DENTON -- A University of North Texas alum has pledged $22 million -- the school's largest ever gift -- to support music, engineering and business.
"I wanted to help the next generation have a better education so that we all can have a better world," entrepreneur Charn Uswachoke of Thailand said in a news release. "UNT is a top-quality school and continues to grow and strengthen as it expands into new areas."
Uswachoke, who earned an MBA from UNT in 1973, presented the gift Monday evening via teleconference from Thailand during an invitation-only event that was held UNT's University Union. The event was hosted by President V. Lane Rawlins and included supporters, regents, alumni and faculty and staff. Rawlins called the gift "transformational" and coming at a time the university is poised for change.
"This is the right place at the right time," said Rawlins, explaining how UNT is working to meet the demand for higher learning by investing in research, academics and campus buildings.
The $22 million pledge will support different areas in the colleges of music, engineering and business.
The College of Music will get about $10 million to help pay for endowed professorships and chairs, touring and recording opportunities for students, and scholarships.
The College of Engineering will receive $6.5 million to create the Charn Uswachoke Center for Energy Efficient Materials and create an endowed professorship in materials science and engineering.
The College of Business will use $5.5 million to fund scholarships and establish a suite in the campus' new Business Leadership Building that will be named after Uswachoke.
This gift comes less than a week after UNT announced a $20 million naming rights sponsorship agreement with Apogee for the campus' new football stadium. The company is described as the nation's largest provider of on-campus residential networks for higher education.
"Each reflects a step forward and, in some sense, a change in the culture at the University of North Texas," Rawlins said.
Diane Smith, 817-390-7675