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With Margaret McDermott’s passing, we all deeply feel the loss of an extraordinary woman and philanthropist.  She had a sharp wit, a kind heart, an unquenchable spirit of curiosity, and a keen eye for how best to invest in improving her community and the world.  She invested in irreplaceable art, music, and culture of all kinds for the benefit of all Dallas residents.  But she also invested in us, bringing us together and ensuring we received a top-notch education and the skills we would need to lead our own communities.  We will never forget her legacy.  We will bear the torch proudly forward.  We will do our very best to honor her with every act of service and leadership, with every step we take to follow in her footsteps and leave the world a better place than we found it. 

The Eugene McDermott Scholars Alumni Association


  • To read Margaret McDermott’s Obituary in the Dallas Morning News, click here.​

  • To read the University’s tribute to Margaret McDermott’s Legacy, click here.

  • UT Dallas names Trellis Plaza, Mall after Margaret McDermott - read more here.


Mrs. McDermott was an incredible woman, who inspired generations of students, teachers, doctors, lawyers, artists, and many more. Her dedication to academics and the arts has already and will continue to allow thousands to improve their own lives and the lives around them. While being a leader of service and a visionary of change, she expected and evoked the best from those she knew.

Greg McGuire, ‘09

Regarding the Vice President prior to our visit to Washington DC in the early 2000s:

"Now, you tell Dick that he needs to come back home to Dallas... I miss giving him his Wall Street Journal every morning." - Margaret McDermott

When Vice President Cheney was asked why he took the time out of his inordinately busy schedule to meet with a small group of freshman college students from UTD, he simply said, "When Margaret says jump, I say how high."


I hope that helps, but who could really put into words how she transformed this city, planting a cultural garden with uncommonly deep roots for these soils while helping cultivate the minds that will tend to it and make it flourish for generations to come.

Justin Appleby, ‘01

MMM Ranch 2016.jpg

The generosity of Mrs. McDermott changed the lives of countless students. She had an incredible way of combining her love of education, art, culture, and service to the Dallas community into her philanthropy and daily life. Mrs. McDermott lived with integrity, generosity, and grace, and she inspired those around her to do the same.

Arden Wells, ‘12

Margaret believed in education, fellowship, and the arts. As a quintessential philanthropist, she shaped our lives and the world around her with the simple touch of her benevolence but also incredible forethought.

I am deeply sad and moved by what the world has lost today, but am awed, knowing that her legacy lives on in each and every one of us, in Dallas, in Texas, and the world.

Arie Litovsky, ‘06

Mrs. McDermott’s generosity and values will live on through her many contributions to education, philanthropy, the arts, and the betterment of the city of Dallas. Her funding of the McDermott Scholars Program created a family of scholars who challenge, support, and shape one another and we are committed to giving back throughout our own lives because of her gift to us. She changed my life, and the lives of many others, in an extraordinary way and we remain forever grateful.

Nancy Fairbank, ‘13

Mrs. McDermott’s spirit captivated us all as college students - we could hardly keep up with her! Her vision and fortitude lives on in our creative and professional pursuits. Without a doubt, I wouldn’t be who I am today without her transformative impact on my younger self.

Samia Hossain, ‘06

I once had the distinct pleasure of spending Thanksgiving with Mrs. McDermott many years ago, along with several other scholars who for one reason or another could not go home for the holidays. I'll never forget that Fall.


Mrs. McDermott made the day simply magical, opening her heart and home to us. Sitting beside us at the dinner table, Mrs. McDermott laughed often and smiled widely as she asked questions reflecting her deeply genuine interest in our hopes and dreams. Being in her presence, we felt like one of the family. Her sharp wit was matched only by her evergreen good humor. Mrs. McDermott carried herself with a soft grace and elegance such that when she spoke, as she often did so eloquently, entire rooms would fall silent so as to not miss a word.


