Michael & Susan Dell Foundation Grants $50 Million to University of Texas to Bring Excellence in Children's Health and Education to Austin


AUSTIN – The University of Texas today announced a $50 million gift from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to put Austin at the leading edge of pediatric health research, computer science and the advancement of healthy living in childhood development.

This generous gift from the Dell family foundation will enable three new, world-class facilities at UT Austin:

  • A pediatric health research institute, which will complement the new Dell Children’s Medical Center nearby, to establish a hub in Austin for leading children’s health and biomedical research. The facility will be named the Dell Pediatric Research Institute.
  • A new computer science building on the UT Austin campus to support UT’s quest to become the top-ranked public computer science department in the country and enable breakthroughs driven by advances in computer science that will have broad application across a number of industries and sciences. The new building on the Austin campus will be named the Dell Computer Science Hall.
  • A center for the advancement of healthy living to address critical health problems that impact healthy childhood development, including a particular focus on combating childhood obesity. The new facility will be named the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living.

“The strategic vision that motivated this gift and its transformational potential reflect the Dell's astute community-building giving. This donation will establish UT at the forefront of pediatric health, research and computer science,” said UT System Board of Regents Chairman James R. Huffines. “This gift is a visible symbol of the Dell’s continued commitment to bring world-class health and education facilities to the Austin area. It is also of special note that this grant ties for the largest gift from a living donor in the history of UT.”

“We are very excited about UT’s shared commitment to offer leading-edge children’s healthcare, research and education right here in Austin,” said Susan Dell, co-founder and chairman of the
Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. “These new facilities are a perfect complement to other investments we’ve made in children’s health, math and science education, and instilling healthy habits to combat major risks like Type 2 Diabetes in children. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of UT Austin’s historical excellence in Life Sciences research and, in turn, make a practical difference in the lives of children.”

Dell Pediatric Research Institute
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation awarded a matching grant over three years to help UT establish a pediatric health research institute in Austin on the former Robert Mueller Airport site, adjacent to the new Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. Combining UT Austin’s core expertise in life sciences with the new Dell Children’s Medical Center will establish Austin as a center of excellence for children’s health and biomedical research. The Dell family foundation gift will provide a 1:1 match for every dollar collected through private funding. The new facility is scheduled to open in 2009.

Dell Computer Science Hall
The funding from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is part of UT Austin’s effort to advance the computer science department to the top ranking of public institutions in the nation. The foundation’s funding will go toward the cost of a new building, a facility that will enable advances in computing power and its broad applications to improve the future of biological, physical and other scientific fields. This matching grant complements the Dell family foundation’s earlier investment in the Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (TSTEM) Initiative, a public-private partnership with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the Texas Education Agency, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Communities Foundation of Texas to better prepare Texas high school students in STEM subjects and prepare them for future careers in those fields.

Michael & Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living
This grant has been awarded to the UT Health Science Center at Houston’s School of Public Health to establish a public health research, education and service program in Austin. This world-class center will conduct research to better understand and influence behaviors and environmental conditions that affect healthy living. Initial research will focus on childhood obesity prevention to address the epidemic of childhood obesity and its effect on related chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. The new center will bring together existing work from the school’s Human Nutrition Center, including its successful and widely recognized programs: CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health), a K-5 school and family-based program designed to improve healthy eating and increase physical activity; and IMPACT (Incorporating More Physical Activity and Calcium in Teens), a program designed for girls to improve bone health and weight-bearing physical activity. Susan Dell's personal commitment to healthy living and ensuring children learn life-long, healthy habits – in addition to her recent naming to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports – has made combating childhood obesity a key priority for the Dell family foundation.

“We are delighted with this very generous gift from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. It is typical of Michael and Susan’s vision and ongoing commitment to and concern for the Austin community, the children of Texas and the increase of scientific knowledge,” said UT System Chancellor Mark G. Yudof. “The discoveries and advances made as a result of these grants will benefit the people of Texas, the nation – and indeed, the world – for generations. We are profoundly grateful for these extraordinary gifts.”

"The Seton Family of Hospitals which operates the Children's Hospital of Austin has been devoted to the continuous improvement of children’s health for years. With construction of the Dell Children’s Medical Center over 60% complete and UT’s commitment to this world class research facility next door, the health of our own children and children throughout the world will soon benefit from cutting edge research that will quickly be translated into the most advanced care for children. The fact that this care will be available right here in Austin at the new Dell Children’s Medical Center is incredible,” said Charles J. Barnett, President and CEO, Seton Family of Hospitals.

About The University of Texas System
The University of Texas System (www.utsystem.edu) is one of the nation's largest higher education systems with 15 campuses, including nine academic and six health institutions, and an annual operating budget of $9.6 billion (FY 2006). Student enrollment exceeds 185,000 in the 2005 academic year. The UT System confers one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates three-fourths of Texas health care professionals. With more than 76,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in Texas.

About the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (www.msdf.org) was established in 1999 by the Dell family to improve outcomes for underserved children in a measurable way. Based in Austin, Texas the Foundation funds programs that foster and improve education, health and safety for children around the world. With an endowment of more than $1 billion, the Foundation has committed more than $270 million to global children’s issues and Central Texas community initiatives to date. EDITOR’S NOTE: The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is separate and distinct from the Dell Foundation. In first reference, please use 'The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.' For second references, 'the Dell family foundation' or 'MSDF' is correct.

About The University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin (www.utexas.edu) is a major research university that is home to over 48,000 students, 2,700 faculty and 17,000 staff members. The campus operating budget for fiscal year 2006 is $1.65 billion. The faculty at UT Austin is composed of outstanding scholars in a wide range of disciplines, including hundreds of members of prestigious academic and scientific organizations. The university has one of the largest graduate schools in the nation. The university has one of the largest single-campus enrollments in the nation, including students from all 254 counties within Texas, all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries. Colleges and schools include Architecture, the McCombs School of Business, Communication, Continuing Education Division, Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Jackson School of Geosciences, Graduate Studies, School of Information, School of Law, LBJ School of Public Affairs, Liberal Arts, Natural Sciences, Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work, and interdisciplinary units.

About The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
The most comprehensive academic health center in the Southwest, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (www.uth.tmc.edu) is home to six schools devoted to medicine, nursing, public health, dentistry, health informatics and graduate studies in biomedical science. In addition to the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases (IMM), other components are the UT Harris County Psychiatric Center and the Mental Sciences Institute. The UT Health Science Center at Houston, founded in 1972, is part of the University of Texas System. The campus operating budget is over $654 million (FY2006) with annual research expenditures exceeding $156 million (FY 2005). It is a state-supported institution whose state funding is supplemented by competitive research grants, patient fees and private philanthropy. The health science center enrolls more than 3,580 students with over 1,290 faculty and employs more than 3,000 staff.

END

Background Materials

Additional Information About the Gift (PDF)

Expert Contact List for the news media (PDF)

View the archived webcast of the announcement (RealPlayer required)

Biographies

Michael Dell, co-founder of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and chairman of the Board of Directors of Dell Inc.

Susan Dell, co-founder and Chairman of the Board of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

James R. Huffines, chairman, UT System Board of Regents

Mark G. Yudof, chancellor, UT System

William Powers, Jr., president, UT Austin

James T. Willerson, M.D., president, UT Health Science Center at Houston

http://www.utsystem.edu/news/2006/UTS-MSDFGrant05-15-06.htm

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