalism majors to Rio de Janeiro for the Summer Olympics; the students gained invaluable experience producing content for the games’ official site as well as other outlets across Texas and the nation.

Natural Sciences junior Bridget Harter, meanwhile, spent her summer conducting plant biology research in the Department of Integrative Biology’s Juenger Lab, which is studying switchgrass as a biofuel candidate.

The Thanks Day effort underscores the fact that tuition and fees alone account for less than a quarter of UT’s budget. Says Cardenas, “UT wouldn’t be as great a university as it is without its donors.”

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