Margaret McDermott


"I believe that our founders would be proud of how the University that they envisioned has evolved, and for years, Margaret McDermott has been a driving force in fulfilling that vision. She was the brilliant and benevolent philanthropist who challenged us to continuously reach new heights of success."

— Dr. Richard C. Benson, UT Dallas President

Through visionary leadership and support, the University's pre-eminent private benefactor helped transform UT Dallas

Born and raised in Dallas, the late Margaret McDermott made a series of transformational gifts to The University of Texas at Dallas from 1995 to 2017. A champion of education and research, McDermott made a historical impact not only on UT Dallas, but also on educational and arts institutions in the Metroplex.

McDermott was the wife of Eugene McDermott, who founded the company that became Texas Instruments with Erik Jonsson and Cecil Green. The three partners established the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest, which became UT Dallas in 1969.

After her husband died in 1973, McDermott carried on the McDermott Foundation, which helped support the Dallas Museum of Art, the Dallas Symphony, the Dallas Opera and the UT Southwestern Medical Center, among others.

Her first major gift to the University came in 2000, when she established the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program with an endowment of $32 million. She was also responsible for an overhaul of the University’s campus, contributing more than $50 million to the design and implementation of features like the reflecting pools, the magnolia trees and the Margaret McDermott Mall and Trellis Plaza.

In 2009, McDermott made the first major gift to UT Dallas that qualified for TRIP matching, amounting to more than $14 million. Her support continued with the appointment of UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson in 2016, when she made a culminating gift of $25 million toward the construction of the new engineering and science buildings and a planned arts complex.

In all, McDermott has contributed more than $154 million to UT Dallas, a philanthropic gesture that will continue to transform the University as it grows.