Texas Leader Spotlight

Meet University of Texas at Austin alumni who are changing the world through philanthropy and careful estate planning.

George Polansky, B.S. Pharmacy ’71 and Barbara Polansky

Weatherford, TX

What is your favorite UT memory? 

It is the small things that I remember: putting my feet in the dinosaur footprints in front of the Texas Memorial Museum, walking nature trails on beautiful days, intramural sports at Gregory Gym, the camaraderie with students and the exchanges with the professors. I got a true feeling of community at UT.  

How did UT prepare you for success? 

Not only did UT give me the knowledge to become a pharmacist — because some people would say that is enough — they also gave me the tools to grow in my career and eventually oversee 380 pharmacies.  

Why did you choose to include UT in your estate plan?  

We want the money we earned throughout our careers to have a larger impact. My dad said, “Intelligence is not measured by what we know, but by how we communicate what we know.” In our eyes, UT is the epitome of education — the faculty communicates well and helps our future leaders develop their skills.    

What impact do you want your gift to make?  

We feel that a small seed can germinate into a large oak with many branches. Every student is a seed, and UT cultivates each seed to change the world. We want to be a part of making that possible. We have a lot of a faith in higher ed and specifically in UT.

Hugh Reeves B. J. ’69 and
Becky Reeves M.P.H. ’93,
Dr. PH.’95, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Fredericksburg, TX

What is your favorite UT memory?  

Hugh: I was a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity, and one of our service projects was to carry the world’s largest Texas flag onto the field at Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium before the start of the football games.  At that time, APO was also the official tour guide organization for the university, and I had the opportunity to lead tours and show dignitaries around campus. I even had the chance to take them up to the Tower observation deck. 

Becky: Graduation was my favorite memory, especially my doctoral graduation. When they placed my hood on my graduation robe, that was the ultimate moment.  

How did UT prepare you for success? 

Hugh: It is a door-opener for sure. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere — that is what Texas did for me. UT gave me the confidence and assurance that whatever I wanted to do in life, I had the skills to do it.  

Becky: The doctorate in public health from UT Health Houston opened up many opportunities that I otherwise would not have experienced. UT Health broadened my knowledge of how to analyze data and apply that information. I am very grateful for the opportunity I had to finish my degrees there. 

Why did you decide to include UT in your estate plans? 

We were looking for a way to create a legacy. We don’t have our names on any buildings in Houston and we don’t have any children, so this is one way that we could help change the world. It is our way to say thank you to UT for what we were able to achieve with our degrees.  

What impact do you want your gift to make?  

Community has always been an important part of our lives, and the university is part of our community. We want UT to be able to continue to educate bright students and for them to have the same opportunities that we experienced.  

Dr. Jim Richter, B.S. Chemistry ’72, and Dr. Claudia Richter, B.S.Chemistry ’73

Winchester, MA

What is your favorite UT memory?

We met in an advanced inorganic chemistry class. As lab partners we started at least one fire, which was only average. Then we met again 18 months later at UT Southwestern.

How did UT prepare you for success?

We were at UT during the peak of the Vietnam unrest, which profoundly affected our experiences. The faculty were not only superior intellects but also warm and engaging. They taught us to work hard and to be diligent in our pursuit of knowledge and truth. Their example challenged us both in and outside of the classroom. 

Why did you choose to give to UT through your estate?

UT says, “What starts here changes the world.” And we believe them. We feel that our contributions to UT are a way to repay the debt we owe, both individually and as a family, for all the ways we’ve benefitted from our educations.

What impact do you want your gifts to make?

Health care is a science, humanity and social institution. It is too important and complex to be governed by tradition and opinion. The state of Texas and the world need clear, testable information to help inform our decisions and better care for all of us, especially those who can’t care for themselves. Our gifts to both the LBJ School of Public Affairs and Dell Medical School support this work.

Both Jim and Claudia are faculty members at Harvard Medical School and hold appointments at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard’s largest teaching hospital. Jim also serves as director of gastroenterology quality management at the hospital and Claudia is the medical director of Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston.

When you include UT in your estate plan, you create global leaders, drive discovery and change the world. You also protect assets, provide for those you love and receive tax-wise benefits.

Texas Leader Magazine

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