News Release

For immediate release

News contacts:

Jon Senderling, UTD
(972) 883-2565
[email protected] 


Thanks to Mrs. Margaret McDermott, Hundreds
Of UTD Students Enjoying Dallas Cultural Events

Her Gift Established $1 Million Fund for Student Enrichment Endowment

RICHARDSON, Texas (Oct. 11, 2001) - When Mrs. Margaret McDermott gave The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) $32 million last year, most of that money was designated to establish and maintain UTD’ prestigious Eugene McDermott Scholars Program in honor of her husband, a co-founder of both Texas Instruments (TI) and the research institute that in 1969 became U.T. Dallas.

But Mrs. McDermott also specified that $1 million of those funds be set aside to endow and operate the Carl J. Thomsen Fund for Student Enrichment. The Thomsen Fund, named in honor of another TI senior executive, “Tommy” Thomsen, was to be “used to provide UTD students with tickets to off-campus artistic events such as symphony orchestra concerts, opera performances, theatre performances, chamber music and solo recitals, art exhibitions and the like and to provide for the presentation of similar activities on campus for the benefit of UTD students.”

As a result of Mrs. McDermott’s benevolence and vision, hundreds of students at U.T. Dallas this academic year are attending, at no cost to them, various cultural events throughout the Metroplex - from the Dallas Wind Symphony and the Dallas Opera to the Dallas Theatre Center and the Texas Instruments Classical Series. To date, more than 850 tickets have been given to students.

Dr. Charles W. Leonard, director of the McDermott Scholars Program who also helps administer the Thomsen Fund, said the university set aside half of the money from the fund’s returns this year to purchase tickets to cultural events for the students. The other half of the money will be used to bring artistic events to the UTD campus.

“Some of these students, particularly the freshmen, may never have been exposed to an opera, a play or a symphony concert. These free tickets are giving them a chance to expand their cultural horizons and to appreciate how art can play an important part in their lives,” Leonard said.

UTD Provost Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, who serves as chief administrator of the Thomsen Fund, praised Mrs. McDermott for being one of the “most visionary benefactors both of the university and of the City of Dallas.”

“UTD is gaining increasing recognition as a university that is committed to excellence,” Wildenthal said. “Mrs. McDermott has shared in that commitment from the beginning, and she has helped make much of our success possible. UTD couldn’t ask for a better or wiser friend.”

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 7,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s Web site at

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This page last updated
June 13, 2002