Access Driving Excellence

A new cohort of Linford Scholars is starting their studies in the Cockrell School of Engineering thanks to a transformative investment from Michael and Erika Linford.
Linford Scholars

Members of the inaugural class of Linford Scholars gathered this spring to celebrate with Michael and Erika Linford.

Last September, Sarah Gruber and Christopher Brinkley were taking their first steps into college life at The University of Texas at Austin — finding their classes, meeting new friends, exploring the city, and everything else that generations of Longhorns have done in their first year on the Forty Acres.

Both Sarah and Christopher were drawn to UT by the Cockrell School of Engineering, and both enrolled in the Chandra Family Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “I want to do something where I can be hands-on and physically fix and build things,” Christopher says. “To me, that’s the most fun part of engineering.” Sarah is equally hands-on — she built her first computer from scratch at 15 and considers herself the family IT specialist.

That’s not all these promising young engineers have in common. They are also members of a special group of students: the first cohort of the Cockrell School’s Linford Scholars.

Linford Scholars are a group of outstanding, high-potential Texas Engineering students who are Pell Grant-eligible. Nearly 100 first-year students were part of the inaugural cohort of scholars in fall 2022, and as they enter their sophomore years, another cohort of new Linford Scholars are starting their first year at UT.

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The program is named for Cockrell School alumnus Michael Linford, B.S. ’05, and his wife Erika, who made a transformational gift to establish a scholarship endowment that supports students from low- and middle-income families starting their engineering journeys. Their investment is already making a difference in the Linford Scholars’ UT experiences.
“Our goal through these scholarships is to support students with the skills, experiences and potential to change the world for the better. We hope that access to the best education in the world continues to expand to the best students.”
Michael & Erika Linford
“Instead of having to work all the time, I can explore more opportunities, join clubs, volunteer, learn more skills,” Sarah says.

“We are so grateful to Michael and Erika for this incredible gift to Texas Engineering,” Roger Bonnecaze, dean of the Cockrell School, says. “This investment will change the lives of so many of our students, removing the financial barriers to receiving an engineering education.”

“Students shouldn’t have to skip out on an education simply because they don’t have the financial means,” Michael and Erika Linford say. “Our goal through these scholarships is to support students with the skills, experiences, and potential to change the world for the better. We hope that access to the best education in the world continues to expand to the best students.”

“My scholarship has drastically changed my college experience. I don’t have to worry about when or how I’m going to get a textbook. I don’t have to work 40 hours a week to make ends meet, so I have enough time to study. My major requires me to be involved 100%, and with my scholarship I’m able to do that.”

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Linford Scholar
Sophomore, Electrical and Computer Engineering/Engineering Honors
Hometown: Pflugerville
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Linford Scholar
Sophomore, Electrical and Computer Engineering/Engineering Honors
Hometown: Pflugerville
CTW SeptOct Web Assets LinfordScholars Favour

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