The Story of the Williams Endowment

Mathematics is the key to almost all majors in Business, Engineering and the Sciences. A student who does well in Mathematics is on the way to becoming a leader in modern society. You can help shape the future of Texas by investing in Mathematics Education for Texas.

You can donate to the Bob Williams Endowment for Excellence In Undergraduate Mathematics. The Williams Endowment provides money to support, reward, and encourage undergraduates in mathematics. See our Williams Scholars.

The Williams Endowment was started in 1999, with donations from two Mathematics faculty. Although many individuals have donated money to aid undergraduates, the Williams Fund is the first permanent endowment. This means that only the interest from the Fund, and not the principal, can be spent. In practical terms, this means that the Williams Endowment will continue to benefit UT students into the next century, and beyond.

UT alumnus and Mathematics Professor Bob Williams tells the story of the endowment:

"When my mother was 6 she moved from Thompson, Texas to Runge, Texas in a covered wagon. When I was 6, my father borrowed a truck from uncle JL and moved us from Woodlake to Austin. He wanted his 3 children to go to the University of Texas. All three boys got UT degrees and 2 of us went on to get PhD's. The eldest studied economics and the middle became an architect.

"I entered UT in January, 1945 at age 16. Classes were small, partly as World War II was not yet over. I took courses in Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, English, German, Anthropology, Economics, Biology, History, ... and loved it. I had always liked mathematics but one teacher had turned me against it in my last year in Austin High. As a freshman in college I took analytical geometry under Burton Jones, a really wonderful man, and he renewed my love of mathematics. He immediately put me in touch with R L Moore, and many other professors of the Mathematics Department. Within about a year, I was grading papers and had a key to the mathematics office.

"One of the missions of a great university is to help young people find themselves. It is harder nowadays. Today's calculus students often work 20 or 30 hours a week off campus. To help the developing generation of mathematics student we must be clever.

"The 'Bob Williams Endowment for Excellence in Undergraduate Education' (so pompously named by the development office) is a modest start."