She remains one of my most cherished role models. I am honored to be the first black McDermott scholar. And given the great respect and gratitude I have for the program that she has generously funded, I always tried to comport myself in alignment with the values Mr. and Mrs. McDermott shared -- leadership through service, integrity, appreciation for the arts, scholastic excellence, global citizenship, community engagement, and charity. Mrs. McDermott was in so many ways a living embodiment of these golden principles, leading by example over the more than 100 years that she lived. The legacy and the love she leaves behind are truly a testament to the incalculable impact she made on so many lives... not least of all mine.


I am forever indebted to her generosity... and to her friendship. A friendship that began over a decade ago when she invited me, a homesick Scholar, home to her ranch for Thanksgiving. Thank you, Mrs. McDermott, for forever changing my life.

Chanel Matney, ‘07

“How are you going to make Dallas better, the World better? What will you contribute?"

Mrs. McDermott

As remembered by Molly Seeligson, Director Emerita of the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program

Our successes in life are a small part hard effort, showing up and doing the work, and a massive part good fortune. For myself and so many people that I know, Mrs. McDermott is the embodiment of that good fortune. For over a century she fostered Dallas' arts and education, including the The Eugene McDermott Scholars Program, in a way that has made a huge impact on so many lives. What a sad loss for Dallas, UTD, and the many people and organizations that Mrs. McDermott touched. But what joy that we get to count her among our great good fortunes in life.

Eric Ratliff, ‘06

Margaret McDermott was a woman rich in intellect, kindness, and generosity.  I am deeply grateful for the impact that her generosity has had on my life and for the ripples of impact that her life will have on generations to come.

Ben Weittenhiller, ‘02

One thing I will always remember is that whenever she met with the scholars, we would share with her all that we were doing, seeing, and learning to thank her. She always responded the same way: “Now, go share what you have learned with Dallas.” She was always thinking about others, and her life motivates me to do the same.

Priya Mathew, ‘13

Mrs. McDermott was a brilliant and vibrant woman whose passion for the community was matched only by her love for the people around her. Her generosity of spirit and the impact her philanthropy has had on the arts, education, and both the city of Dallas and the world itself will always have a lasting impression on the many lives she has touched. She constantly challenged us to be world-changing, earth-shaking, and to make a difference-and I can only hope to continue the legacy she has so lovingly shaped.

Lewis Chang, ‘07

Through Mrs. McDermott, I was gifted with a life-changing education. I studied under luminaries, traveled the world, and made lifelong friends. I fell in love with art, the symphony, and the opera. I grew up as a leader, scholar, and healer. She led with her example of grace, wit, and generosity. I was honored to have met her and am honored to be part of her legacy. She gave so much to me and I hope I can pay it forward in some small way.

Martin Huynh, ‘08

To live in Dallas is to know Margaret McDermott. I’ll never forget her words to my class of McDermott scholars that she hoped we would go out and make the world, but especially Dallas, a better place. She will be greatly missed, but her memory will live in the blossoming culture of the city that she created.

Lindsey Ward, ‘12

We will forever be grateful to Mrs. McDermott for all the blessings she brought to our lives. Not only did she provide for our one-of-a-kind education, she also brought us into a community of amazing young men and women where we met each other. The week of our wedding, she welcomed us into her home to share a meal and wish us well on our future adventures. Her genuine enthusiasm for life shown through in her expressions of love and excitement for us. She will be greatly missed.

Kayla Marcotte, ‘10 and Ryan Marcotte, ‘11

Mrs. McDermott was a wonderful woman who made the most amazing college experience possible. She was kind, intelligent, and so very generous. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to know her. The world is a better place because of you Mrs. McDermott. We will miss you!

Kimberly McCain, ‘02

Mrs. McDermott was never interested in thanks, at least not verbal thanks. She was far more interested in seeing what people did with the opportunities she extended to us.  I've never known how to explain that it's not just these opportunities I'm grateful for, but also the example she set. She's shown me how a person can take individual privilege and transform it into a force of good in our communities. Her generosity towards me, towards the McDermott Scholars Program, towards UTD, and towards Dallas more broadly exemplifies the type of care she hoped to cultivate in each of her McDermott Scholars.


