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James R. Hellums

James R. Hellums

James R. Hellums ('76 BS, '83 MS, Electrical Engineering) understands the importance of hard work and wants to do his part to see it rewarded. To recognize ambitious and talented electrical engineering students at The University of Texas at Arlington, he created the Dr. James R. Hellums Endowed Scholarship for Electrical Engineering. Through its establishment, Dr. Hellums will support the top junior and senior student in the electrical engineering program for many years to come.

"I want recognition for the best senior and junior electrical engineering student and have them feel that they won, by their own effort, a prize like an intellectual gold medal," he explained. "I want to give them a chance to be recognized for their accomplishment and to help them financially finish their degrees without worrying about expenses."

Hellums knows firsthand the critical role financial assistance plays in supporting talented students. He was the first in his family to earn an undergraduate degree, and his parents didn't have the means to pay for any part of his education. When he graduated from high school, Hellums went straight to work at Texas Power & Light (TPL) to earn the money he needed for college.

While at TPL, he took advantage of the company's partnership with Tyler Junior College to earn an associates electrical engineering tech degree. After his first semester, Hellums' supervisor noticed his excellent grades, and the company offered to help pay for him to attend UTA.

Thanks to TPL's support and a lot of hard work, he received his bachelor's in electrical engineering, graduating summa cum laude. Hellums went on to earn his master's in electrical engineering from UTA as well, and eventually received his Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Dallas.

"I loved being where scholarship was considered important and I was recognized for my academic accomplishments," he said. "It is clear to me that my career was helped along by my education at UTA."

Hellums has had a successful and rewarding career working as a design engineer, conducting research, and teaching at the college level. He hopes his scholarship will give gifted students the financial boost they need to cross the finish line and embark on rewarding careers like he has.

"I would like to think that my scholarship will inspire electrical engineering students to work hard and give their best efforts," he said.

Hellums and his wife Wanee have also included a bequest to UTA in their estate plans to provide further funding for the endowed scholarship, making them members of UTA's Legacy Leaders of the Edward E. Rankin Society.

You can also create a legacy at UTA and help shape future generations of leaders. To explore legacy giving options, please contact the Office of Gift and Estate Planning.