The McKinney Estate: the gift that keeps on giving


Mary McKinney had a great passion for education and a strong desire to learn and teach. McKinney grew up within a modest but wealthy family. McKinney graduated from Trinity University, earned a Master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin and took post-graduate courses at UTSA from 1992 to 1996.

She was a schoolteacher for most of her life and loved teaching. Education held such a great importance to McKinney that she gave the majority of her estate to UTSA to ensure that students with strong academic records would not be hindered from completing their education due to a lack of finances.

Unbeknownst to McKinney, the gift would continually produce royalties of 25 percent from oil production that was found through the Eagle Ford Shale on the estate she had given to UTSA. A lease was signed with UTSA to drill at the location of almost 5000 acres, which consisted of three ranches.

“The three ranches include both the surface estate and the mineral estate. In many properties in Texas, minerals have been severed from the surface… but (not) in this case… so we get both the surface estate and the mineral estate. UTSA’s Associate Vice President for Administration Pamela Bacon said.

“Before it was distributed to UTSA, an oil and gas lease had been negotiated on one of the ranches (which) required that they begin drilling a well within a year after signing. We met their obligation, and a well was completed early this year,” Bacon said.

McKinney’s gift to UTSA-which included real estate, stocks, bonds and personal savings-is an estimated $26 million dollars.

“She gave us (UTSA) a few gifts in her lifetime but nothing of this magnitude. The size of her estate was a big surprise to everyone because she was just a very modest person,” UTSA Associate Vice President for Advancement Services and Administration Laura Murray said.