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Meadows gift to endow water research center

Posted by University News Service

Aug. 24, 2012

A million-dollar gift from The Meadows Foundation will help establish a $10 million center at Texas State University-San Marcos that will focus on water research and water’s relationship with the environment, university officials announced Friday.

In recognition of the gift, the Texas State University System Board of Regents officially renamed Texas State’s River Systems Institute as “The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment” during its regular meeting held Friday in Austin.

The Dallas-based foundation intends to continue funding the center over the next several years to permanently endow the center, university and foundation officials said. The initial $1 million gift will support the work of the center’s director, Andrew Sansom.

Texas State will seek other philanthropic gifts and state funds to cover the balance needed to support the new center.

“We are deeply grateful to The Meadows Foundation for its support of water and the environment in Texas,” said Texas State President Denise Trauth. “The foundation has been a generous supporter of the university for many years and is dedicated to improving the environment in our state. Water is a core value at Texas State and the Meadows Center is uniquely poised to be a leader in this country on that topic by combining research, stewardship, education and service.”

The gift is directly related to The Meadows Foundation’s strategic plan for the environment, which places a priority on environmental issues focused on water quantity and quality, land and habitat conservation, sustainable energy and environmental awareness.

“Establishing the Center is a critical step toward our goal of preserving a sustainable supply of water to support the needs of Texas’ residents, wildlife and natural habitats by providing scientific research on which to base sound water management policies in Texas,” explained Linda Perryman Evans, president and CEO of The Meadows Foundation.

The River Systems Institute was founded in 2002 with support from the Meadows Foundation, which recognizes the Texas State center as the leader in environmental preservation.

The Meadows Center will collaborate with other entities at Texas State, including the nationally recognized Department of Geography and the Aquatic Resources program in the Department of Biology. Other collaborations will involve research centers at other universities in Texas and around the world.

The new center has well-established ties with other entities and is supported by the three Texas agencies which address water-related issues: the Texas Water Development Board, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

“This gift truly transforms our work,” said Sansom. “The Meadows Foundation commitment will enable us to build on our success, expand research into key areas such as water conservation, environmental flows, watershed protection and environmental education; and make a major contribution in the years ahead to both the economic prosperity and the environment of Texas.”

When fully funded, the Meadows Center will include a conservation leadership endowment for the center’s director, two endowed chairs and two endowed professorships. Additionally, outstanding students from across the United States will come to Texas State for learning and research opportunities through the Meadows Endowed Graduate Fellows program.

“Water is the only substance without which no life can exist,” said Trauth. “It is clearly the most critical natural resource issue facing Texas in the coming generation and, thanks to The Meadows Foundation, Texas State will assume an even larger and more effective role in addressing it on behalf of future generations.”

The Meadows Foundation was established in 1948 by Algur H. and Virginia Meadows to benefit the people of Texas. The foundation’s mission is to assist the people and institutions of Texas to improve the quality and circumstances of life for themselves and future generations. Since 1991, the foundation has contributed more than $3 million to Texas State, including gifts to the university’s water initiatives, its Mathworks program and the Southwest Humanities Center.

The Texas State University System Board of Regents is the governing body for Texas’ oldest university system, which comprises eight institutions: Lamar University; Sam Houston State University; Texas State University-San Marcos; Sul Ross State University; Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College; Lamar Institute of Technology; Lamar State College-Orange; and Lamar State College-Port Arthur.