New scholarship created from donation

Former Fort Worth Mayor Bob Bolen lives by the simple motto “Always leave a place better than you found it.” After a recent gift to the university to create the Bob Bolen Leadership Scholarship, he continues to practice exactly what he preaches, a university official said.

The university received a $2.5 million gift from The Sarah & Ross Perot Jr. Foundation to go toward the new scholarship, said Don Whelan, vice chancellor for University Advancement. The money will go into the university’s endowment, allowing 5 percent of the gift, or $125,000, to be put into scholarships starting in the fall, Whelan said.

Bolen, who served as mayor from 1982 to 1991, said the scholarships in his name, which will increase in amount each year due to more donations, are a great honor for himself and the university. He said Ross Perot Jr.’s generosity has been an honor.

“He’s been so good to me,” Bolen said. “We’ve worked together a lot, and he loves what I do at TCU and believes in it.”

Ross Perot Jr., son of former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot, is a prominent businessman from Texas and the founder of Perot Systems, a data-services company.

Scholarships will be given to multiple students each year who display the first-class leadership skills that personified Bolen’s tenure as mayor, Whelan said. He said the exact number of recipients has not been decided, but preference will be given to students involved in military programs. However, it is not required.

Whelan said Bolen serves as senior adviser to the chancellor, adviser to the dean of the M.J. Neeley School of Business and is a visiting lecturer.

“Bob really has had a lifetime devotion to education and providing opportunities to young people,” Whelan said. “We saw that when he was mayor and we see that now in his capacity at TCU.”

Mike Scott, director of scholarships and student financial aid, said some of the money will also go toward helping MBA students. He said the scholarship, which will honor students who have earned distinctions like Eagle Scout status or have shown other leadership skills, is a huge boost for the university.

“It provides funding for an area that we really need some extra dollars pointed to,” Scott said. “We don’t have a lot of funding currently for leadership scholarships.”

A special selection committee will recommend deserving students to the Office of Scholarships and Student Financial Aid, where the recipients will be chosen, Whelan said. The committee will consist of Bolen, a representative from the Office of Scholarships and Student Financial Aid and Mike Berry, president of Hillwood Properties, which is a Perot company. Berry earned his MBA from TCU.

Scott said his office had not yet finalized the award application process or criteria. Minimum and maximum amounts for the scholarship are undetermined, but will be based on financial need, he said.