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at texas July/August 2010

Grow your nest egg, not your tax bill How a gift to UT Austin can ease the tax burden of converting your IRA

Starting this year, there are no income

limits for people converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. For those seeking the advantages of a Roth IRA — no tax on future earnings, greater flexibility in withdrawals — the tax cost of converting your IRA may be offset by a charitable gift from other assets to The University of Texas at Austin. Switching from a tax-deferred account now may be wise because taxes are likely to increase, not decrease, in coming years. If you convert your IRA in

2010, you’ll pay lower income taxes and — as the economy recovers — your income can grow in a tax-free account. Meanwhile, you can reduce your taxable income by supporting what you love at The University of Texas at Austin. Read more at or contact the Gift Planning team at or 866-488-3927 to discuss your situation.

The University of Texas at Austin does not provide legal, tax, or financial advice. Consequently we urge you to seek the advice of your own legal, tax, or financial professionals in connection with gift and planning matters.

Contents P h i l a n t h r o p y

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COVER PHOTO BY randal ford; Contents photo by Mark Rutkowski

Al and Doris Hagedorn, subjects of this issue’s feature story, join UT president Bill Powers to celebrate the creation of a scholarship endowment in memory of Doris’ grandfather.

perfect match for ut How a corporate matching program extends the reach of one family’s giving horns of plenty What private giving is making possible higher learning Doctoral student Reeja Jayan helps unleash the power of the sun

Reprinted from

July/August 2010


Philanthropy at Texas

perfect match for UT

How a corporate matching program extends the reach of one family’s giving By Tod Francis


or Al Hagedorn, BS ’61, PhD ’64, and his daughter Karen, BS ’86, giving to the University has been something of a family custom. Both father and daughter earned petroleum engineering degrees. (Karen has an MS and PhD in the same field from Stanford.) Both have established endowments at UT along with Al’s wife, Doris, and other daughter, Deanna Kanady, BBA ’86. Like the entire Hagedorn

family, Al and Karen are Texas Exes Life Members. And the two share one other important attribute: they’re members of the ExxonMobil family, a link that has helped them significantly enhance what they can do to support their alma mater. Al knows firsthand how financial assistance can help transform a student’s life. “I had no plans to go to college because my family couldn’t afford it,” he

says. Instead he worked a few years after high school before joining the Air Force. Al returned home after his military service and enrolled at UT with the assistance of the GI Bill. Additionally, he had help from small scholarships throughout his undergraduate career. He was able to continue his graduate education with the aid of a three-year Ford Education Foundation Fellowship.

facing page, from top: Doris, Al, Karen, and Deanna Hagedorn show their burnt orange spirit at a tailgate party. ExxonMobil vice president Sara Ortwein, BS ’80, Life Member, presents the company’s largest matching gift yet.

The Alcalde July/August 2010

‘A Million Horns’ Worth of Momentum with ExxonMobil

In 1964, ExxonMobil (then Humble Oil and Refining Company) hired Al directly out of college, and he remained there until he and Doris retired to the Austin area in 1992, the same year Karen joined ExxonMobil. Al and Karen have made use of the company’s matching program to become life members of the Cockrell School of Engineering’s Friends of Alec annual giving program and to help fund several endowments. The first, in 1991, was the Hagedorn Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Engineering, when the Hagedorns’ gifts were matched not only 3-to-1 by ExxonMobil but also 2-to-1 by an unnamed benefactor as part of the Thrust 2000 Graduate Fellowship initiative. “This was an opportunity that was just too good not to take

