Largest gift to UT larger than thought

By Sharon Jayson
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Thursday, September 25, 2003

The biggest gift ever received by the University of Texas just got bigger.

The estimated $150 million estate gift from Dallas oilman and geologist John Jackson is now thought to total more than $232 million. Jackson's philanthropy to UT totals $272 million, officials said Wednesday.

The revision comes as officials finalize the transfer of funds from his estate. Jackson died in March, one year after his bequest to the university's geosciences school was announced.

Jackson and his wife had previously donated money to renovate the geosciences building and to create the John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences at UT. Katherine Jackson died in March 2001.

The money will be used to hire faculty, lure graduate students and further geology research. A particular emphasis will be on water, energy and the environment, said Bill Fisher, director of the Jackson school. He said the size of the gift grew because Jackson made a conservative estimate of his estate.

"The additional funds will allow us to do more and maybe do it quicker," Fisher said.

Large gifts to universities for geosciences are rare, said David Applegate, editor of Geotimes magazine, a publication of the nonprofit American Geological Institute.

"It is without a doubt the biggest gift ever provided to a geosciences department," he said.

sjayson@statesman.com; 445-3620