University of Texas at Dallas: ECLAT Gift Bolsters UTD Student Support, Completes $1M Endowment

The Education Changes Lives and Times (ECLAT) Foundation, a Dallas-based nonprofit that provides scholarships and other educational opportunities to Chinese, Taiwanese and Asian American students, will provide funds to complete a $1 million endowment for the Naveen Jindal School of Management at The University of Texas at Dallas.

A ceremony was held March 22 to recognize the foundation’s support and to name the Jindal School’s atrium in honor of the organization.

Dr. Hasan Pirkul, Caruth Chair and dean of the Jindal School, said the close ties between the Asian community and UT Dallas stem from the work that Texas Instruments and other Texas businesses did in the 1960s when the University was founded.

“Many people don’t know this, but Halliburton Co. and Dresser Industries [which merged with Halliburton] were funding scholarships, and so the first students that came out of China ended up here in Dallas,” he said. “The roots of the community [are] strong, and the numbers are even stronger now. And it all goes back to very early cooperation between our school and the community, so it’s great to see that the community is giving back to the school, to our university.”

Pirkul said the endowment will grow over time and will support thousands of students through the years.

“Many, many years after we are gone, this particular endowment will be supporting students and changing their lives,” he said. “I can’t think of anything else that’s more meaningful than creating an endowment at an educational institution.”

Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker, who attended the naming event, said his dream is that when international students come to UT Dallas, they get implanted into the community; they understand the environment; and they stay.

“But if they don’t stay here, and they go home, my dream is that they’ll continue to come back and forth — that we’ll have bilateral communications, bilateral trade that will have a shared culture,” he said.

As an example of such partnership, Voelker pointed to the city’s relationship with the Global Development Initiative — a collaboration between the city of Richardson, the Richardson Chamber of Commerce/Richardson Economic Development Partnership and the Jindal School’s Center for Global Business, in which students work as consultants to international business to perform market studies for potential entry into the North Texas marketplace.

“Some very bright students from all over the world help businesses from all over the world come here and explore the North American marketplace, try to decide how they might enter this marketplace. … I can promise you that the research these students do is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they do it for free,” Voelker said.

Jane Jan, who co-founded ECLAT with her husband, Dr. Yih-Min Jan, said that after the 10-year anniversary of the foundation, they wanted it to be more sustainable and benefit more students in the future.

“[Our] board came up with an idea,” she said. “We wanted to team up with Naveen Jindal School of Management to set up an endowment fund for the international students as our first step. Maybe we will have more, but … this is the first small step we did.”

Melissa Bettis, Jindal School interim assistant dean for development and alumni relations, said, “Gifts such as this one from ECLAT are an example of how the community can work alongside a top-tier public research institution. Such partnerships provide access to higher education opportunities for the leaders of tomorrow.”

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