Union College just received the largest donation in its history from a pair of alums, who this year, will be celebrating their 40th college reunion. Chairman, President and CEO of Texas Instruments Rich Templeton and his wife, philanthropist Mary Templeton, both class of 1980, have given a record $51 million to Union, the largest alumni donation in the school’s 225-year history.
On February 21, Union President David R. Harris revealed the massive gift, which will go towards the establishment of the Templeton Institute for Engineering and Computer Science, while also looking to help improve the recruitment and retention rate of women pursuing degrees within this field of work, according to the college. “Mary and Rich Templeton are tremendous examples of what we want for all our students at Union College,” said President Harris in a statement. “I am grateful that they appreciate they were more prepared for careers and life because they majored in engineering and computer science at a school that emphasizes the liberal arts, and even more so that they are committed to ensuring future generations have similar opportunities.”
Rich Templeton, who graduated from Union in 1980 with a degree in electrical engineering, joining Texas Instruments, a global semiconductor design and manufacturing company, shortly after that. He worked his way up to CEO in 2004, and eventually, chairman of the board in 2008. “The idea of liberal arts and engineering coming together makes sense and what’s really exciting is that Union is positioned to be best at this,” said Templeton, following the announcement. His wife, Mary, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and spent 14 years at the General Electric Company, echoed her husband’s sentiment. “Union is obviously very special to us and in retrospect it is the foundation upon which we started our lives and the foundation on which we raised our family,” she said, noting that “having a strong technological background combined with a liberal arts degree [was] a successful formula” for her and her husband.
To date, the college has reportedly been given $221 million from nearly 20,000 donors during their latest fundraising campaign—including donations from more than 11,000 alumni, with 44 gifts of $1 million or more.
The Templetons’ gift will also be put towards faculty support, making enhancements to curriculum and further developing spaces and facilities on campus.