By Mark D. Wilson, American-Statesman Staff
A graduate of the University of Texas now holds the record for the largest planned donation to the Longhorn Band after gifting $12 million to the program.
Rick Church, a 1977 engineering graduate who still plays his tuba in the “X” of the “TEXAS” formation during Alumni Band Day, also committed $7 million from his estate to the university’s Department of Engineering and the Cockrell School of Engineering, and $350,000 to the band’s Legacy Fund and scholarships, the university said.
“Rick Church’s investment in the Longhorn Band is an investment in the entire campus,” College of Fine Arts Dean Doug Dempster said. “The band attracts students from all majors across campus and serves as an epicenter of leadership development and artistic and creative excellence for UT students who participate.”
The donation, first announced at the end of last year, comes more than 40 years after Church first joined the band in 1973. After graduation, he moved to Houston to work in the oil and gas industry, then became an entrepreneur.
“I want to give to the people who made me who I am — my mentors, my band directors, my professors in engineering,” Church said. “These people gave me everything, and now, I just want to give back.”
Church sought to honor his parents Nelda Jean and Richard M. Church by establishing the Richard M. Church Jr. Scholarship as part of the donation. The scholarship will be available to band members who major in engineering and “exhibit a ‘spirited dedication’ to the Longhorn Band.”
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