Feb 24, 2020
 

Rich and Mary Templeton have given $51 million to their alma mater, Union College, to transform its engineering and liberal arts programs and help recruit more women into technology careers, a challenge our company has long been devoted to solving.

The donation from our president, chairman and CEO and his wife - the largest gift in Union’s 225-year history - will be used to create the Templeton Institute for Engineering and Computer Science. It will also be used to hire additional engineering faculty and broaden the curriculum. The announcement of the gift was made on Feb. 21 during a ceremony at the school.

"The greatest thing we can do to impact community is to build great educational institutions that are equipping students for the future," Rich said. "Mary and I were fortunate to be educated by Union, a wonderful college that did a great job of preparing us for successful careers."

In making the gift, Rich and Mary are honoring a legacy of giving instilled in them by Texas Instruments’ founders and leaders.

"Mary and I have had the privilege of learning about giving and community impact from people like the late Margaret McDermott, wife of TI founder Eugene McDermott, who selflessly gave of her time, treasure and talents over six decades to make a difference," Rich said. "We are grateful to follow the example set for us by generations of leaders who were determined to make TI a company that we can all be proud to be a part of and proud to call our neighbor."

Rich and Mary were 17 when they met at Union in Schenectady, N.Y. They took freshman calculus together and became good friends while he helped her with homework. He joined our company after earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Mary, a philanthropist and community volunteer, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

"We want to be very thoughtful and deliberate about philanthropy and what types of investments could make the biggest differences that would be impactful - not just today, but in the future," Mary said. "For that reason, we feel very strongly about education. If you educate, it’s the old adage: If you teach a person to fish, they’ll eat for life."


’This allows us to be innovative in our teaching’

Union is among a handful of liberal arts colleges in the U.S. that offer an engineering curriculum. Rebecca Cortez, Ph.D., professor of mechanical engineering and director of Union’s engineering program, hopes that adding more dedicated engineering faculty members will encourage cross-collaboration among staff to expose a wider range of students to math and science.

"The support from the Templetons will strengthen our current engineering program," she said. "This allows us to be innovative in our teaching. Engineering faculty can teach courses with some of our humanities and social science colleagues, bringing new perspectives to students."

Union leadership will also explore broadening its course offerings to include areas that may attract more female students to engineering. Sarah Taha, a recent Union graduate who earned a scholarship to study biomedical engineering, said she was the only woman in some of her engineering classes. She hopes the gift will also be used to create scholarships that bring more women into the program. "Union really focuses on equality," Sarah said. "I think having a specific scholarship for women would be a win. Mine helped me become the woman I am today."


Inspired by a legacy of giving

Mary and Rich carry forward a long-held TI tradition of giving back.

They give generously to educational institutions and other organizations in the community, and also co-led the 2018-2019 United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ campaign, which raised more than $61.6 million.

"Mary and Rich Templeton are tremendous examples of what we want for all our students at Union College," said David Harris, president of Union. "I am grateful that they appreciate they were more prepared for careers and life because they majored in engineering and computer science at a school that emphasizes the liberal arts, and even more so that they are committed to ensuring future generations have similar opportunities."

Mary hopes their commitment to giving back will inspire others to do the same.

"The founders of TI were our inspiration to become active philanthropists," Mary said. "I hope that years from now someone says we inspired them to give of their time, talent and treasure. That would be a wonderful legacy."