BYU Today

ExxonMobile Pumps $104,050 Into BYU

ExxonMobile Check to BYU

President Cecil Samuelson and donor Dessie Thomas receive a check from Exxon representative Ben Markham and his wife, Julie. The gift is the largest corporate matching donation ever made to BYU. Photo by Mark Philbrick.

The ExxonMobil Foundation presented a $104,050 check—the largest corporate matching gift ever received by BYU—to President Cecil O. Samuelson on June 9, 2003. ExxonMobil executive Ben S. Markham, ’71, presented the check in the Provo home of Dessie Thomas, a centenarian and widow of an ExxonMobil retiree, who donates annually to BYU.

Forty-six current and retired employees of ExxonMobil donated a total of $34,684. The company matches these gifts at a ratio of 3-to-1—bringing the total to $138,734. The BYU President’s Leadership Council also matched the ExxonMobil employee donations, adding $23,585 and bringing the final total to $162,319.

Those making contributions designated how the funds should be used. Some chose scholarships or mentored student learning, while others chose a specific college. Others left the designation to the discretion of BYU, taking advantage of additional fund matching through the BYU Annual Fund.

ExxonMobil has long been supportive of education. In 2002 the company donated in excess of $22.4 million in matched gifts to more than 900 colleges and universities.

Dessie Thomas continues the generous legacy of her late husband Edwin by participating in the matching program offered by ExxonMobil.

“Because of my own difficulties and sacrifices for education, I know how it is,” she says. “I want to help some good struggling students that need help.”

Everyone involved with the check presentation expressed hope that Thomas’ example will lead others to give generously. “Exxon deserves our public thanks, as do donors,” said President Samuelson. “We hope this will help inspire others to do similar things.”


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