Record-breaking fundraising will create scholarships and support academic excellence at UNT

Ernie Kuehne

Ernie Kuehne and Emerald Lifetime Members help the Kuehne Speaker Series achieve a record-breaking fundraising year.

The UNT Kuehne Speaker Series raised a record $2.6 million this year, due in large part to a $1 million gift from series benefactor Ernie Kuehne.  

Kuehne announced the donation during the fall Kuehne Speaker Series event and said the gift was inspired by the generosity of the founding Emerald Lifetime Members who have given at least $250,000 to support the series in its mission to enhance academic excellence at UNT. Several Emerald Lifetime Members, including G. Brint Ryan and Bryan Milner, have already exceeded that amount.  

“The Kuehne Speaker Series wouldn’t exist without Ernie Kuehne’s vision and the generosity of our Emerald and Lifetime members,” said David Wolf, vice president for university advancement. “The UNT community is fortunate to have such a devoted group supporting the series and its important mission to help students succeed.”     

The series was established in 2013 by Kuehne, a UNT alumnus, and has become one of the university’s signature networking events. A semi-annual luncheon, the Kuehne Speaker Series features high-profile speakers and engages Dallas-Fort Worth area business and philanthropic sponsors, encouraging continued university partnerships. 

In six years, the series has raised more than $4 million through its endowed scholarship fund. Donations from lifetime members and sponsors ensure the sustainability of the series and enable its board of directors to bring high-profile speakers to the North Texas region. Past speakers include Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and FOX News Channel anchor Melissa Francis.  

“I’m proud of what the Kuehne Speaker Series has done to showcase UNT’s excellence in the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” said UNT System Regent G. Brint Ryan, chair of the Kuehne Speaker Series Board of Directors and series presenting sponsor. “Because of the outpouring of support from our friends and donors, the series will provide $200,000 for UNT scholarships in 2020 to create opportunities for deserving students.” 

Lou Holtz, former football player and legendary University of Notre Dame football coach, will speak at the spring 2020 Kuehne Speaker Series on April 9 at the Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West. Visit for details and sponsorship opportunities.