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February 8, 2008

Media Contact: Beverley Golden
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.566.7303 or 903.330.0495 (cell)

Palestine Residents Give $300,000 to UT Tyler Palestine Expansion Campaign

Hugh and Ahnise Summers of Palestine have given a $300,000 gift to aid the construction of a new facility for The University of Texas at Tyler Palestine Campus, President Rodney Mabry announced.

This is one of the two largest gift commitments to the Paving the Way campaign so far.

The Texas Legislature has authorized $7 million in Tuition Revenue Bond funds for the construction of a new state-of-the-art facility.

“This generous gift is greatly appreciated, and we truly thank the Summers for opening their hearts to benefit the deserving students of Palestine and Anderson County,” President Mabry said.

The Summers made the gift in memory of Hugh’s parents, Bailey and Christine Summers, who were strong supporters of education.

“My father went to UT Austin in the early 1930s but ultimately had to drop out because he didn’t have the $25 for tuition. If there had been an educational opportunity in Palestine, he would have been able to stay close to home and work in order to raise the tuition,” Hugh said.

“He just always felt a little bit lacking because he didn’t have the degree,” Ahnise added.

As a result, educational opportunities for his children and grandchildren became very important to him.

The desire to help provide affordable access to education also is important to them, according to Ahnise and Hugh, who met at Austin College. Hugh also holds a degree from University of Houston Law Center.

Ahnise serves on the expansion campaign’s steering committee, and the property on which the future building will be constructed was purchased from the Summers family.

“We have a vested interest in knowing when and how everything will come to fruition,” said Ahnise regarding their involvement in the project.

The UT Tyler Palestine Campus development council announced the public phase of the expansion campaign in September 2007 after receiving significant advance contributions. The development council is working with Texas Area Fund Foundation to collect the gifts.

Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects of Austin are working on preliminary plans for the new facility, which will include a master plan for future expansion.

The UT Tyler Palestine Campus was created in 1995 and serves students from eight surrounding counties.

To make a gift to the Paving the Way campaign, contact Cad Williams, campaign chair, 903.729.6043 or David Barnard, development council chair, 903.723.7291.

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 more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.


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