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Multi-Million Dollar Gifts from Mulva, Rowling Families Drive McCombs Education into the Future

UT Tower reflected in the McCombs building's windowsThe education students receive at the McCombs School of Business is set to leap into the future, thanks to a pair of multi-million dollar gifts, both announced within the past year.

A recent pledge from the Mulva Family Foundation and an earlier gift from Robert and Terry Hennersdorf Rowling mean upcoming generations of McCombs students will enjoy new buildings that feature improved spaces for both individual study and team collaboration, easier access to faculty offices and centers, and the most advanced learning technologies. The Mulva and Rowling anchor gifts ensure that Dean Thomas Gilligan's strategic plan continues to gain steam.

The more recent of these two anchor gifts came on Jan. 24, when The University of Texas at Austin announced that the Mulva Family Foundation had made a $40 million multiyear pledge to the business school. That gift is earmarked for the renovation of the Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration Building — to be collectively renamed the James J. and Miriam B. Mulva Hall — upon the consideration and approval of the UT Board of Regents. (The Mulva Foundation also pledged $20 million for construction of a new education and research center for the Cockrell School of Engineering.)

"The University of Texas has been very important to our family. Accordingly, it is also important that we give back and assist in the growth and development of this premier institution," James Mulva, BBA '68, MBA '69, said in a press release announcing the gift.

The Mulvas aren't the only donors whose giving will have a major impact on McCombs. Last March, Dallas businessman Robert Rowling, BBA '76, his wife Terry Hennersdorf Rowling, BBA '76, and their family pledged $25 million to fund the construction of a new 458,000-square-foot graduate business building. The current plans for Robert B. Rowling Hall are based on the extensive input the McCombs community has shared with Ennead Architects' design team. The building design incorporates flexible and interactive learning approaches, top-tier study and teamwork facilities, and increased conference and teaching space — as well as the expanded capacity for executive education and parking.  

The generosity of the Mulva and Rowling families gives significant monetary support to Dean Gilligan's strategic plan, initially laid out in 2009. That plan, developed in coordination with faculty, students, and staff, acknowledged a need to improve McCombs facilities in order to remain competitive with other prominent business schools. "We expect that this plan will propose major renovations, new buildings, or both," the Dean wrote.

The Mulva and Rowling gifts will also inspire other donors. "A naming grant for a university building is a bit like an anchor tenant in a shopping center: it's incredibly important in its own right, but it's also important because it provides validation for the project and a foundation for other contributions that follow to build upon," David Platt, associate dean for undergraduate programs at McCombs, wrote in an email announcing the Mulva gift to students. "We will need to raise a lot more money before we can start this renovation, but this is a huge step in that direction."

Although current students will not get to attend classes in the new buildings, they will still enjoy great benefits. As noted in Platt's email to current students, "there is tremendous value in this for the strength of the brand that you will wear proudly for the rest of your life."

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