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Fayez Sarofim Receives President’s Philanthropy Award From Southwestern University

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    Fayez Sarofim, chairman, president & founder, Fayez Sarofim & Co. walks out of the Inn at the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, July 7, 2004. Photographer: Matthew Staver/ Bloomberg News.

Houston investment manager Fayez Sarofim has received the President’s Philanthropy Award from Southwestern University.

Houston investment manager Fayez Sarofim has received the President’s Philanthropy Award from Southwestern University. The award was presented March 7.

Sarofim has given more than $15 million to Southwestern since he first became involved with the university in 1968. Most of his contributions have supported the university’s school of fine arts, which now bears his name.

In 1995, Sarofim gave an anonymous $3.5 million donation to fund a new visual arts wing on Southwestern’s Alma Thomas Fine Arts Center. This gave the university its first fine arts gallery, as well as additional music studios and classrooms, and much-needed studios for painting and drawing.

In 1999, Sarofim pledged $8 million for a major renovation to the Fine Arts Center. In recognition of this gift, the Southwestern Board of Trustees voted to name the school of fine arts The Fayez Sarofim School of Fine Arts. The renovation project – which included a complete overhaul of the 720-seat Alma Thomas Theater, began in 2005 and was completed in late 2007. It gives Southwestern University as fine a performing arts facility as any liberal arts college in the country. When costs of the renovation project rose unexpectedly, Sarofim later gave an additional $1.5 million for the project.

In addition to supporting the arts, Sarofim has made regular contributions to Southwestern’s annual fund (now called The Southwestern Fund), which supports priority needs on campus such as scholarships, faculty development, library resources, and technology improvements.

“Few persons in Southwestern’s storied history have had the impact Fayez Sarofim has had,” said President Jake B. Schrum. “Through his management of much of Southwestern’s endowment as well as his philanthropy, he has played a major part in Southwestern’s transformation from a good regional liberal arts college to a peer of many of the best national liberal arts colleges in America.”

A native of Egypt, Sarofim came to the United States in 1946. After earning an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.B.A from the Harvard Business School, he began his career working for Anderson Clayton, the Houston cotton firm. In 1958, he founded his Houston-based investment firm, Fayez Sarofim & Company. The firm developed rapidly and Sarofim won management contracts for the pension funds at Mobil, General Electric and Ford, among others. In 1968, Sarofim began managing portions of Southwestern University’s endowment. In addition to managing a share of Southwestern’s portfolio, he has worked extensively with Rice University and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Sarofim was elected to the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 1997 for his pioneering leadership in the field of investment management and for his generosity to the community. Sarofim currently serves on the Board of Overseers of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and is a director of the Texas Heart Institute.

He is a former member of the Rockefeller University Council and a past director of the Alley Theater, the Houston Ballet Foundation and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He is past president and past vice chairman of the board of the Houston Symphony Society. Other philanthropies he has supported include Rice University, the University of Houston, the Houston Zoo and Harvard University. In November 2006 the Fayez S. Sarofim Research Building was formally dedicated as the new home of The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases, which is part of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

The President’s Philanthropy Award was established to recognize an individual, family or organization whose contributions have transformed Southwestern University, its students and its faculty. Previous recipients of the award include the Cullen family of Houston, The Brown Foundation Inc., and Red and Charline McCombs of San Antonio.