September 6, 2017
Dear UT Community,
I am writing to you today with outstanding news about our university.
UT System Regent and telecommunications pioneer Steve Hicks has provided a gift of $25 million to UT Austin’s School of Social Work. It is one of the largest gifts ever given to a school of social work at a public university, and it will be used to provide financial aid for social work students and transform the education they receive.
As of today, the school will be named the Steve Hicks School of Social Work to recognize his generosity and commitment. And this magnificent gift comes at a time when our state needs the skills and abilities of social workers more than ever before.
The effects of Hurricane Harvey will be with us for many years to come. And as the people of Houston, the Gulf Coast and southeast Texas rebuild and restore their communities, they will rely upon the guidance and expertise of social workers. Steve Hicks’ gift will help our UT Austin social work students go into these communities and make an impact. They will change lives. They will help our state heal.
Steve’s professional career has been in business, and in addition, he truly understands the critical role that social workers play in the world and the sacrifices that come with their work. That’s why he committed $10 million of his gift to financial aid for students — so that they can focus on their education without the worry and burden of debt. He is also providing $5 million in matching funds to encourage others to help finance scholarships for students. We have already had donors step forward and give $1 million toward the match. I hope many other Longhorns will join us in supporting our social work students.
Furthermore, his gift will also fund a partnership between the Steve Hicks School of Social Work and the Dell Medical School to serve those challenged by addiction and train social workers to become skilled in the nonprofit world of fundraising and development. Steve has invested in the future of our students and our society, and for that, we are truly grateful.
Students, faculty members, staff members, alumni and friends of UT Austin will walk by our school of social work and be reminded of Steve Hicks and his leadership and devotion to helping others. The naming of a school is an honor that we bestow on a select few. It’s a fitting tribute to Steve Hicks — one of our greatest champions.
Gregory L. Fenves