Alumni Endow Scholarships in Politics, Biology
Date published: Dec. 13, 2019
On Friday, Dec. 6, members of the university community gathered to celebrate new scholarship
endowments created by alumni Kurt Matthew Daniel, BA ’74, and his wife, Debra (Bundow)
Daniel, BA ’77. The Drs. Helen & Leo Paul de Alvarez Scholarship in Politics and the
Dr. Frank Doe Scholarship in Biology will benefit, respectively, politics and biology
majors at the University of Dallas.
“Endowed scholarships make possible the ongoing impact of legendary faculty indefinitely
and allow students of the next generations to have the experiences that you two and
I had,” said President Thomas S. Hibbs, Ph.D., BA ’82 MA ’83. “So we are immensely grateful for your generosity and for
your thoughtfulness in honoring two great faculty members at the University of Dallas.
Not only will these scholarships make possible other students coming here, but it's
a way for us to memorialize the great work that's been done by faculty. I think the
University of Dallas is countercultural in lots of good ways. One is that we have
not fallen prey to the kind of cultural amnesia that afflicts so much of what goes
on in America today and in our world. And one of the ways internally that we're deliberate
about this is remembering and honoring the faculty and staff who have helped build
the University of Dallas.”
Associate Professor of Politics and Director of the Politics Graduate Program Richard Dougherty, MA ’89 PhD ’93, remembered the late English professor Helen de Alvarez, Ph.D., and
Professor Emeritus of Politics Leo Paul de Alvarez, Ph.D., from his time as their student as well as their colleague. Helen de Alvarez
was actually responsible for him coming to UD, as she was the graduate director at
the time he applied to the program.
“I remember receiving this, I think, five-page single-spaced letter describing exactly
what the University of Dallas graduate program does,” he said. “And any rational person
who read that would say, ‘That's where I want to be.’”
“Dr. [Leo Paul] de Alvarez could not be here today as he is recovering from a bout
of pneumonia, but he has personally asked me to convey his profound thanks for the
honor accorded to him and Helen,” added Dougherty. “Dr. Helen was, of course, a longtime
University of Dallas English professor who, unfortunately, passed away too young in
2013. But I know she would have been absolutely tickled, especially that former students
would display such thoughtfulness. She would also gently suggest that I not employ
too many run-on sentences.”
He recalled how it took years for him to work up the courage to call Leo Paul de Alvarez
by his first name once they were colleagues; he credits de Alvarez with teaching him
to read a text.
“In my first semester of coursework in graduate school, I remember as if it were yesterday
… being assigned to read Cicero’s De Re Publica. And then attending class on the material where it occurred to me that I must have
read the wrong assignment, for what this professor had to say had seemingly little
correspondence with what I thought I had read,” explained Dougherty. “Or so I thought.
It turns out, of course, that it had little to do with what I thought I read, or what I had read was not the text but what I wanted to read or discover
in the text. Learning to read a text or truly reading a text takes a generous amount
of time and effort, but is immensely liberating. And this we learned from Dr. de Alvarez.”
“First and foremost, he was always a teacher,” added Dougherty. “One could not be
in his classroom for too long without realizing that you were blessed with having
someone whose most profound concern was with understanding the greatest thinkers,
with mining their text for the deepest truths and with conveying that knowledge to
those who were really, we'd have to admit, not quite prepared to receive it. If a
liberal arts education, the kind of education we seek to promote here at the university
— if by that education we commit ourselves to a serious investigation of the unadulterated
truth, as pleasing or as discomfiting as it might be, in Dr. Leo Paul de Alvarez,
we were profoundly blessed with the surest of guides.”
Kurt Daniel was a politics major at UD and thus, like Dougherty, deeply influenced
by the teaching of Leo Paul de Alvarez; Debra Daniel, meanwhile, was a biology major,
and herself deeply influenced by Pre-Health Adviser and Professor Emeritus of Biology
Frank Doe, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Department Chair of Biology William Cody, Ph.D., recalled a current student asking, “Who’s the new guy?” one day after Doe’s
retirement when Doe came to visit, and the student saw him talking with the other
faculty. Cody was floored that this student wouldn’t know the legendary Doe.
“50 years of students had the opportunity to take a class with Dr. Doe,” said Cody.
“So as we move into this generation of students who won't have that opportunity, I
can't think of a more fitting reflection than to have a scholarship named after him
that's going to provide opportunities for undergraduate students.”
“The department would like to thank Dr. Doe for his mentorship, for his guidance,
for sharing his vast knowledge and experiences with us, and for showing us the student
outcomes you can achieve when you're dedicated to your students and generous with
your time,” added Cody. “To the Daniel family, we thank you for your support, especially
for this particular gift of future generations of UD biology majors who will now recognize
the name Frank Doe and the contributions he's made to the university.”
Doe, who was considered one of the premier pre-med advisers in the state, recalled
his joy in working with the students, especially those who would not immediately be
classified as academic stars, but through hard work would turn out that way.
“Some of them might be your doctors now,” he said. “So I just want to say thank you
to you guys; it's wonderful.”
“Debbie and I are very pleased to make these endowment gifts,” said Kurt Daniel. “We
are happy to be present to help celebrate the contributions of Dr. Doe and Drs. Helen
and Leo Paul de Alvarez, who were our teachers. They were also our friends.”
He recalled how the de Alvarezes had been in Rome during his semester there, and he
traveled with them to Florence, getting to know them outside of the classroom.
“Leo Paul’s desire as a teacher was to be invisible between the student and the text,”
he said. “His purpose was to teach us how to read and understand the text. The skills learned through Dr. de Alverez have served me throughout my life.”
Debra Daniel recalled the competitive exam she took that enabled her to come to UD
on scholarship as an undergraduate; she credits UD with shaping her spiritually, intellectually
“I’m delighted we’re able to endow these scholarships,” she said.
“The great mission of this university rests upon its great faculty,” concluded Kurt
Daniel. “The gift that Debbie and I have made, we've made in honor and celebration
of the contributions of Dr. Doe and Drs. Helen and Leo Paul de Alvarez. But we also
feel that by this gift, we're also celebrating this university and all of its faculty,
both past and present.”
To give to the Drs. Helen & Leo Paul de Alvarez Scholarship in Politics or the Dr.
Frank Doe Scholarship in Biology, please visit our existing endowed scholarships page. To create your own endowed scholarship, please contact Jason Wu Trujillo, Vice President
for University Advancement, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-800-0927.