Houston, TX entrepreneur Tony Chase is keeping his father’s legacy alive.

According to a press release, the entrepreneur has donated $1 million to the University of Texas (UT) at Austin’s School of Architecture. His generous contributions will honor his late father John S. Chase, who also made history as the first Black licensed architect in Texas and became the first Black graduate of UT’s school of architecture.

“As one of the first Black students to enroll at UT, John Chase helped pave the way for progress and change,” said UT Austin President Jay Hartzell, in a press release. “Then, he brought his considerable talents, creativity and education together to design special places that brought people together. This gift is an investment in the transformative power of education to bring about that sort of change and impact, and will support us as we continue to strive for excellence delivered through a richly diverse and inclusive campus.”

The new funding will be used to create The John S. Chase Family Endowed Graduate Fellowship to help recruit graduate students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities to the University of Texas at Austin in hopes of diversifying the employment pipeline. In addition, The John S. Chase Family Endowed Professorship in Architecture will be established to hire and retain faculty members while supporting their studies.

John S. Chase's Legacy Will Live Forever

John S. Chase first enrolled at UT in 1950. He would later start his firm after various rejections from white architects and would expand his practice to Dallas and Washington, D.C.

His resume includes churches, single-family residences, and small office buildings for Black communities.

In addition, John S. Chase was the mastermind behind the design of Texas Southern University, according to CultureMap Houston, and the headquarters for the Colored Teachers State Association of Texas, which UT acquired in 2018 to create the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.

Despite all John S. Chase achieved during his lifetime, he always returned to his roots. He was a committed volunteer at UT, operated as a member of UT’s Development Board and Commission of 125, and on top of that was the first Black president of the Texas Exes.

“Throughout his life and as reflected in his built works, John Chase was a connector and a community-builder,” said Michelle Addington, dean of the School of Architecture, according to a press release. “Not only did Chase design spaces that brought people together, but he used his pioneering position to create opportunities for others. We are extremely grateful for Tony’s incredible gift and honored to continue John Chase’s legacy of creating opportunities for a whole new generation.”

As for Tony, the philanthropic effort is a reflection of his father’s life works, which he plans to continue.

“My father always said, ‘A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives,’” Tony Chase said.