Through the program, Mrs. McDermott gave me so many chances to expand my abilities, and in doing so, she instilled in me a sense of responsibility - not to give back, but to give forward. Even though she's not here to see it, I hope that my future work does express my gratitude to her for all the opportunities she's given me. And while I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to live up to the example Mrs. McDermott set, I deeply hope that my efforts to live up to those ideals show how very, very grateful I am for the role she has played in my life.

Nina Haug, ‘12

Many outstanding titles have been used throughout the years to describe Mrs. McDermott and her love for the arts, Dallas, and improving the world. Yet in recent years she had a new favorite--match-maker, a reflection of the magnitude of ways in which she always impacted people's lives for the better.

Alex Garcia Topete, ‘07

We lost a truly great philanthropist today in Margaret McDermott. While I am saddened by this news, I am uplifted by knowing that her spirit lives on in us. It is my sincerest hope that we will continue to fulfill her's & Eugene's legacy of compassion, generosity, and an unwavering dedication to changing Dallas and the world for the better.

Cheng Lee, ‘02

I am saddened to hear that one of the most generous and inspiring people that I have been privileged enough to know has passed. My life has been so positively impacted by Mrs. McDermott and she will be truly missed by the numerous amounts of people who I know feel the same.

Tabitha Terrell, ‘10

A light has gone out.


Margaret McDermott’s gift to UT Dallas was life changing, not just for me, but for my family. I joined a beautiful community inspired by her love of education, leadership, and community service that has grown with me since the day I became a Scholar. My best friends, my most treasured memories, and my greatest accomplishments: I cannot imagine my life without her generosity.

Monica Niewiarowski, ‘09

I remember attending finalist weekend my senior year of high school and being so excited to meet with such incredible undergraduates and alumni doing such impressive things. That was the beginning of the McDermott Scholars Program for me and it's been a truly incredible and life-changing experience ever since now nearly 10 years later. Mrs. McDermott was an amazing person who taught me so much through her generosity and interaction with students.


While I learned much from my studies at UT Dallas, I also learned things directly from Mrs. McDermott herself, including an appreciation for the arts in all its forms, an understanding of how incredible a city Dallas is and what its future holds and the power of one person's giving to make a difference in the lives of so many.


Mrs. McDermott, thank you for a lifetime of generosity and the difference you made in my life through the McDermott Scholars Program.

Andrew Previc, ‘09

Margaret McDermott was a force.  She wanted us to use what we learned, the education and opportunities she gave us, to change the world.  The older people get, the more jaded they tend to become. I can't count the number of times I've heard friends from law school say things like "dreams die" and "you can't do whatever you want" and "it's pointless, why bother."  But Mrs. McDermott never bought into that lie. She always asked us what we were going to do with our talents and how we were going to help our communities.  That's what I'll always remember about her--her steady, piercing eyes asking us those pointed questions.  


I think today about the work I'm privileged to do, and the people I'm privileged to help, even if I never meet them in person, or even if it's just to listen to their stories, look them in the face, and tell them they are not crazy.  I don't always get the result I want, but I do get to "show up" for them and be part of their good fight. That's due in substantial part to Margaret McDermott, and the program she started. That's her legacy. I hope she felt she made a good investment.

DeLisa Lay, ‘01

Margaret McDermott was exceptional in every way.  Like Eugene McDermott, she knew that investing in people would provide the most lasting legacy.  And invest she did!  She not only founded our beloved McDermott Scholars Program, among other prestigious scholarships.  She also took personal interest in her scholars and alumni. 


To her last weeks, she continued to seek out alumni and scholars to tell her about their travels, community service endeavors, and career plans.  She loved poring over a photo book containing the pictures and stories of the McDermott Scholars who have married each other.  She rejoiced in meeting the younger members of the families of our alumni as those families have grown and multiplied.  And she conscientiously introduced us to the Dallas philanthropic community. 

We will not fail to stay in touch with that community, and with similar communities all over the world, as we serve others in her memory.  We are thankful that she gave us the education and skills that we need to multiply the impact she has already made in the years to come.  We are grateful for all of the wonderful friendships (and marriages) that she enabled.  We will not let her down!

