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UNT alumnus pledges largest gift in university history

September 12th, 2011 Posted in Alumni News

A pledge of $22 million from entrepreneur and alumnus Charn Uswachoke  – the largest gift in UNT history – was announced Aug. 15 in Denton and Bangkok. The pledge gift focuses on enhancing UNT’s already outstanding student experience while elevating UNT’s prominence in music, engineering and business.

“I wanted to help the next generation have a better education so that we all can have a better world,” Uswachoke, said. “UNT is a top-quality school and continues to grow and strengthen as it expands into new areas.”

President V. Lane Rawlins said Uswachoke’s pledge is significant for its size, breadth and unmitigated support of the university’s quest for excellence in providing a student-focused, high quality education and growing as a major public research university.

Some of Uswachoke’s pledged gift dollars are expected to qualify for matching funds under the state’s program to help emerging research universities, such as UNT, become national research universities, which would further boost the impact of his pledge.

Uswachoke’s $22 million pledge will be divided among UNT’s world-renowned College of Music, the College of Engineering and the College of Business.

The College of Music will receive $10 million:

   • $5 million for endowed professorships and chairs in music

   • $3 million to fund touring and recording opportunities for students

   • $2 million for highly sought-after, competitive scholarships in music

The College of Engineering will receive $6.5 million:

   • $5 million to create the Charn Uswachoke Center for Energy Efficient Materials, a center
     that will help UNT and its materials science and engineering department become a leader
     in energy-related materials research.

   • $1.5 million to create an endowed professorship in materials science and engineering to
     attract a top researcher to head the center.

The College of Business will receive $5.5 million:

   • $5 million to fund the Charn Uswachoke Scholarships for Study Abroad for undergraduate
     and MBA students

   • $500,000 to establish the Charn Uswachoke Graduate Suite in the new Business
     Leadership Building

Previously, Uswachoke donated $1 million in 1995, the largest cash gift up to that time. He quickly followed with a $1.2 million gift that same year. The gifts supported music, business and international endeavors.

“These types of gifts are so important to a university’s sustained growth,” said Lisa Baronio, vice president for advancement and director of development for the UNT Foundation. “They allow us to build on and maintain our rich history of excellence.”

For more, visit

Photo by Luke Duggleby/Bangkok.

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