Houston Endowment gives $500,000 for Southwestern studies at SWT

Date of release: 10/30/02

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS – The Houston Endowment has awarded Southwest Texas State University $500,000 to support the university’s Center for the Study of the Southwest and to establish an endowed professorship in Southwestern Studies.

The gift completes a challenge grant awarded to SWT in 1997 by the National Endowment for the Humanities. That grant gave $450,000 for the Center for the Study of the Southwest, with a provision that the university match the award 3-1. The gift from the Houston Endowment completes SWT’s $1.35 million requirement. Other contributors included the SWT Development Foundation, the Archer M. Huntington Trust, the estate of J. Lloyd Rogers, El Paso Energy and several individual contributors.

The Houston Endowment’s gift also establishes the Jesse H. Jones and Mary Gibbs Jones Professorship in Southwestern Studies. SWT English Professor Dickie Maurice Heaberlin has been named the first holder of the rotating professorship.

Heaberlin and subsequent holders of the professorship will teach courses in Southwestern Studies, assist in producing publications of the center, organize and present symposia and assist the center director with other regional projects.

“The gift from the Houston Endowment represents a milestone for the Center for the Study of the Southwest and creates our first endowed professorship,” said Mark Busby, center director. “I think this recognizes SWT’s success in promoting understanding of the history, people, cultures and physical environments of the Southwest.”

Last December, SWT was chosen by the NEH as one of nine regional humanities centers in the United States. The regional centers are designed to serve as cultural hubs to support research on regional topics, encourage documentation and preservation of regional history and culture and develop educational programs and resources for cultural heritage tourism.

The Houston Endowment is a private philanthropic foundation that supports a broad spectrum of charitable and nonprofit organizations.

Contact: Mark Busby, director of the Center for the Study of the Southwest at (512) 245-2232.