Edith O’Donnell, one in every of Texas’ — and The College of Texas at Dallas’ — most beneficiant philanthropists and a robust proponent of schooling, science and the humanities, died Nov. 14 on the age of 94.
Over the previous 60 years, O’Donnell and her husband, Peter O’Donnell, have contributed quietly and considerably to instructional and humanities institutions in Texas. At UT Dallas in 2013, the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building was devoted in her honor. The next yr, she made a $17 million present to determine the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History.
Identified for his or her civic and enterprise management, the couple established the O’Donnell Basis in 1957. That basis has performed an unlimited position in advancing schooling and scientific analysis. Their contributions over time to UT Dallas alone complete greater than $39 million.
“When UT Dallas honored Edith O’Donnell with the naming of the constructing, it was a mirrored image of our gratitude and esteem for her. Her foresight, together with that of her husband, Peter, has remodeled the humanities, larger schooling and scientific innovation not solely at UT Dallas but in addition all through Texas,” mentioned UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson, the Eugene McDermott Distinguished College Chair of Management.
The 155,000-square-foot Edith O’Donnell Arts and Know-how Constructing (left) at UT Dallas opened in 2013 and is house to the College’s College of Arts, Know-how, and Rising Communication and a 1,200-seat lecture corridor. It additionally homes the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Artwork Historical past (proper), which was based in 2014 with a $17 million present from O’Donnell.
Dr. Inga Musselman, provost, vp for tutorial affairs and the Cecil H. Inexperienced Distinguished Chair of Tutorial Management, mentioned, “Mrs. Edith O’Donnell’s beneficiant present that created the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Artwork Historical past set UT Dallas on a brand new path of enlargement within the arts, complementing the College’s sturdy basis in science, expertise and administration.”
Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, former provost and present Distinguished Scholar in Residence and professor of physics, mentioned, “The O’Donnells have been dedicated to the event of UT Dallas’ tutorial packages all through the College’s historical past. Their assist has been transformative and has contributed enormously to our success as a rising nationwide analysis establishment.”
“When UT Dallas honored Edith O’Donnell with the naming of the constructing, it was a mirrored image of our gratitude and esteem for her. Her foresight, together with that of her husband, Peter, has remodeled the humanities, larger schooling and scientific innovation not solely at UT Dallas but in addition all through Texas.”
UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson
Along with O’Donnell’s signature present to determine the primary artwork historical past institute based within the digital age, the O’Donnells made a number of multimillion-dollar donations to determine endowments to recruit and retain college for the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC).
Dr. Michael Thomas, director of the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Artwork Historical past and holder of the Richard R. Brettell Distinguished College Chair, described O’Donnell as a “visionary.”
“Her targeted philanthropy and love of artwork historical past, in addition to her nice want to make the humanities accessible to each individual, significantly college students, remodeled UT Dallas from a science, engineering and technology-focused college to 1 that fosters and champions creativity as effectively,” Thomas mentioned.
Then-UT Dallas President David E. Daniel applauded Edith O’Donnell in the course of the dedication of the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Know-how Constructing in 2013.
The institute, which is housed within the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Know-how Constructing, additionally maintains amenities within the Dallas Museum of Artwork (DMA). It’s a middle of revolutionary analysis and schooling within the historical past of artwork that ranges throughout geography, chronology and medium.
Edith Jones O’Donnell was born in Abilene, Texas, in 1926 to Percy Jones and Ruth Legett Jones, a philanthropic West Texas couple with important oil and actual property holdings. Edith and Peter O’Donnell have been married in 1952. They’ve three daughters: Carol Kradolfer (Lyle), Ann O’Donnell and Ruth Mutch, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
For greater than 5 a long time, the O’Donnells have supported UT System establishments, together with UT Dallas, UT Southwestern Medical Heart and Edith O’Donnell’s alma mater, UT Austin, from which she earned a bachelor’s diploma in psychology.
The O’Donnell Basis primarily helps engineering, science and math schooling together with arts packages, and has donated greater than $780 million since its founding. Edith O’Donnell’s ardour for the humanities has been evident in her assist of the DMA — the place she served as chair in 1992 and later as a trustee, the Dallas Opera, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, AT&T Performing Arts Heart, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Meadows College of the Arts at Southern Methodist College and UT Austin’s Faculty of Effective Arts. A present to the DMA in 2013 ensured free normal admission and enabled the museum to publish its whole assortment on-line.
“Her targeted philanthropy and love of artwork historical past, in addition to her nice want to make the humanities accessible to each individual, significantly college students, remodeled UT Dallas from a science, engineering and technology-focused college to 1 that fosters and champions creativity as effectively.”
Dr. Michael Thomas, director of the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Artwork Historical past
“Our nation should acknowledge that inventive considering is as vital a course of within the functioning of the mind as are math and science,” O’Donnell mentioned in 2005. “Growing an creativeness and self-expression are abilities discovered via inventive considering. When creativity exists in a single area, it’s contagious to all different fields.”
Her lifelong journey to raise the humanities has been acknowledged with quite a few awards, together with Dallas’ Linz Award, one of many oldest and most prestigious civic honors, and the UT Distinguished Alumnus Award.