Endowments in Biodiversity

Billie L. Turner Endowment

Dr. Billie Lee Turner was the second official director of the Plant Resources Center for approximately 42 years starting in 1958 while serving on the faculty at UT. During his tenure, the herbarium experienced its greatest period of expansion. After his retirement, Dr. Turner continued his research in plant systematics and floristics for nearly two decades. During these years, Dr. Turner committed to bequeathing a sizeable portion of his eventual estate to support the continued financial health of the Plant Resources Center. In recognition of his generosity, in 2017 the UT Board of Regents voted to rename the facility The Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center. The Center began receiving funds even before Dr. Turner's death in 2020 and funding of the Billie L. Turner Endowment was completed during 2022. Today, interest from this endowment contributes to all aspects of the Center, including support for staff salaries, funding for hourly student workers and interns, a graduate student fellowship, and other operating expenses.

The Stengl-Wyer Endowment

The Stengl-Wyer Endowment is a generous estate gift to The University of Texas at Austin from alumna and former physician Lorraine "Casey" Stengl. This gift has a dramatic impact on educational efforts and scientific research examining plants, animals and their interactions with the natural world.

The endowment is the largest in the College of Natural Sciences. Collective lifetime and estate gifts from Stengl and her partner Lorraine Wyer totaling nearly $45 million and will cement the university's reputation for having one of the top programs in the country for research in ecology and evolutionary biology.

The endowment supports a number of programs: the Stengl-Wyer Postdoctoral Scholars Program which provides up to three years of independent support for talented postdoctoral researchers in the broad area of the diversity of life and/or organisms in their natural environments; year-long fellowships for doctoral candidates pursuing dissertation research in the area of Diversity of life and organisms in their natural environments; and grants to support research for current faculty and research staff. 

The Winkler Family Foundation

The Winkler Family Foundation has provided unrestricted funding to the UT Biodiversity Center that has been used for supporting graduate student research, graduate tuition, summer support, and public outreach projects in biodiversity. Their generous funding has been critical to the success of biodiversity research, training, and outreach at the University of Texas, including support of the Falcon Cam on the UT Tower.

Winn Family Foundation

The Winn Family Foundation donation is the largest in the college’s history. The donation supports the creation of UT field stations, long-term operations for the Texas Field Station Network, as well as related biological and environmental research, educational programs and public outreach. The field station’s long-term monitoring will help land owners and policymakers better understand how changes in climate, species and development affect the land, water and other natural resources.