The kindness of Dr. Jim Vaughn helped The University of Texas at Tyler become the fine comprehensive academic institution that it is today, according to President Rodney Mabry.
Longtime UT Tyler supporter, Dr. Jim Vaughn died July 4, 2007.
“We are extremely saddened by the great loss of our dear friend, Jim Vaughn. His generosity to UT Tyler is greatly appreciated by the students, faculty and community as he was so instrumental in the development of this university,” President Mabry said.
Perhaps one of Dr. Vaughn’s most significant contributions to UT Tyler was his steadfast support for its progression to a comprehensive university. UT Tyler began as an upper-level institution offering junior, senior and graduate level courses. In 1997, the Texas Legislature authorized UT Tyler to become a fully comprehensive institution.
“Dr. Vaughn was a champion for our four-year status, recognizing that it would be beneficial to the East Texas region, and we are so grateful for that support. And since the university’s transformation, we have become one the fastest growing universities in Texas. Dr. Vaughn was such a forward-thinking person, and his giving continues to enrich the lives of our students,” President Mabry added.
The UT Tyler R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center houses the state-of-the-art 2,000-seat Vaughn Auditorium, which is named in honor of Dr. Vaughn and his wife, Bonna Bess. The auditorium opened in 1996 and has been the site of numerous high-caliber speakers and theatrical productions.
The Vaughns continued to support the growth of the university by funding the Jim and Bonna Bess Vaughn recreation and therapy pool at the UT Tyler Herrington Patriot Center. The heated pool features zero-grade beach entry, two-lane lap area, bubble couch and spa with sundeck.
UT Tyler recognized Dr. Vaughn in 1989 with the Patriot of the Year award for his enduring contributions to the advancement of the university and the community.
Dr. Vaughn was a faithful member of UT Tyler’s President’s Associates, Friends of the Arts and Development Board, and supported the Distinguished Lecture Series and Patriot Classic.
He also established the Vaughn Foundation Presidential Scholarship for nursing students.
One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 70 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of nearly 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine