The University of Houston Magazine

Giving Matters

by Michelle Hillen

The Hamills’ Legacy Lives On

A growing relationship between the University of Houston and the Hamill Foundation—resulting, so far, in gifts amounting to $475,000—began eight years ago with a history project.Joe Pratt, NEH Cullen Chair in Business and History and interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, began researching the lives of foundation organizers Claud B. and Marie G. Hamill in the UH Libraries’ Special Collections. Pratt uncovered documents and pictures relating to the Hamills’ efforts to raise funds for Cruiser Houston, a World War II-era heavy cruiser named for the city of Houston.

A few years later, when the university’s M.D. Anderson Library announced plans to create an exhibition drawing on materials from the Cruiser Houston Collection, it seemed like the perfect first project on campus for the Houston-based foundation to help fund, says Tom Brown, the foundation grants director.

After that first $25,000 grant in 2003, the Hamill Foundation has continued to give steadily, year after year, helping to support a variety of programs at UH.

“We are really pleased to be associated with UH,” Brown says. “It’s a quality organization, and we have really liked the transition of the university over the last several years from being more of a local commuter school to taking on a national scope and a national quality of education.”

The Hamill Foundation, established by the Hamills in 1969, has made grants to more than seventy-five educational, scientific, charitable, and religious organizations, primarily in the Houston area. Claud Hamill was a successful oilman, who, along with his wife, gave generously throughout his lifetime to causes throughout the community. The foundation was created to continue that legacy, even after their deaths.

On the UH campus, foundation support can be seen most prominently in the M.D. Anderson Library, the university’s premier research library, with gifts totaling $235,000 to the library’s building projects. Those funds helped create the Student Learning Commons—a digital learning space—and the U.S.S. Houston (CA-30) Exhibition as well as to help furnish student study areas.

But the foundation’s impact on campus and throughout the UH System is evident elsewhere.

In the Department of History, foundation funds created the Hamill Fellowship in the Center for Public History. The fellowship program supports graduate studies in history through participation in the editing and production of the Houston Review of History and Culture, a popular history magazine published by the Center for Public History.

Funds also have helped pay for classroom space at the newly authorized nursing program at the UH System at Sugar Land, as well as clinic space renovations at the College of Optometry Multiple Sclerosis Eye Center for Analysis, Research and Education.

“The Hamill Foundation epitomizes the positive impact a foundation can make through its generosity,” says Dana Rooks, Elizabeth D. Rockwell Endowed Dean’s Chair and dean of libraries. “The legacy of Mr. and Mrs. Hamill continues through the gifts of their foundation and its visionary leadership. The foundation contributes to the development of our students, who will become the future leaders of our city, state, and nation.”


Two ‘GREEN’ Gifts for One Great Cause

UH’s commitment to green initiatives received a welcome boost when BP America presented UH President Renu Khator with a solar-powered vehicle as part of a $300,000 donation to the university in support of research and student success.

BP Solor BuggyBP’s gift was presented by Gabriel Cuadra (’88, M.B.A. ’95), BP manager for compliance, and Gerald Balboa (’93, J.D. ’98), senior vice president for BP North American Gas & Power, as the second installment of a $750,000 pledge the company made in March 2008. The gift for the Cullen College of Engineering, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and the C.T. Bauer College of Business will support the university’s efforts to recruit and retain diverse students, attract National Merit scholars, and fund an internship program.

“We are proud to support the University of Houston’s engineering, research, math, and science programs as part of its vital efforts to attract and train the students who will become the next generation of engineers and leaders in American business and industry,” says Cuadra.

The BP solar buggy is equipped with two electric motors with 30 horsepower, delivering more than 170 pounds of torque and making it one of the most powerful all-terrain vehicles in its category. With standard four-wheel drive, it seats up to four passengers and offers a quiet, yet powerful, ride with less pollution than most ATVs.

“We share with BP a social responsibility to find better ways to develop safe, clean, and sustainable energy for the future, as well as renewable energy products that reduce environmental impact. This new solar buggy supports our commitment to UH Green initiatives, the environment, and renewable energy sources and is a great example of social responsibility in action,” says Khator.

An Eternal Devotion

by Michelle Hillen

Following his death in 1979 after twelve years of teaching mathematics at the University of Houston, Professor John Mac Nerney was remembered by his colleagues as a gifted mathematician, a wonderful teacher, and a great friend.

Now, nearly thirty years later, his legacy at the university will grow even stronger with a $925,000 gift left to UH by his wife of thirty-four years, the late Kathleen O. Mac Nerney.

The gift, left as a bequest in her will, will be used to establish the Dr. John S. and Kathleen O. Mac Nerney Endowment in the M.D. Anderson Library. Annual income from the endowment will be used to provide support to the library for the acquisition of resources.

During his time at the university, John Mac Nerney—known as “Mac”—specialized in mathematical analysis, was a member of several math and science societies, and published articles in dozens of professional journals.

“He was well-known and respected,” says Professor of Mathematics Garrett Etgen, who served as chair of the math department when Mac Nerney died. “He was a very serious mathematician. He was an outstanding teacher, but very demanding.”

Kathleen Mac Nerney was a loyal wife who was very supportive of her husband’s work, Etgen says. She died June 20, 2007.

In her will, she outlined her intention to give half of her estate to create an endowed bequest—one of a variety of bequest options available to those who want to make a charitable gift by will.

The gift of an endowment means the gift will continue indefinitely. “It’s appropriate that a man who was so devoted to his work and his students’ success should be remembered with such a gift,” Etgen notes.


Gift Rate

*Effective February 1, 2009. Rates subject to change.
Seek advice from your tax or legal advisor when considering a charitable gift annuity.
The minimum amount to establish a charitable gift annuity
with the UH Foundation is $20,000.

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