Philanthropic Updates from The University of Texas at Dallas

Alumnus Energizes Esports with Gift To Name Arena

By Daniel Steele  |  February 3, 2020

DANIEL SHEN BS’10 grew up playing video games with his older brother, and gaming remained a significant part of his life while at The University of Texas at Dallas, when he competitively played World of Warcraft.

Now, Shen is supporting the burgeoning esports program at UT Dallas. His $100,000 gift named the new Sector 7 Energy UT Dallas Esports Gaming Arena, a facility in the Student Union where the esports teams train and play.

“Watching it evolve into what it is today is very fascinating. A decade ago when I attended UTD, you couldn’t fathom any university adopting esports as part of its athletics program, let alone recognizing it as something good for students or athletes,” said Shen, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. He founded the Plano-based energy-consulting firm Sector 7 Energy in 2015.

UT Dallas’ esports program launched in the fall of 2018 and currently fields teams in three games: League of Legends, Overwatch and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Shen said he is proud that UT Dallas is at the forefront of the development of this industry. He hopes his first gift to the University will help propel the program’s expansion and the teams’ achievements in league matches.

The 24-seat esports arena has four 80-inch TVs for match viewing, a cubicle for the coach, Alienware Gaming PCs and custom chairs.

“The space is incredible,” Shen said. “I expected it to be simpler, but they’ve made an actual arena on campus with professional equipment.”

Greg Adler, UT Dallas’ first esports coach, believes that Shen’s gift will help drive the new program’s success and recognition.

“We are extremely thankful to receive this gift from Sector 7 and Daniel Shen and are so appreciative of the support they have given to our program,” Adler said. “It’s amazing to see how much current and past students care about esports at UT Dallas, and Daniel is helping us show the world the power that a program like this can have.”

Relevance: Momentum