Alumnus creates scholarship to reward innovation, leadership

Claudia Taylor

As a student at the University of North Texas in the 1980s, David Roylance (’85) was impressed by all the university offered him: mentoring from excellent faculty and administration, an applied education that gave him skills and confidence, and resources through the Career Center that helped him land his first job after graduation.

Coming back to the campus several years ago, Roylance saw that UNT had grown exponentially, but it had kept the personal touch and stellar faculty that made it stand out, he said. He and his wife, Deborah, knew they wanted to support UNT’s thriving educational experience.

“There are many more students at UNT now, but the university still has that personal attention from faculty and leadership,” said Roylance, co-founder and principal of Prism Energy Solutions and co-founder and vice president of Cavallo Energy in Houston. “It’s just a great landing spot for the full breadth of potential students, from first generation to those who want research opportunities and theory-oriented education.”

The Roylances established the Deborah and David Roylance Leadership and Innovation Scholarship in the College of Business earlier this year to reward UNT’s student leaders. The scholarship provides $2,000 per year to one deserving student.

“We really wanted to focus on making a cutting-edge, positive impact, to help students who had leadership capabilities and were interested in doing things differently,” Roylance said.

The couple also chose to focus on innovation, something Roylance said he learned to appreciate as a student in UNT’s Department of Management and early in his career.

“Innovation is a willingness to try new things,” he said. “That process of learning why things are done, being willing to improve on that, seeing if your idea works, and learning from your failures and successes — that’s what defines leaders.”

Roylance got to see the quality of UNT’s current students himself when he attended one of the College of Business’ awards ceremonies, where students were recognized for scholarships they had earned. The event made a lasting impression and planted the seeds for what became the Leadership and Innovation Scholarship.

“Sitting there watching these kids being very gracious and accepting their scholarships really awakened me to this opportunity,” he said. “The UNT College of Business is producing great programs, and the students are fantastic. I knew I wanted to do something that would have a lasting impact.”


Above, David and Deborah with their two daughters at a recent Mean Green football game.