The gift will fund the director's position at the Edith O'Donnell Institute of Art History; the position will be held initially by Richard R. Brettell, chair of the school's art and aesthetic studies department. In addition, the gift will support ten graduate research fellowships, four distinguished chairs, and an endowed research and program fund.
The 87-year-old O'Donnell and her family have supported higher education, scientific innovation, and the arts at UT Dallas for decades, including a gift of $9.3 million from the O'Donnell Foundation to the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences in 2013 and a gift of $135 million through 2010 from her husband, Peter. Last November, the $60 million Edith O'Donnell Arts and Technology building was dedicated in her name.
"There is a natural affinity between science and the arts," said O'Donnell in a statement. "UT-Dallas founders Erik Jonsson, Eugene McDermott, and Cecil Green actively supported the arts. For over sixty years, I have worked to advance arts education and cultural awareness. Now, I look forward to seeing what the future holds for art history, UTD-style."