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Christie Skinner and Thomas W. Gilligan Distinguished Scholars Endowment

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The Christie Skinner and Thomas W. Gilligan Distinguished Scholars Endowment was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System in 2015. Included as part of the prestigious McCombs Scholars Program, this endowment was created in an effort to recognize Thomas W. Gilligan’s dedication, service, and accomplishments while serving as dean of the McCombs School of Business from 2008-2015. McCombs Scholars Program scholarship endowments provide support for outstanding business school students. Recipient Margaret Berno said, “When I found out that I had been named the inaugural Gilligan’s Scholar, I was over the moon… I am incredibly honored and excited to have been recognized by the McCombs School of Business in this way.” With nearly $1 million raised and more than 200 individual donors supporting this endowment, the recipients of the Christie Skinner and Thomas W. Gilligan Distinguished Scholars Endowment are well-equipped to fully exemplify the university’s slogan, “What starts here changes the world.”

A native of Oklahoma, Gilligan served in the U.S. Air Force before earning a B.A. from the University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. from Washington University in Saint Louis, both in economics. He began his academic career at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and was a visiting professor at Stanford and Northwestern. But his longest tenure has been 20 years on the faculty of the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.

Recruited to be dean of the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, Gilligan oversaw the development of a new strategic plan for the McCombs School that reexamined and updated its mission and goals and introduced a flurry of new initiatives. A new Department of Business Government and Society was created, the popular business foundations courses were augmented with an online program, and the McCombs Teaching Awards were established to encourage and recognize excellence in business education. During Dean Gilligan’s tenure, the school saw a rise in faculty reputation, an expansion of undergraduate scholarships, and an increase in the number of companies that recruited McCombs students for internships and careers. Gilligan also successfully oversaw the planning of and fundraising for a new, state-of-the-art facility for the MBA program – Robert B. Rowling Hall – opening in 2017.

Dean Thomas W. Gilligan led the McCombs School with energy, focus, and new ideas, and left a positive, lasting legacy.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Dean’s Gallery, recognizing the centennial of the BBA program. 

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