Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Fall 2011 Newsletter

Dr. Steven Ungerleider provides lead gift to establish
Thomas F. Staley Endowment for Excellence in the Humanities

Two men conversing. Click to enlarge.

Ransom Center Advisory Council member Steven Ungerleider and journalist Bob Woodward.

Last year, when Director Thomas F. Staley announced his pending retirement, an endowment was established as a lasting tribute to his leadership at the Harry Ransom Center. During his 23-year tenure at the Center, Staley has increased awareness of the collections and focused on making them more widely accessible to scholars and the public. Funds from this new endowment will help the Ransom Center acquire the archives of major writers and artists and establish residencies for those whose archives have been acquired or are of interest. Endowment proceeds will also support the creation of the Thomas F. Staley Lecture. Though Staley has happily agreed to extend his tenure at the Ransom Center, fundraising for the endowment continues.

A member of the Ransom Center's Advisory Council, Dr. Steven Ungerleider, has provided a lead gift for the endowment. When asked why this endowment in particular is so important, Ungerleider says, "It is a wonderful way to acknowledge a great scholar and visionary leader, but it also ensures that the Center is well-positioned for the future."

The endowment will ensure that Staley's legacy continues. Specifically, the endowment will focus on expanding the archives, granting further accessibility to the public, and growing exhibitions and public programs. "In any time period—even in a challenging economic climate," Ungerleider says, "the humanities are critical to the learning and creativity of our students, young scholars and writers, and faculty. It creates a dimension to one's education that you cannot quantify."

An author of six books including Beyond Strength, Quest for Success, and Mental Training for Peak Performance, Ungerleider completed his undergraduate studies in psychology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he also competed as a collegiate gymnast. It was then that his association with the Ransom Center began. "I knew Harry Ransom in the 1960s when I was an undergraduate," Ungerleider recalls, "He signed my diploma as Chancellor." Ungerleider holds master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Oregon. Since 1984, he has served on the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry and is a consultant to the IOC's cultural commission on education and drug-free sport.

Ungerleider's bestselling book, Faust's Gold: Inside the East German Doping Machine, has been translated into seven languages and was the topic of a PBS special. Much of his work on the doping trials, including papers, manuscripts, and legal research, has been digitized for scholars to pursue research endeavors. "One of the great moments in my career was lecturing to doctoral candidates in sports medicine who actually used my archives."

Among Ungerleider's favorites at the Ransom Center are Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's Watergate papers and the archives of Isaac Bashevis Singer and Norman Mailer. "This is why I serve on the Advisory Council. We make rare manuscripts and unique collections available to scholars from all corners of the globe. The Ransom Center is a rare gem that anchors The University of Texas System. I know many of my fellow Advisory Council members, foundations, and other supporters have contributed to this endowment, and I encourage others to do so, too. It gives us all a chance to recognize the extraordinary contributions Tom has made."  

For more information or to contribute to the endowment, contact Associate Director for Development Margie Rine at 512-471-9643 or margierine@austin.utexas.edu.

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