Trinity University receives $26.5 million donation, largest gift in school’s history

SAN ANTONIO – Trinity University has received the largest gift in the school’s history — $26.5 million.

The gift comes from the Semmes Foundation and with it, the University announced the naming of the D.R. Semmes School of Science.

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“This investment by the Semmes Foundation accelerates our goal to deliver the best undergraduate science education in the United States,” said Vanessa B. Beasley, Ph.D., President of Trinity University. “Trinity and the Semmes Foundation have long been partners in opportunities for undergraduate science education, and this historic investment will help us advance our mission to deliver world-class teaching and increase students’ access to research opportunities in STEM.”

The Semmes Foundation has supported Trinity with gifts and collaborations since 1953. Trinity’s faculty includes the Semmes Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, an endowed position. The $26.5 million gift will endow the dean of the D.R. Semmes School of Science position as well as two D.R. Semmes School of Science faculty positions.

University officials called the donation “transformational” saying it will expand Trinity University’s nationally recognized hands-on learning and research opportunities and ensure that the school has world-class faculty and state-of-the-art facilities.

“The sciences are at the core of a broad liberal arts education, and Trinity fundamentally understands this. We are creating the next generation of scientists across an array of disciplines that will address the world’s major questions,” said Tom Semmes, President of the Semmes Foundation.

Trinity’s foundation in liberal arts is a strength for its science programs, according to leaders at some of San Antonio’s research facilities.

“Those of us in research and innovation careers know it’s not an either-or proposition, as the modern economy is fueled by those with human-centered skills who can approach our greatest global challenges with out-of-the-box critical thinking,” said Larry Schlesinger, M.D., President/CEO of Texas Biomedical Research Institute. “This tremendous gift puts Trinity and its students at the forefront of this sophisticated and exciting future.”

“Trinity University has long been a well-respected liberal arts college that also offers degrees in many technical fields. This outstanding gift will help Trinity enhance its efforts in preparing graduates for future endeavors where combining STEM and liberal arts will be critically important,” said Adam Hamilton, P.E., President and CEO of Southwest Research Institute. “We look forward to collaborating with Trinity and offering its students real-world experience in the sciences.”

The D.R. Semmes School of Science houses the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering Science, Earth and Environmental Geosciences, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, Psychology, and three interdisciplinary programs: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mathematical Finance, and Neuroscience.

In 2021, Trinity University announced another record-breaking gift and the naming of the Michael Neidorff School of Business after receiving a $25 million donation from alumnus Michael Neidorff and the Neidorff Family Trust.

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