College of Liberal Arts

ROTC Receives $1.5 Million for Student Scholarships and Success

Tue, May 30, 2017
The UT Ranger Challenge team at the 2017 Sandhurst competition. Photo by Captain Harold Hamblet
The UT Ranger Challenge team at the 2017 Sandhurst competition. Photo by Captain Harold Hamblet

A $1.5 million gift will fund seven scholarships, with plans to expand, and tutoring for students in all three branches of the Reserve Officers Training Program at The University of Texas at Austin.

“These gifts are intended to help build the program all the way around,” said the donor and UT Austin nursing alumna Marilyn Ann White. “This is where our future leaders are coming from, and they need a good education. They’re needs are being underserved by a lack of private support. These young men and women are willing to put it all on the line for us. So, we need to assist them in getting that education.”

The gift provides additional funding for Lt. Col. Herbert C White Jr. Leadership and Scholarship Endowment, which provides two awards to a junior or senior Air Force cadet; the Lois Clement White AFROTC Scholarship for Leadership in Health Science, awarded to one junior or senior Air Force cadets; the Senator Martin Dies, Jr. Naval ROTC Leadership and Scholarship, awarded to two Navy midshipmen or Marine cadets; and the United States Marshal Rand Rock Army ROTC Endowed Scholarship for Leadership and Scholarship, awarded to two Army cadets.

Scholarships were initially created through funding by White and her cousin, government alumnus Martin Dies III, who combined their philanthropic commitment to ROTC and the College of Liberal Arts as a way to honor White’s father, Lt. Col. Herbert C White Jr., an Air Force officer who received both a Distinguished Flying Cross and a second oak leaf cluster for his service in the Army Air Corps in World War II.

For their generous contributions, the family was honored with the naming of three suites on the ROTC floor of the College of Liberal Arts building: the Air Force suite, named to honor Lt. Col. White; the Navy suite, named to honor Dies’ father, Senator Martin Dies; and the Army suite, named to honor Dies’ brother-in-law, U.S. Marshal Rand Rock.

“As we got involved with the Air Force cadets, we were so well received and welcomed into their ‘family,’ as they call it. So we decided to expand,” White said. “The more we got involved, the more we saw the need. It just kind of blossomed. Martin and I are so proud that we are one family supporting each branch equally.”

White’s gift also contributes to the Marilyn Ann White Endowed Discretionary Fund for ROTC—or as she refers to it, “the tutoring fund” — which was created to assist cadets struggling with classes, though it can be used to financially assist cadets in other ways, White said.

“It provides cadets and midshipmen with academic assistance,” White said. “These students have so many commitments. With school, jobs and family, their time is stretched pretty thin. They are so advanced and want to be successful that they work so hard to get where they are. Cadets seem to be grateful to have academic help when they are struggling with a course.”

And according to Lt. Col. David Zinnante, chair of the Department of Military Sciences, the Army and Air Force cadres have the highest collective GPA in recent history.

"The UT Austin army, air force and naval/marine ROTC departments are among the most outstanding in the country. Marilyn and I have seen this first hand in the high quality of instructors and as well, the cadets and midshipmen,” said Dies, chair of the college's Development Council. “Our goal is to generate much higher levels of alumni and private support recognizing that UT ROTC ranks as among the best programs on campus. Dean Diehl's remarks to the Development Council articulate with clarity what the college's goal for ROTC is: ‘we want our ROTC graduates to be among the best and most widely educated officers in the nation recognizing their great leadership role on behalf of our country.’"

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