Megan and Jonathan Coker, ‘06

I recall receiving an email from the McDermott office with a letter Mrs. McDermott had written to me one spring day back in 2014. It was such a lovely surprise, and I felt touched and humbled by the fact that Mrs. McDermott had taken the time to see how I was doing. But anyone who has been blessed to know her would find this to be not at all surprising. Mrs. McDermott was a giant among giants, and I will especially remember her for her keen intellect, sharp wit, and compassionate heart.


She was a luminary who has done so much good in the world, and personally, I would not be where I am today without Mrs. McDermott. Her generosity provided me with a world-class education and cultural and travel experiences that have changed my life for the better. Mrs. McDermott was the epitome of selflessness and humility, and her life is a testament to how deeply she cared for all of us without asking for anything for herself in return. All she wishes is for us to give back to others, and I am honored to be able to carry on her vision and legacy.


My family and I are saddened by the loss of this beautiful soul and we will forever be grateful for our time with her. Mrs. McDermott, you will be so missed, always.

Truc Do Gunther, ‘09

It's hard to put into words just how Mrs. McDermott has influenced my life. On a very practical level, I firmly believe I would not have spent my undergrad years at UTD, or anything resembling what UTD has become, without her. I would not have the friends I do or be where I am professionally without her influence. More than that, her generosity, humility, and vision have inspired me to be and do better. She will be sorely missed.

Lauren Sechrist, ‘09

Mrs. McDermott possessed a keen vision for individual potential and tirelessly employed her talent to bring great minds together. Her gatherings, small or large, rivaled the greatest salons in Paris. And with each gathering, more people joined the grand project of building Dallas to its international potential. Her life, well lived, reveals the power of relationships between people, institutions, and communities. We have lost a singular leader, a beautiful woman, and a loving mentor, but her work continues through the lives she has touched.

Michael Seeligson, ‘02

I feel honored to have met Mrs. McDermott and witness her generosity and kindness so early in my life. I read an article today that mentioned that not only is Mrs. McDermott known for supporting many causes by donating large amounts of money, but she was often the first to make such donations. She provided the seed funding that got major projects started and triggered others to contribute.


I find Mrs. McDermott's influence in my life to be much the same. The McDermott Program and Mrs. McDermott were in many ways the first to invest in my growth, and the trajectory of my life has forever changed because of it. During moments of trepidation or self doubt, I often think back to this early investment in my future and keep moving forward. It gives me great strength to know that Mrs. McDermott and the McDermott Scholars Program believed in me so early on.


Mrs. McDermott was a spectacular role model to have so early in my life. Her fortitude and grace continue to inspire me, and I hope to make her proud for a long time to come.

Prisha Gaddam, ‘10

Margaret McDermott brings so much joy, adventure, and generosity to everything she is a part of.  Her energy to make the world a better place continues through her community, and I am forever inspired and grateful for her nurturing these qualities in me.

Anita Chandrahas, ‘11

Mrs. McDermott was an incredible leader. She was one of the most inspirational role models in my life, with her determination and generosity in serving and reshaping her community.

Husain Mogri, ‘10

While struggling to find the words to adequately convey the gratitude I feel for the profound impact Mrs. McDermott had upon my life as a result of her vision and generosity with the McDermott Scholars program, my focus was drawn to the framed poem, still on my desk 12 years later, that my class received as a graduation gift from our former Scholars Program director.  In part, it reads: "I do not want to know what you hope.  I want to know what you will work for." 


I can't think of a better way to sum up the lessons Mrs. McDermott instilled in all of her Scholars: that we should not merely aspire to -be- great, but rather that we should be empowered by the opportunities and advantages she provided to -do- great; to take action and enact change upon ourselves, our professions, and our communities.  I will forever be indebted to the McDermott family.

Matt Leonard, ‘02

We dreamed, and you showed us the path to our dreams; we loved, and your actions taught us to how to love the world; we worked, and you inspired us with deeds that spoke so much more than many words; we met, and our meeting was a treasure for life; you are always there, in every blessed future you gave us.

