Jerry Hodge, former mayor of Amarillo, has decided to withdraw his planned $10 million donation to Texas Tech due to "constant frustration" with the Tech System’s Board of Regents.
Hodge said his frustration began with the early retirement of Chancellor Robert Duncan in August, and that frustration continued when he was informed the regents were discussing where his $10 million donation would be allocated, despite Hodge’s wishes to give it to the veterinary school.
Due to these constant frustrations, Hodge is not only withdrawing his planned donation, but is also calling for the resignation of Rick Francis, chairman of Tech’s board of regents.
Hodge released the email where he removed his donation to a website called The Other Side of Texas. In this email, he detailed his distrust in five regents after he had lunch with Texas A&M’s Chancellor Sharp where Sharp informed Hodge of his proposed donation.
"It is a sad day to me, the turn of events. I had lunch with Chancellor Sharp about six weeks ago, and he made a statement that let me know [that] he knew about our proposed gift,” Hodge said in his email. “Again, it had to come from someone within Tech. Who? I can’t believe anyone on the staff would be talking to Sharp. Was it a regent?”
Tech President Lawrence Schovanec talked to KFYO radio and said the System continues to raise money for the vet school, including a $2.5 million gift from Caviness Meat Packers. Schovanec also said he has spoken to Hodge and he understands why Hodge is upset.
“[Hodge] is still supportive of the vet school, very supportive,” Schovanec said. “He said ‘I’m not prepared to give the gift at this time.’”
Tech’s Interim Chancellor Tedd Mitchell released a statement on the matter on Monday, Sept. 10, where he said he was still working with Hodge and his wife, Margaret, in regards to the vet school as well as the School of Pharmacy.
“Jerry Hodge has dedicated his life to the betterment of Amarillo, the Texas Panhandle and the entire state of Texas. Among his many civic endeavors, he was instrumental in helping establish our nationally ranked School of Pharmacy in Amarillo, working to garner the community support and critical funding needed to turn a big vision into reality,” Mitchell said in a statement. “I am forever grateful to Jerry and Margaret and remain committed to working with them on both the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine and School of Pharmacy.”
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