The Meadows Foundation honored with Lamar Medal for higher education

By Matt Flores
University News Service
January 23, 2015

The Meadows Foundation, Inc., a Dallas-based private philanthropic institution aimed at improving the quality of life for Texans, has been awarded the prestigious Mirabeau B. Lamar Medal – given annually to individuals, foundations and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to higher education in Texas.

The award was presented during a January 21 luncheon at the Headliners Club in Austin.

Established in 1948 by Algur H. and Virginia Meadows, the foundation assists Texas individuals and institutions in improving the quality and circumstances of life for themselves and future generations. Since 1985, The Meadows Foundation has awarded more than 650 grants totaling $165.3 million in support of higher education.

“Higher education and philanthropic partners have many opportunities to be innovative in addressing the needs of students and our communities,” said Bruce Esterline, senior vice president for strategic initiatives and grants, in accepting the award on behalf of the foundation. “We've made solid strides in addressing student access and will continue to pursue areas of access, affordability and timely graduation.”

Created in 1977, the Lamar Medal is presented annually by members of the Council of Public University Presidents and Chancellors, the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas and the Texas Association of Community Colleges. The Meadows Foundation was nominated for the award by Texas State University President Denise M. Trauth.

The foundation partnered with the university and created The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, an institute originally established in 2002 at the former Aquarena Springs resort in San Marcos. The center’s primary mission is to address challenges associated with environmental sustainability. The Foundation has also supported other programs at Texas State, including Mathworks, which focuses on improving K-12 math education. 

“The foundation’s gift to establish The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment was transformational for Texas State, as it provided the resources for the university to support endowed faculty positions, graduate student fellowships and research on critically important areas for the future of Texas,” Trauth said, adding, “Moreover, in the last three years, The Meadows Foundation has awarded 35 grants to higher education institutions in Texas totaling more than $27 million in key areas of the environment, public education and mental health.”

Also participating in the presentation were Austin Community College District President/CEO Richard Rhodes and St. Edward’s University President George Martin.