Foyt Family Endowment for Student Affairs

Dec 16, 2009 | Excellence Funds & Program Support

When Carol Shepherd set out to honor her parents with an endowment, she chose the Horns Helping Horns organization to benefit from the Foyt Family Endowment for Student Affairs. The Foyt family has a long and storied relationship with The University of Texas, and Ms. Shepherd believes that Horns Helping Horns embodies the giving spirit of her parents, Mr. Arthur Foyt and Mrs. Virginia Foyt.  Mrs. Shepherd said,

“My hope is that many wonderful students, through this endowment, are given opportunities they may not have had otherwise. I know that my parents would be thrilled that students are being given a helping hand.”

Some students arrive at The University of Texas with little more than a handful of belongings. These students are the focus of Horns Helping Horns, a program devoted to providing the neediest of Longhorns with items that will help them feel comfortable in their new home at UT. The program matches Longhorns with a mentor who helps them shop for items to furnish their rooms and also provides funds for books, tuition and fees, room and board, and travel. The Foyt Family Endowment for Student Affairs positively affects highly motivated UT students by providing for their material needs so they can concentrate on their educations.

Carol Ann Foyt Shepherd

Carol Ann Foyt Shepherd grew up just one block from the UT campus at 1910 San Antonio Street. Her father, Arthur Foyt, owned a pipe and tobacco shop at 2222 Guadalupe Street, right on the Drag. The shop, named Foyt’s, was a University institution in its own right for several decades. Opened in the 1940s, the shop was frequented by students, professors, and even University presidents. The Sunday New York Times would arrive at Foyt’s on Tuesday mornings and Arthur would go in especially early to mark each paper with a black wax pencil for the professors who ordered copies.

With only six hours needed to complete his BA, Arthur left UT to become a barber and later an entrepreneur, putting aside his own ambitions to be a lawyer in order to support his three sisters while they earned UT degrees. Arthur was the oldest of 10 children, and when his father died in 1921 Arthur took over the barbershop to support the family. He even worked as a barber after he moved to Austin to attend UT in 1933. Carol recalls that men would come to their house well into the ’60s to have her father give them a trim.

Carol Ann, George, Arthur, Virginia, and Charles Foyt in 1982
Carol’s mother, Virginia Foyt, worked in the University Health Center from the ’50s to the ’70s and was beloved by everyone who knew her, from cafeteria employees to physicians. Carol’s friends thought of Mrs. Foyt as a second mother because she was always available to listen or provide a shoulder to cry on.

Foyt’s store on the Drag sat next to the Texas Theater in a building owned by the University Co-op. In 1965 the Co-op wanted to rent the space occupied by Foyt’s, so Arthur moved his store to the Littlefield Building in downtown Austin. When the store moved, Arthur donated the shelving to the University. Harry Huntt Ransom, the University president, wrote Arthur a letter thanking him for his donation. In the letter, Dr. Ransom wrote, “We shall miss the landmark of your shop by the theater. In the years when I had time to move about and shop, I always enjoyed a visit to your bailiwick. We shall miss you.”

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