Saheli Nath, ‘08

Without Margaret McDermott, I don't know what my life would look like today. I'm just one of many whose lives were completely transformed by her generosity and vision. Still today, 15 years after entering UT Dallas as a McDermott Scholar, she inspires me -- I am my best self when the choices I make are ones driven by her encouragement to show (not tell) her our appreciation for what she did for us. And while I'll still keep trying to make her proud through my actions, today I want to be certain to say how truly grateful I am as well. 

Caitlin Sutton, ‘03

In learning about the passing of Mrs. McDermott yesterday, I wanted to share a few of my thoughts about her tremendous impact on my life and the world in general.

6 ways Mrs. McDermott changed the course of my life path.


  1. She bestowed upon me the opportunity to attend one of the finest universities in the country when I would have otherwise attended a local community college due to finances.

  2. She taught me the importance of being perfectly punctual—not one minute early and not one minute late. (This is more difficult to follow with kids in tow, but I still try my best to live this philosophy every day.)

  3. She showed me the importance of generosity and contributing to personally important causes, such as education and the arts.

  4. She solidified my appreciation of the arts in all forms. I may have been slightly too green to fully understand some forms of art in my adolescence, but I don’t think there is any type of art I don’t keep an open mind to now, thanks to her.

  5. She afforded me the opportunity to travel abroad—to discover myself, the world, and my future. The best memories of my life have been while traveling, and more importantly, learning, abroad. I even met my husband and the father of my two beloved children while studying abroad during my time as a McDermott Scholar. The true romance of exploring the world as an adventurer simply can’t be denied.

  6. Mrs. McDermott has inspired me to see past the present value of personal savings and to see that some of those funds should be viewed as an investment in the future of our society. By using them wisely, whether through donations as personal scholarships or contributions to causes that have long-reaching effects, we can affect the kind of change we want to see in the world. I may not have millions to donate, but even small amounts can be a great investment in the future of our world.

Mrs. McDermott has inspired my entire life. There are truly countless ways she has changed me. I know as soon as I send this letter, I will think of a dozen more reasons that I am so grateful for her memory. But, rather than look back, I will start looking forward for ways I can hope to affect even a small fraction of the change in this world that she did during her lifetime.

Holly Ruhl, ‘05 

The first time I ever spoke with Mrs. McDermott was as a college freshman. After I described the journey I hoped to go on as a McDermott Scholar, her words to me were, "I wish I could come with you!"


In some ways she did come along. She was with all of us. I can't imagine my life now without the influence of her vision, generosity, and spirit - all of which continue to thrive in the communities she helped bring together.

Andrew Wei, ‘13 

I’ve been thinking all day and I still don’t know what to say about the loss of this amazing woman who had such an immeasurable impact on my life and on the life of so many others. Maybe it’s because I always got the sense from her that actions matter more than words. I hope that my actions, and the values that I instill in my children, would make her proud. Her legacy will live on in those that she touched. May her memory be eternal. 

Leia Bell, ‘02 

Six years ago, I received an invitation to join a community brought to life by the generosity of Mrs. McDermott. It was an invitation not only to an amazing education and a world of growth and adventure, but also a warm welcome into a beautiful family of people that I don't deserve but will always cherish. Thank you will never be enough, but thank you for being so full of light, love, and good that your fullness burst out and seeped into the soul of Dallas and the hearts of all of us McDermott scholars. I hope, when you take a look down here every now and then, that you'll be proud of us. May you rest in peace.

Aimi Nguyen, ‘12

Margaret McDermott had an unwavering determination and vision to positively transform the Dallas community and beyond. Her generosity and kindness will still be felt as the individuals and institutions she impacted continue to pay it forward.

Nathan Agnew, ‘12 

Mrs McDermott not only taught us how to be scholars, she taught us how to be visionaries. She instilled in each young student the drive and courage to make an impact in Dallas and beyond.


Because of her generosity and leadership, Mrs McDermott allowed us sisters to grow and thrive together at UTD, yet simultaneously forge out paths in unique and individual ways to make a difference in the world. We are forever grateful and honored to be part of the McDermott Scholars family.

