AUSTIN (KXAN) — Robert L. Moody, a nationally renowned businessman and philanthropist whose namesake adorns buildings across Austin, has died at the age of 88, according to a University of Texas at Austin release.
Serving as chairman of the Moody Foundation’s board of trustees, Moody allocated $50 million in 2013 to create the Moody College of Communication, per the release. The Moody Foundation also committed $20 million to help revamp the outdoor spaces of the Blanton Museum of Art.
In 2022, the Moody Center opened as UT’s new basketball arena and events venue, following a $130 million grant from the Moody Foundation to help support Texas Athletics, the release said.
More than $204 million was committed by the Moody Foundation to UT to help support colleges, institutes, programs and venues across campus. Outside of UT, the Moody family’s name is found on facilities including the Moody Amphitheater, the Moody Bank — originally named City National Bank and founded by Robert’s grandfather, William Lewis Moody Jr. — as well as the Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater.
“We are incredibly thankful that the Moody Foundation, under Robert Moody’s leadership, chose to invest in our college, transforming the experiences of our students, faculty and staff in remarkable ways,” said Rachel Davis Mersey, interim dean of Moody College of Communication, in the release. “We, and the state of Texas as a whole, are mourning a tremendous benefactor and leader.”
In total, the Moody Foundation has contributed more than $1.7 billion in grants statewide to various Texas organizations, per the release.
“My father was an avid learner, always reading the news or meeting with experts in various fields to expand his horizons,” added Ross Moody — Robert’s son who began serving as a Moody Foundation trustee in 1986 — in the release. “This trait was passed down from his grandfather, William Lewis Moody Jr., who strongly believed in the importance of education. He studied law at UT in 1886 and in addition to founding companies in the banking and insurance space, acquired the Galveston Daily News, the oldest newspaper in Texas. Since that time, the Moody family has had University of Texas graduates in every generation, and we are incredibly proud of our ongoing partnership with one of the greatest institutions in the state.”