“I had no plans to go to college because my family couldn’t afford it.” advantage of,” Al says. “And it was a great way for us to give back to UT for the help we received as students.” In 2003 Karen established the Karen D. Hagedorn Endowment to benefit the Women in Engineering Program. “I was interested in supporting something that was consistent with my objectives and values,” says Karen, who remembers the scarcity of female students in her graduating class. “I recognized that some mentorship was important for women in the engineering profession.” In 2006 the Hagedorn family joined forces again to promote the

creation of an endowment dear to their hearts, the Frank Ludwig Weisser Memorial Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Engineering, in memory of Doris’ grandfather. A 1911 electrical engineering graduate, Weisser started the family’s long UT tradition. “The scholarship was a gift to my grandmother, who had her father’s diploma on her wall,” Karen says. When the scholarship was created, the family received a plaque that her grandmother placed on the wall next to the diploma. Both remained there until she passed away. The Hagedorns recognize the impact the ExxonMobil matching program has had on their ability to give back to the University. “At first the 3-to-1 match is a great way for employees to feel that their smaller gift is going a lot further,” Karen says. “Down the line the match gives you the opportunity to create these more tangible endowments — something where you can see the difference it makes in a specific student’s life. It makes me feel good to know there’s someone out there who is benefiting from it — just as I benefited from the support I received as a student.” “I came from a humble beginning, and I worked hard to get through my college years,” Al says. “UT did a lot for me — it changed my standard of living and helped me get to the point where I could give back. And ExxonMobil made that a lot easier.” Many companies match employee and retiree contributions to UT. Find out if yours is one of them at

ExxonMobil’s 3-to-1 match sets the standard for corporate matching programs in higher education. To make the most of this generous program, in 2008 the University launched A Million Horns, a campaign to reach the $1 million mark in ExxonMobil matching funds during a calendar year. The first year’s total was just short of the million-dollar mark, but the goal was achieved for 2009, and the company recently presented UT president Bill Powers with a $1,002,329 check. A majority of the donation benefits programs in business, engineering, and geosciences, reflecting the primary academic background of ExxonMobil’s personnel. But funds were directed to other areas as well, ranging from medical research to arts and humanities. “This extraordinary gift is extra meaningful to us,” says Mark Blount, UT’s director of corporate relations. “It’s an investment in the future from one of the world’s top companies. At the same time, it underscores the enormous breadth of gifts the University receives from alumni and friends like the Hagedorns.” With cumulative giving of about $44 million, plus about $15 million in research grants, ExxonMobil has contributed more to UT than any other corporate partner. The company gives to dozens of universities each year, but only one can claim chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson as a Distinguished Alumnus. Tillerson, BS ’75, Life Member, a native of Wichita Falls, received the award in 2007.


Philanthropy at Texas

Horns of Plenty What private giving is making possible

Giving just got easier. The University Development

Office has launched a new Giving website, which combines the most popular elements of the previous Giving site and the Campaign for Texas site in one comprehensive online stop. The new site provides a single place to find all information regarding giving to the University; features dynamic images and stories from all of UT’s colleges, schools, and units; and includes compelling video vignettes of faculty and donors talking about their passions. “Share This” capabilities make it easy to share content with friends and family through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Check out the new site at

with the incoming UT freshmen who participate in the Summer Scholars Program. But a closer look at the participants in the program, run by UT’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, shows qualities the couple can appreciate: high motivation, a positive attitude, and a willingness to learn. The only thing holding back these top 10 percent graduates of Texas high schools is their socioeconomic situation. The Kuhns have three grown children and are longtime Austin residents. Michael owns a commercial real estate company and Alice directs the Michael and Alice Kuhn Foundation. Like many participants in the Summer Scholars Program, Michael and Alice were first-generation college students. Given that perspective, plus their families’ Russian and Hungarian immigrant backgrounds, both recognize the value of attending college. “If you give someone a good education, he or she can live out their aspirations,” says Alice, MEd ’83. “A good education can’t be taken away.” All of the students in the Summer Scholars Program were top performers in high school. But research shows that first-generation students need additional support to become successful at the collegiate level. A primary objective of the program is to ensure that the students are nurtured and made to feel they are part of a true learning community. They join in research projects with tenured faculty, receive individualized tutoring and academic counseling, attend academic workshops, and bond with one another in social activities. In short, they’re immersed in the ideal college environment. The formula is working: The 15 participants in 2009 had a collective summer GPA of 3.2. This summer 30 students are taking part. The program fully pays for each student’s experience; UT covers tuition, fees, and program expenses, while housing and meal expenses are funded by philanthropic donations. That’s where donors like the Kuhns are making a difference. Their foundation supports projects aimed at promoting social justice and ending poverty — both nationally and in the Austin area — and the Summer Scholars Program addresses both goals. “Eliminating poverty isn’t a goal we can accomplish by ourselves,” Michael says, “but we can play a role in it.” Visit for more about this and other UT diversity initiatives.