Lye-Yeng Wong, ‘10  and Lye-Ching Wong, ‘08 

After Margaret McDermott gave us the gift to start the McDermott Scholars Program, and as we were putting the plans together, she invited us out to the ranch to talk it over with Dr. Hobson Wildenthal. I don’t remember many of the particulars of the conversation, but toward the end, when she and I were alone for a moment, she looked at me square with those steely blue eyes and said, “Charlie, promise me, everything you do has got to be first-rate.”


I promised her that, and the McDermott Scholars are proof that we kept the promise. Rest in peace, Margaret.


Dr. Charlie Leonard, Founding Director, The Eugene McDermott Scholars Program, 2000-2007

I vividly remember the first time I met Mrs. Margaret McDermott in fall of 2002. My fellow ’02 McDermott Scholars and I had come to her ranch for an annual gathering, and I felt the anticipation build as we finally had the opportunity to meet this incredible woman, the benefactor of our program and a world visionary. With her white dress and her face aglow with peace, joy, and grace, she had the radiance of an angel. Any ounce of fear or intimidation was soon replaced by nothing but awe and respect for this woman who had transformed the landscape of Dallas, and truly the world, by her keen ability to foresee great potential and to then transform this into reality through her exceptional leadership and her generosity.

The inception of the McDermott Scholarship Program was one such example of Margaret McDermott’s incredible legacy, and my life has been nothing short of transformed by her. The experiences in leadership and service that I received on a local, national, and international level during my years as a McDermott Scholar not only helped shape my calling into medicine but also helped make that dream a reality. I am continuously inspired by her and eternally grateful to her. Although the world has lost an angel, her legacy will shine on exponentially through the countless lives, like mine, whom she has inspired and transformed. May her memory be eternal as we each now carry forward her torch to inspire, be inspired, and to transform.

Sani Mathew Roy, MD, ‘02

It's hard to put into words the impact that Mrs. McDermott had on our lives.  I think the first time I met her was when a few of us went to dinner at the ranch before our trip to New York City shortly after 9/11/01.  She told us of memories of her good times in New York, and she made it clear that she expected our trip to be more meaningful than just visiting the sights.  We made sure to follow though and have tried hard to keep that ethos going since.  


I have lots of random little memories of dinners and barbecues with her.  I remember her telling a story about how important "environment" was, and how she sold a painting that hung in Gene's study for decades which he loved, to fund the campus beautification at UTD.  I remember lots of happy summer barbecues where we would awkwardly walk in and say hello, but gradually we got to know her, and her us. I remember walking in to her Highland Park house and seeing a glass bowl that one of the '01 scholars had made (shoutout to Daniel!), proudly

displayed on the table in a room of Monet paintings.  I remember her taking me firmly by the hand and asking what else we can do to improve the lives of the students I taught in Uganda.  I remember Ross Perot randomly showing up at a barbecue to meet "her Scholars."


The McDermott reach is vast.  I remember being in London with Walter and noticing that the McDermott Foundation was a top line supporter of Shakespeare's Globe. And more importantly, the reach is still growing, thanks to the network of McDermott Scholar alumni that are out in the world inspired by the contributions to society made by the McDermott family. 


Thank you for everything you did Mrs. McDermott and for being an inspiration to all of us. We raise a glass to you and everything you helped create. We'll miss you. 

Aidan Skoyles, ‘01 

Although I am deeply saddened to know about the passing of Mrs. Margaret McDermott, I will never be able to fully express my admiration and gratitude to a woman whose values and ideas will live with us forever. Her legacy will be passed through generations of committed citizens making this world a better place. 

“Much is expected to whom much has been given”. These words, spoken to us members of the class of 2002 of the Eugene McDermott Scholars Program, at the first annual gathering hosted by her in Allen, Texas have always resonated in me. Mrs. McDermott has been an inspiration to many of us. She will continue to live in our hearts and actions forever, as we carry on her ideals of making our University, our City of Dallas and our world a better place to live. 

Even though it is very hard to find the right words to express this sentiment of loss that invades us all, I am certain that her actions will keep resonating through the many lives she touched and changed with her generosity and kind spirit. I will forever be thankful for the honor that it was knowing her, and committed to keep her legacy alive and present. She will always be present to remind us that dreams do come true, and that it is on us to keep inspiring others to do good and be good.

