Recently, I received a gracious invitation from Professor J. Lee Whittington to give a guest lecture in his leadership class in the Gupta College of Business. J. Lee, as he is known, is an enormously popular teacher and the author of a terrific book on leadership, Biblical Perspectives on Leadership and Organizations.
I have had a chance to meet a significant number of distinguished Gupta alumni, some of whom are members of our Board of Trustees, and have been impressed by the common notes they strike in reflecting on their time at UD. They credit their Gupta education for giving them both the skills they’ve needed for success and the formation in character to understand their lives, including their work, as a calling.
The shared sense of calling to teaching and learning has rarely been as evident as it is now at the University of Dallas. Never in my lifetime has there been a more important moment for the calling of the teacher. Never has it been more important for teachers to be involved in the lives of young people. At UD — where we think the content of what we teach is important for the formation of the intellects, imaginations and hearts of our students — never has what we teach been more needed.
With that mission in mind, we, the faculty and staff of UD, worked for months on a reopening plan for the university, both in Irving and on our Rome campus. It was a great deal of work by many members of our community. So far, we have been quite fortunate. Here’s a quick summary of recent successes:
Our enrollment met or exceeded our goals in both our undergraduate and graduate programs and, so far, our policies and practices for health and safety have proven successful. I am happy to report that with nearly 1,250 tests administered on campus, we have registered six positive cases, four of whom have already recovered.
I am also happy to report that the 2020 Fromers have also made it safely to Due Santi. They arrived 50 years after our first Rome students arrived in the fall of 1970. English professors Gregory Roper, Ph.D., BA ’84, and Andrew Moran, BA ’91 PhD ’04, have co-edited a book to mark this 50th anniversary of the Rome Program.
Strong leadership and great teamwork among faculty, staff and students, along with a sound plan, put us in the best possible position to conduct a successful academic year. The leadership from our seniors in particular has been inspiring. They have taken it upon themselves to stress the need for compliance with healthy practices and safety protocols. They want to have as complete a senior year as possible and are doing everything they can to ensure we can continue in-person instruction. I am delighted to be co-teaching Philosophy and the Ethical Life with my wife, Dr. Stacey Hibbs.
While gifts received in FY20 were up some 24% over the prior year, the current economic and employment downturn will likely have an impact for the foreseeable future. That’s one reason we continue our push for new endowed funds. Sixteen new endowments were established in FY20. Most of them were endowed scholarship funds named for legendary professors. You can read about some of these new funds here. In recent weeks, new endowments have been established for a Rome scholarship and a philosophy scholarship.
We also are creating new non-endowed, or annual, scholarships at an impressive rate. You can read about a few of these new funds here.
Additional funding this year comes to us from a long-standing supporter of UD. The Constantin Foundation has agreed to give significant scholarship and mentoring assistance support for first-generation students at the University of Dallas. In recent weeks, we welcomed the inaugural cohort of Constantin Scholars. The University continues to have increased funding for first-generation scholarships among its advancement priorities.
Finally, this is the week many in our community give to UD in conjunction with North Texas Giving Day (NTGD). The proceeds from our NTGD push will be directed to our General Scholarship Fund, which provides funds that our Director of Financial Aid Taryn Anderson, BA ’07, can disburse to students in need immediately. Your support today can be awarded by Taryn tomorrow, and provide immediate support for our students to achieve success now and into the future!
Thomas S. Hibbs, Ph.D., BA ’82 MA ’83