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Generous Engineering Alumnus William A. Brookshire Funds $1M Scholarship for Teachers

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Laurie Fickman
Great teachers are in line for great things, thanks to generous alumnus
Great teachers are in line for great things, thanks to generous alumnus

In his continued spirit of generosity, UH Engineering alumnus William A. Brookshire has donated $1 million to the Cullen College of Engineering to create the William A. Brookshire Teaching Excellence Award Endowment. According to the endowment agreement, the annual distributed income will honor faculty members in the Cullen College “who demonstrate an unwavering commitment to exemplifying the highest levels of teaching excellence inside the classroom.”

More than many others, Brookshire clearly understands the significance of high caliber mentors inside the classroom. Raised without means, he was the first in his family to earn a high school diploma. College wasn’t encouraged, but he didn’t need anyone to light his fire; his spark came from within.

He’s often recounted his experience as a night student at UH.

“I had to work a full-time job during the day while attending night classes to finish my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Houston,” Brookshire has said.

He graduated in 1957 and later moved to Louisiana to earn his master’s and doctoral degrees in the same discipline.

In the early 1960s, Brookshire put his degrees to work at Exxon. Then, in 1967 he took another big leap, investing his life savings – about $7,000 – to launch S&B Engineers and Constructors with partner James Slaughter, Sr.

The company flourished, expanding from just the two partners to more than 7,500 employees across the world. Brookshire still serves as chairman of the board. Today, S&B continues to provide a complete range of project services for the petrochemical, refining, chemical, midstream and power generation industries for clients worldwide.

This is not the first time Brookshire has shined his very generous light on the Cullen College of Engineering. Prior to this gift, he founded two student scholarships. The William A. Brookshire Scholarship is for students taking a full course load (12 hours) and working at least 20 hours a week, and the William A. Brookshire IMPACT Scholarship is for students who are working, taking a full course load and paying for college on their own with no outside financial support.

One or more awards will be granted annually from the new endowment, with a minimum of $15,000 per recipient.

“The UH Cullen College of Engineering is home to some of the most devoted and innovative engineering educators in the world,” said Joseph W. Tedesco, Elizabeth D. Rockwell Dean of the Cullen College. “Many of our engineering faculty members go above and beyond to provide UH engineering students with personalized attention, tailored lessons and mentorship in order to help them achieve their personal and professional goals. At many world-class research institutions, professors who are focused on the art of teaching and student engagement are the unsung heroes – but thanks to Dr. Brookshire’s endowment, that will not be the case at the Cullen College of Engineering.” 

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