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Former General Dynamics employee gives $35M to UT engineering school

Born in Lorena, Texas, in 1935, Whaley spent his childhood moving from place to place during the last years of the Great Depression. He was adopted at age 15 by parents who made education a priority. After attending the Allen Academy in Bryan, Texas, and serving in the Army, he earned two degrees at Texas A&M University before working for General Dynamics on the construction of the F-111 aircraft.

He earned his doctorate from UT Austin, where he studied signal strength of electromagnetic waves, and he was recruited by the CIA after graduation because of his expertise in antenna technology. Later, he returned to Texas to help manage his family’s farm, which he helped expand to 4,000 acres. Whaley’s wealth originated from oil and gas royalties, and it grew as he accumulated and oversaw a portfolio of stocks and bonds.

A proud Cockrell School alumnus, Whaley had a long history of supporting engineering education at UT Austin. In 1974, he became a charter member of the Friends of Alec annual giving program, named for the Cockrell School’s patron saint, Alexander Frederick Claire, known best by the nickname “Alec,” whose legend dates to 1908. Whaley continued to support Friends of Alec with yearly gifts for decades.

In 2014-15, the new endowment’s first year, 34 students from across Texas will receive Whaley Scholarships and pursue studies across all seven engineering departments at the Cockrell School. - from the University of Texas news release. 

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Central Texas electrical engineer who earned his doctorate at the University of Texas has donated $35 million to the school in Austin.

UT officials and the Cockrell School of Engineering on Thursday announced the scholarship funding from the estate of T.W. "Tom" Whaley.

Whaley, who was born in 1935 in Lorena, died last year. School officials say it's largest gift that UT has received for a scholarship endowment.

Whaley, after serving in the Army, earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Texas A&M University before working for General Dynamics.

Whaley received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1968 from the Cockrell School of Engineering. His gift will fund scholarships for Texans in the fields of engineering and science. Whaley's gift also includes about 700 mineral rights across 10 states.
 

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