Giving Back to the Future

A gift from alumnus J. Mike Walker creates countless new opportunities for upcoming mechanical engineers.
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What starts here engineers the future. Faculty and students in The University of Texas at Austin’s J. Mike Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering have new opportunities to learn, discover and collaborate thanks to a world-changing gift of $20 million from the building’s namesake, alumnus J. Mike Walker, M.S. ’68.

“The funding has allowed us to create new faculty positions and recruit new faculty, invest in new equipment and new labs, as well as create new opportunities for both our graduate students and our undergraduate students,” says Associate Professor Michael Cullinan. “The gift has allowed us to broaden and expand to new areas and develop seed grants for faculty so we can start new projects.”

One seed grant is supporting a cross-campus collaboration between the engineering department and the MD Anderson Cancer Center, giving associate professor Emma Fan the opportunity to improve the odds of diagnosing early stages of colon cancer.

“The donation by Mike Walker is a very noble act,” says Fan. “The gift really inspired me and I believe it also inspires my students and my collaborator. We can really work together to make an important impact on society.”

Walker’s legacy of extraordinary generosity and support reflects how meaningful his UT education was on his life and career. By providing even greater opportunities for engineering students and faculty, Walker made an investment that will have an impact for generations, both here in Texas and beyond.

This video is part of World-Changing Gifts, a series highlighting the impact of transformational investments made during UT’s What Starts Here fundraising campaign.

Stories of Impact

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