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Published on April 23, 2024
University of Texas Boosts Entrepreneurial Studies with $13.5 Million in Donations, Ranking No. 2 NationallySource: Google Street View

The University of Texas at Austin's McCombs School of Business recently stepped up its game in the entrepreneurial arena, thanks to hefty donations from a cadre of well-heeled benefactors. The Harkey Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Texas McCombs has amped up its resources with a cool $13.5 million towards a $20 million campaign aimed to match funds dollar-for-dollar with other contributors. With pockets deepened by these donations, Texas McCombs nailed the No. 2 spot on the Princeton Review's list of top undergrad business programs for the entrepreneurially inclined—for the second year running, according to Texas McCombs News.

Headlining the philanthropic effort, McCombs alum John D. Harkey Jr. and his wife Peni Barfield kicked off the institute with a chunky $10 million naming gift that got the ball rolling. Designed to spur additional giving through the "Harkey Match," this donation model has lured others to pitch in a minimum of $500,000, with several naming opportunities dangling for grabs at the $2.5 million level or more. Inspired by his father to navigate the seas of commerce at the helm of his destiny, Harkey—a captain of industry in his own right—spread his wings across multiple sectors including biotech, telecom, and even the silver screens as a Lions Gate Entertainment board member. "You have the freedom to explore and be creative if you control your destiny by being captain of your ship," Harkey's father instilled in him, as reported by Texas McCombs News.

Joining forces on the fundraising front, Blair Moffett, Bubba Moffett, Carol Goldman, Ronnie Goldman, and Ben Friedman collectively rustled up another $3.5 million for the campaign. The institute isn't just about stashing cash though—it's about fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs. Texas McCombs is educating more than 800 students through its Entrepreneurship Minor, as well as mentoring them to think outside the box with a variety of programs, from the Summer Entrepreneurship Academy to linking up with mentors who've trudged the trenches of startup culture. A staggering 75% of those budding business whizzes don't even hail from the McCombs School, showing how wide the institute's net is cast.