EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The University of Texas at El Paso announced on Dec. 1, 2022, the naming of its college of business administration as the Woody L. Hunt College of Business, along with a $25 million gift — the largest in the university’s history — from the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation.

The contribution will fund initiatives that position UTEP’s Woody L. Hunt College of Business as the leader in teaching and research on trade and commerce between the United States and Mexico.

“Mexico is America’s second largest trading partner, and 20% of U.S. trade with Mexico flows through El Paso,” said UTEP President Heather Wilson. “This generous gift from the Hunt family will make the Woody L. Hunt College of Business the place to go to study and research trade and business between our countries. This is a transformational gift that will impact this region for decades to come.”

“This gift to The University of Texas at El Paso builds on our philanthropic commitment over the past three decades to make the Borderplex region a globally competitive hub,” said Woody L. Hunt, chairman of the Hunt Family Foundation and Senior Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hunt Companies, Inc.

According to Hunt, this contribution will allow the university to attract top researchers, professors and future students to the college of business and transform the college into the premier higher education institution for researching business, commerce and entrepreneurship along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The gift will create two distinguished chairs, a new distinguished professorship and multiple endowed fellowships, and provide funding for academic, research and professional development initiatives within the college of business. The gift will also create scholarship and experiential learning opportunities for students pursuing a business degree at UTEP – one of the few business schools along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Since 1987, the Hunt Family Foundation has donated more than $12 million to support various initiatives at UTEP, including establishing The Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness as well as the Jack and Dorothy Hunt Endowment for Entrepreneurship, creating various positions to support faculty growth, supporting students through scholarships, and investing in the renovation of Sun Bowl Stadium. This new gift highlights the Foundation’s strong focus on investing in education initiatives and institutions that prepare students for the future workforce of the Borderplex region and to compete in the global economy.

The gift will also help strengthen The Hunt Institute for Global Competitiveness, a research center at UTEP that provides economic analysis and cutting-edge research tools that strengthen regional and binational cross-border economic and social development. In 2010, the Hunt Family Foundation’s gift established the Hunt Institute, and the new gift will create an endowment to support expansion of the Institute’s research and development.

Woody met his wife Gayle at UTEP, and then went on to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and MBA in Finance from The University of Texas at Austin. His parents, Jack and Dorothy Woodley Hunt, also attended the Texas College of Mines, the predecessor to UTEP, and graduated from the college of business in 1942 and 1941, respectively. They received the UTEP Gold Nugget Award in 1996.  

Woody is the Senior Chairman of the board at Hunt Companies, Inc., a diversified, family-owned holding company that invests in operating businesses, as well as real estate and infrastructure assets. In 1947, Woody’s father, grandfather and uncle began the family business as a retail lumber and hardware store in El Paso, where the company is still headquartered. Woody joined the business in 1968 and became its chief executive officer and controlling shareholder in 1977. During his nearly four decades as CEO, Woody helped grow the once-modest storefront into an industry leader. Today, Hunt Companies and its affiliates employ over 4,300 people in the United States and worldwide.

Woody has been named to the Texas Business Hall of Fame, the McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame, and the El Paso Business Hall of Fame. He has also been recognized three times as El Pasoan of the Year for his contributions to the El Paso community.