They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that apparently includes donations. UT Arlington alumnus Kelcy Warren has made a $12 million gift to the school’s College of Engineering. It’s the largest donation of its kind in school history. UTA plans to commemorate Warren’s historic gift by naming several faculty positions in his honor, as well as some of the school’s lab space and a career experience center. The donation will also endow several scholarships that will bear Warren’s name. 

Warren’s generous donation is earmarked for UTA’s resource and energy engineering department. The field focuses on a variety of vital aspects of the energy industry, including designing and developing energy storage and distribution systems, resource extraction, assessment of environmental impacts, renewable energy tech, and more. UT Arlington is at the forefront of schools training the next generation of resource and energy engineers, providing a first-of-its-kind degree focused specifically in the field. Warren’s donation will also help recruit and retain top faculty talent, furthering the University’s prestige and contributions to the field. In addition, the money will be used to create a program of “Warren Fellows,” funding costs for graduate students interested in energy careers. Meanwhile, students of all levels will get to learn firsthand what it’s like to work in the field through the funding for experiential education and internships through the new career center. Finally, Warren’s funding will as well as leading the win on cutting-edge research into the energy technology and systems of tomorrow.

In a statement, Warren said he was honored to give back to his alma mater, going on to say the Lone Star State has a “critical need for highly skilled graduates who can manage energy resources.” UTA President Jennifer Cowley praised Warren’s “bold philanthropic vision” which she said would “forever change the landscape of UTA and leave a lasting legacy.” University of Texas System chancellor James B. Milliken called it “far-sighted” and lauded his “deep commitment to students and the potential they bring to our state’s future.”

Kelcy Warren is certainly familiar with significant giving, especially to UTA. Warren had previously donated more than $4 million over more than two decades. This money was used to create a graduate fellowship in engineering in his name, as well as a professorship honoring his mentor and former UTA professor Dr. Syed Qasim, who he credits with helping turn his life around after struggles his freshman year.  Warren was named a distinguished alumnus in 2007, and has served on the University’s Board of Regents since 2019. He’s a native Texan, graduating from UT Arlington in 1978 with a degree in civil engineering. His career in the energy industry has involved helping grow several companies, culminating in his current role as chairman and CEO of Energy Transfer, which gathers, processes, and transports natural gas and oil. In the past, Warren has also been honored with inductions into the Texas Business Hall of Fame, Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, and Ammys Hall of Fame. Despite his wide-ranging and successful career, Warren will doubtless make one of his most significant impacts on the lives of the countless scholars and students who will benefit from this generous gift. 

By Manali