Alice and Michael Kuhn

kuhn photo: bret brookshire

At first glance it might not seem that Michael and Alice Kuhn have much in common

Philanthropy’s Impact on Graduate Students

Stephen Susman

“Given all the opportunities

provided to the Susman family by the UT Law School for many, many years, I am delighted — absolutely thrilled — to be repaying some of our debt to UT.” So says Houston’s Stephen Susman, JD ’65, Life Member, whose mother, brother, and son are law graduates like him. Susman’s most recent gesture to make good on that debt is a gift of $5 million to help the Law School meet its highest-priority needs. Robert C. Grable, JD ’71, president of the Law School Foundation’s board of trustees, says the gift “will materially advance the foundation’s mission of supporting legal education and research, aiding students and faculty, and enhancing the overall excellence” of the school. In honor of this gift and Susman’s past generosity, students and faculty will enjoy, beginning in August, a newly renovated space in the school’s Jesse Jones Building, now called the Stephen D. Susman Academic Center.

The solar energy Earth receives in one hour is more than the energy demand of the entire world for a year. For Reeja Jayan, MS ’08, learning this changed the course of her life. “It was one of those moments where I thought, Why aren’t we using this?” says Jayan, who was pursuing an electrical engineering master’s degree at the time. A native of India, Jayan initially intended to return there to her former job working with satellites after receiving her MS. With her newfound interest in solar energy, however, she began to contemplate remaining in the United States to earn a PhD. She looked into who at UT was researching solar energy, and that led her to Professor Arumugam Manthiram, whose primary work is in batteries and fuel cells. He encouraged Jayan to become a materials scientist when he learned of her master’s research on nano-structured materials for light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. “Dr. Manthiram’s new challenge was solar cells,” says Jayan. “He said ‘I have the funds. I need you to set up the lab.’ ” Those funds were provided by donorestablished endowments: the Joe C. Walter Jr. Chair in Engineering and the BFGoodrich Endowed Professorship in Materials Engineering. Jayan jumped into her new role. She was tasked first with sifting through the area where Manthiram wanted her to set up the solar lab, then with buying materials and negotiating space where experiments could be run. When a piece of equipment she wanted was too costly, Jayan, along with a few of her fellow students and staff, completely rebuilt a broken instrument that had been in the lab since the 1960s. “We had to go to hardware stores all over town to find little parts to fix it,” she says. “But we got it up and running within three months. It would have cost $50,000 to buy it new!” It’s that kind of innovative thinking that makes Jayan, who recently received

a doctoral fellowship from the American Association of University Women, a perfect candidate to help solve the world’s energy challenges. Her dissertation focuses on growing nano-structures of titanium dioxide, an inexpensive material that is already being used in products like sunscreen. She combines the tiny structures with a sunlight-absorbing polymer and coats the mixture onto a smooth surface. The result? A highly cost-effective hybrid solar cell. Asked what she envisions for our planet’s energy future, Jayan is quick to point out that there are numerous energy technologies on the horizon. “Solar definitely is the most abundant clean energy resource we have, but whether or not it will be the solution, I can’t say,” she says. “It has to be a combination and integration of technologies; for example, I’m also working on the batteries needed to store the energy generated by our hybrid solar cells.” Jayan hopes the technology she is working on will become widely used in the future. “One of the big problems with solar energy is that it’s expensive,” she says. “That’s why we don’t have it on all of our roofs yet . . . but we are doing something different.” –Lauren Edwards

“Philanthropy at Texas” is compiled and edited by Jamey Smith in the University Development Office. Your feedback and suggestions are welcome at For more philanthropic news and information, including ways you can give to UT, visit

The Alcalde July/August 2010

Philanthropy at Texas (July-August 2010)  

The University of Texas at Austin is pleased to bring you Philanthropy at Texas, a newsletter to let alumni and friends know what private gi...