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Gift from Mitte Foundation will endow Texas State Honors Program

Date of Release: 04/01/2005

SAN MARCOS—A $500,000 gift from the Roy F. and Joann Cole Mitte Foundation of Austin will create a permanent endowment for the University Honors Program at Texas State University-San Marcos and the program will be named in honor of the Mitte family.

The Mitte Honors Program at Texas State involves more than 600 of the university?s best students. It offers small, seminar-type classes where faculty members provide an interdisciplinary atmosphere designed to promote curiosity, creativity and a respect for learning. Mitte Honors Program students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.25.

The $500,000 gift from the Mitte Foundation, announced Tuesday, April 5, at the home of Texas State President Denise Trauth, is the fourth major gift to the university from the Mitte Foundation. In March 1997, the foundation donated $12.5 million to establish the Mitte Scholars Program, a scholarship program for high-achieving Texas State students. Five months later, the foundation contributed another $5 million to create five endowed chairs in five different academic departments at Texas State. Then in 2004, a $420,000 gift completed the Grosvenor Scholars Endowment Fund at the National Geographic Society which will provide annually one or more doctoral scholarships to Texas State students in the Geographic Education program.

?We are deeply grateful to the Mitte family for their generosity and their devotion to Texas State. Once again, they have stepped forward with a gift that will improve this university. This endowment will give our finest students even better opportunities to make the most of their college educations,? said Trauth.

The $500,000 endowment will be used as a permanent source to finance a series of Mitte Honors Program courses that will offer significant learning opportunities for students in the program. Criteria for courses to be considered Mitte Honors Program courses could include:

* The need for the course to involve national or international travel or to be taught entirely in a foreign location.
* The opportunity to involve students in high-profile research or scholarly projects.
* Involving students in significant high-profile community projects, including service learning projects.
* Courses culminating in a significant scholarly product, presentation or publication.
* Courses that place students in direct interaction with a researcher, scholar or renowned author.

?This endowment will allow us to increase the number of courses we offer through the Mitte Honors Program and also improve the quality of those courses. In turn, that means we will be able to attract and retain more highly qualified students to Texas State and to the Mitte Honors Program,? said Christopher Frost, professor of psychology and director of the program.

?When President Trauth and Director Chris Frost brought the proposal to my parents for a partnership between the Texas State Honors Program and the Mitte Foundation, it was a perfect fit, a natural and compelling case. My dad, my mother and I are pleased and proud to have our name associated with the Mitte Texas State Honors Program,? said Scott Mitte, executive vice president of the foundation.

Participation in the Mitte Honors Program at Texas State allows students to become part of a special community within the university. To graduate in the program, students complete at least five honors courses, including an honors thesis. The program was founded at Texas State in 1967 by Professor Emeritus Emmie Craddock

The Roy F. and Joann Cole Mitte Foundation is a non-profit corporation created in 1994. Both Roy F. and Joann Cole Mitte are graduates of Texas State as is their son, Scott Mitte. Beneficiaries of the foundation?s philanthropy include scholarship programs at four national business schools at Pennsylvania State University, Ohio State University, Indiana University and Texas A&M University, as well as Central Texas nonprofit groups that serve the elderly, youth, education, health, technology and entrepreneurial endeavors.