Bill & Marie Ashby Endowed Presidential Scholarship

The Bill & Marie Ashby Endowed Presidential Scholarship was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System on July 12, 2010, to benefit The University of Texas Department of Chemical Engineering. Gift funds were provided by Dr. Bill B. Ashby and Ms. Marie S. Ashby.

Sandy and Billy Ashby pose for a photo overlooking Lake Austin.

Marie (Sandy) and Billy Ashby funded two Endowed Presidential Scholarships: one for the Plan II Honors Program and one for the Cockrell School of Engineering. The Plan II scholarship is named the Marie & Bill Ashby Endowed Presidential Scholarship, and the engineering scholarship is named the Bill & Marie Ashby Endowed Presidential Scholarship.

Sandy and Billy donated these endowments in the hope that they will help other students get a quality education. Sandy and Billy feel The University of Texas is an excellent school and will make good use of the money they donated. The couple was able to attend the University at a very low cost and feel an obligation to make a partial repayment to their university.

Sandy and Billy met as students at The University of Texas in 1949. Sandy was studying pre-med in the Plan II program and Billy was studying chemical engineering. Sandy lived in the Scottish Rite dorm and Billy waited tables there. She graduated in June 1951 and was accepted to several medical schools, but decided not to attend. The couple married in September 1951 and Billy completed his BS in chemical engineering in February 1952. They then moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Billy continued his studies in chemical engineering and completed work on his PhD in September 1955.

Billy was born and raised in a small town in central Texas, along with an older brother. His family had a modest but adequate income. Neither parent had high school diplomas but they always assumed that their children would attend college. As a high school graduate, Billy knew little about the rest of the world. He had never been outside of Texas except for one trip to Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico, and he had never met an engineer. One of his high school teachers told him that engineering was an honorable and well-paid profession. He chose chemical engineering based on a magazine article and never regretted his choice.

Billy’s education was critical in his life. It enabled him to get a good job with an outstanding company, Exxon, do interesting work, travel with his family to many parts of the world, help his five children get multiple degrees in good universities, and retire with an adequate income.

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