Keith and Alice Maxie say that without the support of their parents and teachers, they might not have gone to college. Now their planned gift to The University of Texas at Austin’s UT Elementary School — and the time they spend volunteering with students — is helping to nurture the next generation. “It is so important for people to understand how important it is to finance schools appropriately,” Alice said.
Keith and Alice grew up in Houston and met while attending UT. “Our teachers and counselors recognized that the only way our lives were going to get better was through education,” Alice said. “The teachers identified the students that they thought had the ability, skills and desire to do well in an era where colleges had only been integrated for a decade.”
Even though Keith and Alice both planned to attend college, their parents had to work multiple jobs to make their dreams a reality. “When I received the Worthing scholarship,” Keith said, “my dad — he cried. It was an answer to my parents’ prayers. I look back now at the financial sacrifices both our parents made and am grateful. Their sacrifices influence how we feel about helping other kids realize their dreams.”
After college, Keith was commissioned in the U.S. Army. His career took their family across the country and far from Austin. But no matter where they were, two things were consistent: It was important that they volunteer in their community and that their daughters received a nurturing and well-rounded education that included art and music. “Music and art are just as important as math or science. Learning the arts teaches critical thinking,” Alice said.
“It is so important for people to understand how important it is to finance schools appropriately.”
While Keith was posted in Virginia, he started receiving calls from students enrolled in UT’s College of Natural Sciences who were asking for donations to the school. “It was through those phone calls and the Army ROTC that I was able to reconnect with UT,” Keith said. Alice added, “I am sure college students dread making those calls and asking for money, but it is how we reconnected, and it is important work that they are doing.”
After a few years of giving to CNS, UT reached out to Keith and Alice again. This time it was a member of the UT Gift and Estate Planning team. “Laura Dean noticed that we made regular donations to CNS and was curious about our motivation,” Keith shared. Alice continued, “Keith’s mom had recently passed away and left us a small inheritance. We decided to give to UT because it is important to us that the university have more faces of color involved in giving. We also wanted people to hear from their peers that you don’t have to give millions or hundreds of thousands — every dollar makes a difference.”
Then Dean introduced them to UT Elementary School and Keith and Alice fell in love. “We had the opportunity to tour the school, and the environment reminded me of what it was like when we were in school. It was nurturing,” Alice said. “Music was so important to my family growing up and I remember my mom talking about how schools never have enough money for music and the arts,” Keith shared. “We knew giving to the music program at UT Elementary was a perfect fit.” They established the Ira and Muriel Maxie Endowment in honor of Keith’s parents.
Since becoming involved with UT Elementary School, Keith and Alice continue to expand their support of the Forty Acres. They are members of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement’s Advisory Council, and Keith mentors prospective and current minority students, sharing with them the opportunities available on campus. “There are resources available now that weren’t even thought about when we were in school,” Alice said. “We have been very pleased and proud of what the university is doing.”