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Plan II alumnus Austin Ligon is a 2011 Pro Bene Meritis Award Recipient

Mon, February 28, 2011
Plan II alumnus Austin Ligon is a 2011 Pro Bene Meritis Award Recipient
Pan Lamsam and Austin Ligon in Bhutan

Austin Ligon (Plan II '73) will receive a 2011 ProBene Meritus award recognizing his outstanding service to the College of Liberal Arts. The ProBene Meritis award honors individuals who are committed to the liberal arts, who have made outstanding contributions in professional or philanthropic pursuits, or who have participated in service related to the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas. 

University of Texas at Austin alumnus and CarMax founder Austin Ligon and his wife, Samornmitr “Pan” Lamsam, have committed $200,000 to the Plan II Honors program over the next four years to support students studying abroad and encourage other alumni to support the cause as well. 

Four years ago, the Ligon-Lamsam International Study Abroad fund was created by the couple with a $1 million gift, one of the largest single donations ever given to Plan II.  The gift has helped more than 500 Plan II students study abroad. It was intended to be spent outright over five years and is expected to run out this year.

“Studying abroad had a transformational impact on my life,” says Ligon, when the Ligon-Lamsam fund was first created. “It opened my eyes to the fact that my perspective on the world was just one tiny little portion of the ways in which the world could be viewed.”

Ligon studied abroad in Peru while he was a student at The University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated from Plan II in 1973 and earned his master’s degree in economics in 1978.

Ligon now challenges his fellow Plan II alumni to give. His principal aim is to encourage many contributions of varying amounts, which, together with his new gift, will have a direct and noticeable impact on the lives and academic careers of current Plan II students.

 “I have to tell you, it was amazing for me to see just how many times I heard from Plan II students, thanking me for the opportunity to study abroad,” he says of his 2005 gift. “It has been very rewarding and I want to share that feeling with other Plan II alumni.”

“This challenge provides the opportunity to all Plan II alumni who can to give even a small amount and see their gift used in one of the most positive and direct ways possible — studying abroad,” says Michael Stoff, Plan II director. “We’d like to see every Plan II student with a passport.”

For more information contact: Phillip Dubov, Plan II Honors Program, 512-471-1442.

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