UNT to receive estimated $8 million estate gift

UNT InHouse
Paul Voertman
UNT President V. Lane Rawlins
UNT Provost Warren Burggren
Voertman's shopper, Yucca yearbook ad, 1985

Denton philanthropist Paul Voertman, above, is planning to donate an estimated $8 million through a bequest in his will to support student scholarships and other programs.

The Ardoin-Voertman Endowment Funds will be divided among the College of Music, the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Visual Arts and Design with each getting one-third.

“I hope that this gift provides students the help they need in an increasingly expensive college environment,” Voertman said. “To help ease the burden of the cost of attending college, this gift will fund student scholarships and other programs that will ultimately benefit students.”

President V. Lane Rawlins, left said Voertman's gift to UNT is powerful for its direct impact on students and its overall support for the university.

"We've made a promise to students to provide the best education and opportunities to grow,” Rawlins said. “And we've rededicated ourselves to becoming one of the best universities in Texas so that our students can further excel and compete. Mr. Voertman's bequest will help us fulfill our promise to our students and give us momentum in our goal to become the best.”

Each college will use at least 40 percent of the funds to provide student scholarships.

Of its allocated donation, the College of Visual Arts and Design will designate:

  • 40 percent to create an Ardoin-Voertman Artist-in-Residence position for a nationally renowned artist to teach at UNT; each appointment will be held for up to two years
  • 40 percent for student scholarships
  • 10 percent to support student grants for research, travel and creative projects
  • 10 percent to support a visiting artist and printmaker program in the Print Research Institute of North Texas (P.R.I.N.T.), a fine art press.

The College of Music will set aside:

  • $1.3 million of the gift for student scholarships
  • $1 million for opera productions
  • up to $1 million for student travel and recording.

The College of Arts and Sciences will use:

  • half of its allocated donation for student scholarships
  • the remaining half for the College of Arts and Sciences Excellence Fund, which will be used to recruit, retain and recognize excellence in teaching, research and scholarship by College of Arts and Sciences faculty.

Provost Warren Burggren, right, said Voertman's commitment is contributing to UNT's legacy as a place of excellence for the arts and music, and it's an endorsement of the progress that UNT is making as it seeks to become a major public research university.

"Mr. Voertman's pledge will have very wide-ranging effects, touching both the arts and the sciences, and supporting both student learning and faculty scholarship,” Burggren said. “With one significant gift, he will allow us to advance in so many ways and impact so many people.”

Voertman, a longtime benefactor to UNT, created the annual Voertman art competition in 1960 to give students an opportunity to have their work reviewed by an art professional.

He supported the commission, building and installation of the Richard Ardoin-Paul Voertman Concert Organ in the Murchison Performing Arts Center with the $1.5 million Voertman-Ardoin Memorial Fund. The organ was inaugurated in 2008. Through the years, he has consistently provided various gifts to continue to support students at UNT. In 2009, Voertman earned the Outstanding Alumnus Service Award from UNT, and in 2010, the university named the newly renovated Voertman Concert Hall in the Music Building in his honor.

Voertman began his studies at UNT at age 5 in the North Texas State Teachers College Demonstration School and continued at UNT through his sophomore year in 1947. He transferred to the University of Texas, where he graduated in 1949.

After the death of his father, he took over management of the Voertman store, 1314 W. Hickory, which he operated for 38 years. Left, a shopper at Voertman's, shown in the 1985 Yucca yearbook ad, from the UNT Libraries' Portal to Texas History.

Rawlins added that it's a special honor for UNT to have scholarships, programs and facilities in Voertman's name because he is such an important figure in UNT's history and in Denton's history.