Trinity University Receives Largest Gift in the University’s History for Naming of the D. R. Semmes School of Science

San Antonio, March 08, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — With the largest gift in Trinity University’s history at $26.5 million, the University is honored to announce the naming of the D. R. Semmes School of Science.
“This investment by the Semmes Foundation accelerates our goal to deliver the best undergraduate science education in the United States,” said Vanessa B. Beasley, Ph.D., President of Trinity University. “Trinity and the Semmes Foundation have long been partners in opportunities for undergraduate science education, and this historic investment will help us advance our mission to deliver world-class teaching and increase students’ access to research opportunities in STEM.”

Through its gift, the Semmes Foundation will expand Trinity University’s nationally recognized hands-on learning and research opportunities. Amplifying Trinity’s rigorous and exploratory approach to the liberal arts, this gift will ensure that Trinity University continues to offer an exceptional education in the sciences through world-class faculty, curricula, and state-of-the-art facilities.


“The sciences are at the core of a broad liberal arts education, and Trinity fundamentally understands this. We are creating the next generation of scientists across an array of disciplines that will address the world’s major questions,” said Tom Semmes, President of the Semmes Foundation.

According to data released last week by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), giving to higher education last year was less than the previous year. This transformational gift from the Semmes Foundation is already being recognized as evidence of Trinity University’s long-standing commitment to the liberal arts through the exploration and problem-solving inspired and realized through the sciences.

“Those of us in research and innovation careers know it’s not an either-or proposition, as the modern economy is fueled by those with human-centered skills who can approach our greatest global challenges with out-of-the-box critical thinking,” said Larry Schlesinger, M.D., President/CEO of Texas Biomedical Research Institute. “This tremendous gift puts Trinity and its students at the forefront of this sophisticated and exciting future.”

“Trinity University has long been a well-respected liberal arts college that also offers degrees in many technical fields. This outstanding gift will help Trinity enhance its efforts in preparing graduates for future endeavors where combining STEM and liberal arts will be critically important,” said Adam Hamilton, P.E., President and CEO of Southwest Research Institute. “We look forward to collaborating with Trinity and offering its students real-world experience in the sciences.”

The history between the Semmes Foundation and Trinity University runs deep. The Semmes Foundation’s first gift to Trinity was in 1953. Trinity’s faculty includes the Semmes Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, an endowed position. Through the years, the Semmes Distinguished Scholars in Science have developed and collaborated on undergraduate research projects and have proven to be innovative leaders who bring strong communication skills as scientists.

Kylie Moden, class of 2017, was one such Semmes Scholar. Moden, who has built her career as a product manager at Microsoft,, and DoorDash, is a witness to the intersection of the liberal arts and the sciences. “It was so clear that Trinity was funding its sciences and valued its technology, where other liberal arts schools weren’t,” Moden said of arriving at Trinity as a first-year student. “Sometimes, you might forget the humans on the other side of the software. Trinity showed me it cared about the human aspect of the sciences.”

“In so many ways, the Semmes Foundation has directly aided in the future and continuing success of all of the students I have had the privilege of mentoring at Trinity,” said current Semmes Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Jason Shearer, Ph.D.

In addition to providing dedicated funding for undergraduate research opportunities and supporting faculty development, this historic $26.5 million gift from the Semmes Foundation will endow the dean of the D.R. Semmes School of Science position as well as two D.R. Semmes School of Science faculty positions.

The D.R. Semmes School of Science houses the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering Science, Earth and Environmental Geosciences, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, Psychology, and three interdisciplinary programs: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mathematical Finance, and Neuroscience.


ABOUT TRINITY UNIVERSITY Trinity University is a national liberal arts and sciences university in San Antonio, the 7th largest and one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., where students learn from and participate in a multicultural urban environment. Trinity University’s endowment is valued at $1.7 billion, and the University’s student profile reflects that of a highly selective national liberal arts institution. With a 28% admit rate for the Class of 2027, more than 49% of enrolled students are U.S. students of color. Overall, Trinity’s 2,570 undergraduates come from 45 U.S. states and 41 countries across the world. Discover more about Trinity University.


  • The gift will bolster undergraduate research

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