Texas Tech Athletics Leadership Academy Named for J.T. & Margaret Talkington

Texas Tech Athletics announced today the naming of the J.T. & Margaret Talkington Leadership Academy. The honor recognizes $5 million in gifts from the J.T. & Margaret Talkington Charitable Foundation that will establish a permanent endowment to support the Texas Tech student-athlete leadership and character development program.

The J.T. & Margaret Talkington Leadership Academy is the first comprehensive student-athlete leadership program of its kind in a collegiate athletics department. The brainchild of Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt and Hall of Fame Coach Marsha Sharp, the academy is designed to prepare student-athletes for success after graduation. Its comprehensive curriculum focuses on character, leadership, personal wellness, life skills, career education, community service, professional development and a lectureship series. The academy and its curriculum are led by Texas Tech Athletics staff who customize the program to address the unique needs of student-athletes.

“J.T. and Margaret Talkington understood the strong relationship between Texas Tech University and Lubbock,” Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert L. Duncan said. “The J.T. & Margaret Talkington Leadership Academy is a ground-breaking program, and through their foundation’s philanthropy, the Talkingtons continue to make a significant difference in the community they loved.”

“Preparing our student-athletes for success after graduation is a crucial part of our mission to educate, serve and grow fearless champions.”

Kirby HocuttDirector of Athletics
Texas Tech University

“Preparing our student-athletes for success after graduation is a crucial part of our mission to educate, serve and grow fearless champions, and we are honored by the J.T. & Margaret Talkington Charitable Foundation’s generous investment,” Hocutt said. “In combination with the athletic and educational instruction that our student-athletes receive, the J.T. & Margaret Talkington Leadership Academy is providing meaningful opportunities to prepare young leaders for successful careers.”

The foundation was one of the earliest supports of the academy, recognizing the life-changing effects of the program and its impact on the Lubbock community.

“Texas Tech is investing in the lives of its student-athletes and the Lubbock community,” said Norton Baker, president of the J.T. & Margaret Talkington Charitable Foundation. “J.T. and Margaret understood the importance of this university and its potential to impact this community. We are proud that their legacy will be associated with the kind of leadership development and community engagement being fostered by Texas Tech Athletics.”

More than 450 student-athletes representing 34 academic majors participate in academy courses and programs. Through outreach projects, summer camps and mentorships, student-athletes and coaches in all 17 sports volunteer more than a thousand hours each year to support at-risk children and benefit residents of Lubbock.

“The Leadership Academy, made possible because of the support of the J.T. & Margaret Talkington Charitable Foundation and visionary leadership within the Texas Tech Athletics department, is a unique resource for educating our student-athletes to be leaders, not only on the field, but also in their lives after collegiate athletics,” Texas Tech University President Lawrence Schovanec said.

Underscoring Texas Tech’s commitment to student-athlete success, the academy has been one of three priorities for The Campaign for Fearless Champions, an on-going fundraising initiative to enhance athletic facilities, invest in scholarship endowments and grow the leadership academy. From the onset of the campaign, administrators set a goal of establishing an endowment of $5 million to permanently support the operation of the academy.

Donors have responded to the academy’s mission and potential to positively impact student-athletes, and gifts from donors, including the J.T. & Margaret Talkington Charitable Foundation, have surpassed the academy’s $5 million endowment goal, marking a milestone for The Campaign for Fearless Champions. Texas Tech Athletics will continue to raise funds for the leading-edge program through the end of the campaign.

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