Abraham Rivera-Olguin, ‘02

Mrs. McDermott embodied generosity and sincerity. She gave with an open heart without any desire for personal thanks. Instead, she wished for her scholars to exemplify a spirit of service. Give to others. Serve others. Be a source of good for others. She lived her life selflessly. By nurturing a community of scholars, she changed the life of not only her scholars but countless other individuals because through them, her legacy of community building will continue.


The best way we can honor her life and her sacrifices is to reflect on our own lives and try to implement her beautiful characteristics. I pray that we all learn from this remarkable woman and uphold her legacy of service and love for humanity. Mrs. McDermott, thank you so much for all that you have done for me. I would not be the person I am today if it had not been for you and your immense kindness.


Kanwal Ahmed, ‘11

Words cannot express the immense respect and gratitude we've held and will continue to hold for Mrs. McDermott. She truly led by example and taught us the importance of experiencing and understanding the community around us so we could positively impact it as we moved forward in our careers. We're moved not only by the incredible personal impact she has had on our lives but also by the overwhelming generosity that informed and guided her actions.  She will be greatly missed and her impact will continue to be felt for generations to come.


Apeksha Saxena, ‘09 and Akanksha Saxena, ‘11

One should always have wine with lunch.

Margaret McDermott


As remembered by Sara Clingan, ‘05

A recurring thought over the last few days has been how lucky we are to have experienced in person Mrs. McDermott's force of nature. I am unspeakably grateful for how her generosity has shaped my life; her wit, knowledge of the world, and encouragement to give back have inspired my actions. Over my four years as a scholar I was amazed to find more and more ways that the McDermotts contributed to UT Dallas, however as I continued as a McDermott Intern at the Dallas Museum of Art, I have begun to have a deeper understanding of just how many lives Mrs. McDermott has impacted around the world. Her legacy lives on in everyone who continues to benefit from her wisdom, her generosity, and her support of the leaders of tomorrow.


Thanks so much, 

Kathleen Alva, '13

Mrs. McDermott's generosity provided me with an opportunity that changed the course of my life and countless others. I'll remember her by trying to do better and be better every day.

Braeden Mayer, ‘09

Mrs. McDermott was a kind, generous, and loving individual who dedicated her life to bettering our community and touching the lives of others. I am deeply grateful for her gift to UT Dallas that allowed me to have an unparalleled college experience. I would not be who I am today without her, and I will strive to continue carrying out her vision for our community.

Cynthia Liang, ‘12

To be a McDermott, I remember being invited, as a senior in high school, to dine with Margaret at her house after accepting the scholarship. It was an overwhelming honor, and I had no idea what to expect. She gathered all of her dinner guests in the library and said “today we will speak about UT Dallas, the quality of university and high school education, and the City of Dallas. Max what are your thoughts?” (I believe/hope I was able to deftly answer the question.)


But, more importantly, I was simply expecting a meet and greet type of affair, and Margaret ensured that the conversation and the entire event had a truly significant purpose. Each comment, each conversation, and each interaction was poignant and interesting. Margaret was able to drive and find significance in all her affairs. I am honored that she decided upon empowering UT Dallas, the city of Dallas, the Scholars Program, and all of those in her life.


We have the burden and honor, as McDermott Alumni, to drive and instill significance in all of our endeavors. I am honored, humbled, and overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to meet such an incredible woman. I know without a doubt that her lessons and values will live on.

Max Grunewald ‘11

Bright COMETS in a Big Sky — many Alumni are among impressive, prime-time leaders focused on making our World better.


I add sincere gratitude and thank you for years of educational achievements that make a world of difference.  All was emphasized following a question I asked table guests.


"Years ago in 2000", I said, “When the McDermott Scholars Program was launched, did we even consider looking ahead to festive meetings like today?"


The Universal table reply—

"The McDermott Scholars Program will live—forever."

I hope this big response from me to dedicated Friends indicates great appreciation for making my husband’s and my legacy —WORLD CLASS.

As written by Margaret McDermott

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