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Lyons Foundation Makes Record Gift for Science Center

At a historic meeting of The Lyons Foundation board on Dec. 4, 2013, the four Trustees made the unprecedented decision to award $750,000 to University of St. Thomas for its proposed Center for Science and Health Professions – a grant 7.5 times larger than any ever made by the foundation, according to board President R.A. “Pete” Seale.

Seale was instrumental in securing the gift, and he believes Lyons Foundation creators – the late Dick and Sammie Lyons – would be pleased with the board’s decision.

“We had 130 requests before us, and I asked the board to save the UST request until last,” Seale said. “We discussed how this new facility would address major needs in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), in addition to nursing – not just for the University, but for the entire region’s medical, oil and gas, and engineering industries. The Trustees made this decision with great conviction, and without a doubt, the support was unanimous.”

Seale, a law partner with Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, LLP, said the Lyons supported Catholic charities during their lifetimes. Having no children, the Lyons’ Wills left their estates to the foundation, providing the initial endowment. Foundation holdings have grown to more than $14 million over time.

Since Seale first became board president in 1979, he has seen the foundation’s capacity to support organizations increase tremendously.

“We are excited to both honor the Lyons’ passion for Catholic causes in Houston and to enhance STEM capacity in a significant way,” Seale said. “We hope other foundations and individuals will follow suit because this facility – and this University – are of great importance to our region. If potential donors want to talk to us, we’re happy to tell our story.”

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The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houston’s only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers in 1947.


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