Robert Moody of the Moody Foundation, for which Moody College of Communication is named, died Tuesday

Foundation's $50M endowment transformed Moody College

Robert Moody

Well-regarded businessman and philanthropist Robert L. "Bobby" Moody Sr., whose family foundation gave Moody College of Communication the $50 million endowment for which it is named, died peacefully in his home Tuesday. He was 88.

An economic powerhouse known throughout Texas, Robert Moody helped lead the family’s ventures in insurance, banking and hospitality, as well as its philanthropic efforts, which transformed not only his hometown of Galveston but also Austin.

Among the foundation’s many donations were gifts that helped create the new basketball stadium and events venue the Moody Center and relocate and transform the famed music destination ACL Live at the Moody Theater.

In 2013, Robert Moody was chairman of the board of trustees of the Moody Foundation when it made the decision to give what was then The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Communication its transformational $50 million gift. At the time, it was the largest endowment for the study of communication of any public university in the nation.

"Under Mr. Moody's leadership, the Moody Foundation's philanthropy has changed the face of Texas. More locally, it has changed the faces of the students I teach,” said Rod Hart, a professor in Moody College’s Department of Communication Studies who was dean when the foundation gave its gift. “They are proud to be Moody and their smiles can be traced back directly to Robert Moody and his wonderful, generous family."

In the past decade, the Moody Foundation’s donation has helped to transform the college into what it is today, supporting faculty and graduate student research, helping provide the most up-to-date technology and collaborative spaces for students, and growing Texas Student Media. It also has helped to establish and support 14 centers, institutes and programs that provide world-class teaching, scholarship and public service. Those centers, institutes and programs also offer minors that enhance students’ degree plans in areas such as health communication, media engagement, sports communication, immersive technology and more.

The Moody gift also has supported college staff by helping create a grants office and growing the college’s development team, both of which have bought in even greater gifts and funding.

“Looking at the communication school from 10 years ago, to five years ago to where we are now, I am pleased as punch with what our gift has done,” Ross Moody, Robert Moody’s son, who is the current vice president of the Moody Foundation and serves on the Moody College Dean’s Advisory Council, said last month. “I never expected our gift to make such a difference in the lives of so many students and educators and administrators.”

The Moody Foundation has continued to support Moody College through numerous other gifts. Its philanthropy helped the college establish the Department of Radio-Television-Film’s 3D film program, grow the Moody College Honors Program and expand the work of the cutting-edge Arthur M. Blank Center for Stuttering Education and Research.

Moody College recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Moody Foundation’s endowment. Numerous students expressed their gratitude for the donation that revolutionized the college.

“Thank you to the Moody Foundation for changing my life,” said Becca Youngers, a journalism student.

Robert Moody will be buried in Galveston Memorial Park in Hitchcock. Funeral services will be held Nov. 20-21.

Read Robert Moody’s obituary.

Moody College of Communication