News and Information
Mrs. W.K. Gordon Jr., W.K. Gordon Jr. Foundation give $6 million to Tarleton
Tarleton State University
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 11, 2011
STEPHENVILLE, Texas—President F. Dominic Dottavio today announced a $6 million gift from Mrs. W.K. Gordon Jr. and the W.K. Gordon Jr. Foundation, the largest single donation to the university in Tarleton’s 112-year history.
The gift includes $1 million for general scholarships and $5 million for continued funding of the W.K. Gordon Center for the Industrial History of Texas, a Tarleton facility that combines historical research, a museum and special collections library. The center, on Interstate 20 in the ghost town of Thurber, is named after Mrs. Gordon’s father-in-law, William Knox Gordon, an engineer, businessman and central figure in Thurber’s history.
“This tremendous and extremely generous gift will have a positive impact on the lives of generations of Tarleton students,” Dottavio said. “In many cases, the scholarships generated by the new endowment will mean dreams of obtaining a college degree will actually come true. And the continued funding of the center will allow an outstanding facility to not only operate, but thrive. I’m humbled and grateful to Mrs. Gordon for her vision, her belief in education and her faith in Tarleton.”
Mrs. Gordon and the Gordon Foundation have been instrumental in helping found and fund the Gordon Center since 2000. The center opened in November 2002. It tells the story of the birth and death of Thurber, a company-owned mining town that was once the largest city between Fort Worth and El Paso.
Under the terms of the agreement, in addition to the $6 million gift, the Tarleton State University Foundation will contribute the remainder of funds, now about $1.6 million, previously given by Mrs. Gordon and the Gordon Foundation, to the new center operations and maintenance fund held by the university.
“The academic division in general and the College of Liberal and Fine Arts in particular are extremely pleased with this gift,” said Dr. Karen Murray, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, under whose purview the center fund will be administered. “It will allow us to continue our community education programs at the Gordon Center even in the face of curtailed operating dollars.”
Dr. T. Lindsay Baker, director of the W.K. Gordon Center, said the gift would enable the center “to continue to tell the story of Thurber and its industries, as well as the stories of the many diverse groups from around the world that comprised its population.”
W.K. Gordon Jr. was born in 1910 and raised in Thurber. He later went on to a successful career as an oil and gas producer, rancher, businessman and Fort Worth civic leader. In 1934 he married Anna Melissa Hogsett. Her family had deep roots in Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Since his death in 1996, Mrs. Gordon and the Gordon Foundation have funded numerous philanthropic causes in North Texas. Historical preservation and history are among her deepest interests.
“We are very grateful to Mrs. Gordon and the W. K. Gordon Jr. Foundation for their generous gift,” said Dr. Rick Richardson, vice president for institutional advancement. “We are also sincerely grateful to all those who worked diligently to make this gift a reality, including President Dominic Dottavio and the president’s staff, Dr. Lisette Dottavio, Dr. T. Lindsay Baker and the staff of the Gordon Center, Dr. Karen Murray, Mr. Jerry Graham, Mr. Mike Tate, Dr. Cynthia Carter, Dr. Koy Floyd, Dr. Gary Peer, Mrs. Nancy Allen, who serves as president of the Tarleton State University Foundation, Scott Allen and all the other members of the foundation board, Mr. Greg Anderson, our Texas A&M University System Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, along with Maria Robinson and Elaine Welch, Mr. Tim Coffey of the System’s Office of General Counsel, along with Eddie Gose and Melody Meyer, Tarleton’s Division of Institutional Advancement and of course, many others. It was truly a team effort.”
Tarleton State University
A member of the Texas A&M University System
Contact: Joe Michael Feist