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Dallas Businessman Donates $3 Million to Endow UD Faculty Chairs

IRVING, Texas (Aug. 10, 2023) — The University of Dallas is pleased to announce a $3 million endowed gift by Richard D. Kelly, MTS ’00.

The gift, which will provide funds permanently to support faculty chair positions in art and theology, is the first seven-figure investment toward realizing a key component of President Jonathan J. Sanford’s North Star Plan for academic excellence: to secure endowed positions to recruit and retain faculty talent.

Kelly, a successful Dallas businessman and active parishioner at Christ the King in Dallas, said the gift reflects his desire to ensure that future generations of students benefit from the excellent faculty who greatly impacted his own faith and formation as a lay Catholic.

“I am deeply grateful for the education I received at UD, and I wanted to honor the name and memory of my dear friend,” Kelly said. “The faculty I had the benefit of learning from were wonderful teachers who instilled in me a love for Scripture, for church history and the church fathers — knowledge I try to pass on in the Bible studies I lead and in the various ministries I am blessed to be involved with.”

Gifts of $1.5 million each over the next five years will establish the Richard D. Kelly Endowed Chair of Theology and the Candyce Tara Eoff Endowed Chair of Art. 

“Academic excellence begins with a commitment to investing in the faculty who give life to our educational mission,” said President Sanford. “Attracting and retaining accomplished faculty and academic leaders with permanently endowed positions, and having the means to encourage their professional development in their disciplines, ultimately benefits our students in the classroom.”

President Sanford has identified the goal of raising seven new endowed faculty positions reflecting the disciplines of the seven liberal arts as part of his North Star vision to grow the University of Dallas in a number of areas, from increasing enrollment to broadening philanthropic support.

“Setting our sights on the goal of endowing faculty positions underscores UD’s belief that an excellent Catholic liberal arts education, grounded in truth, wisdom and virtue, truly frees one to pursue a life well-lived in any vocation to which one is called,” Sanford said. 

“I am profoundly grateful to Mr. Kelly for his generous support for our mission.”

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