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Martin Dies, Jr 40 Acres Scholarship

Eligibility:  For high school seniors who enroll in UT’s College of Liberal Arts and who demonstrate extraordinary intellectual qualities and the capacity to motivate and lead fellow students. Recipients must demonstrate initiative, perseverance, empathy for others and overall good citizenship. High school seniors from underrepresented populations who meet the above criteria are encouraged to apply. First preference will be given to students who have applied to UT College of Liberal Arts Honors Program. 

This scholarship is administered by The Texas Exes Scholarship Foundation. For more details and to apply, visit:

Background:  Life Member and Texas Exes Board Member, Martin Dies, III (BA’71) along with his daughter Lauren E. Dies (BA Honors Gov’07)(MD’11 UTHSC-SA) and son Patrick M. Dies (BA Econ Honors’09, +MPA’10 McCombs School of Business, JD 13 UT Law) also Life Members, created this scholarship to honor the memory of his father, Martin Dies, Jr. Martin Dies, Jr. was an undergraduate at the University of Virginia when World War II began for America in December 1941. An outstanding collegiate athlete he turned down an offer to play major league baseball choosing instead to volunteer for Naval Officer Candidate School. Graduating as the Outstanding Midshipman in his class at Columbia University he served with distinction as a naval officer on a destroyer escort in the South Pacific. After the War he graduated from SMU Law School on the GI Bill and practiced civil trial law in Lufkin. He was elected State Senator from East Texas in 1956, serving until 1967. Dies chaired the Senate Finance Committee and served as President Pro Tem of the Texas State Senate. During his tenure Dies authored or co-authored numerous bills on behalf of higher education including the University of Texas. He also authored legislation greatly expanding the Texas park system and modernizing the state’s delivery of mental health services to children. Dies served as Texas Secretary of State from 1968 until 1971. During his tenure he expanded voting rights in Texas, opened the first Texas trade office in Mexico and resolved a controversy in involving the UT student newspaper the “Daily Texan” by granting the newspaper a state corporate charter extension. He was instrumental in the establishment of the state’s first Governor’s Committee on Human Relations and served as the Committee’s first Chair. In 1971 he was appointed Chief Justice of the Ninth Court of Appeals. He served two terms as President of the Texas Judicial Counsel. He retired in 1989 and deceased in 2001. Originally established as the Martin Dies, Jr. Challenge Grant Scholarship, the fund was transferred to the 40 Acres Scholarships in September, 2010.