Reid Norman and Cynthia Jumper Give to Make an Impact

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect explains how small, seemingly insignificant actions can have major impacts — like a butterfly flapping its wings and causing a change in the weather.

Speaking with Cynthia Jumper, M.D., about the importance of higher education you get the feeling that even if physics isn’t her area of expertise, she gets the basic idea.

“If I teach a student to be an excellent physician, I can second-handedly touch their whole career,” said Jumper, a professor and chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine. “I can touch 1,000 patients at a time.”

Jumper, together with her husband Reid Norman, Ph.D., a professor and chairman of the Department of Pharmacology & Neuroscience, have made it a priority to support higher education at Texas Tech, where they hope their gifts will have an impact on generations of future students.

The couple has made combined planned gifts of $6 million that will be used to establish endowed professorships and lectureships at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

Endowed professorships provide an important tool for recruiting top faculty to the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. By creating a dedicated revenue stream that supports a faculty member’s salary and research efforts, these gifts have the added benefit of freeing up limited state funds that can be used to meet other academic needs.

In the same way, lectureships provide financial support for guest speakers, who are often experts in their field, to present their research to faculty and students. Such presentations encourage dialog and the spread of new ideas among academic institutions.

Norman is careful to emphasize that it’s the act of giving, not the amount, that makes the greatest impact.

“When people benefit from the gifts we’ve made, we always ask that they help the next person out, when they are able,” said Norman. “I hope it becomes a legacy of continued giving from people we have been able to touch, because it just takes one person.

“People think they need to give millions to make a difference, but we know supporting one class or one student with one donation at a time helps.”

For Norman and Jumper, establishing endowments and estate plans that benefit Texas Tech are ways they can continue giving back long after their careers are over.

“Texas Tech is going to be our legacy,” said Jumper. “It’s how we’re going to keep giving.”

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