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Martha Pattillo Siv and Ambassador Sichan Siv Endowed Scholarship

Martha Pattillo Siv and Ambassador Sichan Siv Endowed Scholarship

September 15th is a very special day for Ambassador Sichan Siv. In 1977, a friend introduced him to Martha Lee Pattillo, his future wife. “As soon as we met, she opened new horizons for me,” said Siv, who served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2001-2006. “She was everything to me and simply the best.”

Mrs. Siv, who passed away in 2016, was an alumna, friend and Advisory Council member at The University of Texas at Austin School of Information. In honor of his beloved late wife, Ambassador Siv established the Martha Pattillo Siv and Ambassador Sichan Siv Endowed Scholarship, which provides financial support to high potential undergraduate students in the iSchool’s new Informatics program and UT.

Ambassador Sichan Siv and his late wife, Martha Pattillo Siv, an iSchool alumna, have been generous supports of the School for many years.

“Martha spoke very highly of the iSchool, known at the time as the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. She was very proud of her education here,” said Ambassador Siv. “I wanted to immortalize her name at the institution that she loved so much.” The iSchool’s doctoral student lounge is also dedicated to Mrs. Siv.

A native of Pampa in the Texas Panhandle, Mrs. Siv was valedictorian of her high school and a Plan II graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, receiving an undergraduate degree in French. She later earned a master's degree in library and information science from the iSchool. Embarking on a career in which she traveled the world for the United Nations, Mrs. Siv spoke six languages and visited more than 60 countries to help develop library and information sciences for UN agencies and the World Bank.

“We are immensely grateful for Ambassador Siv’s generosity, and his and Martha’s lifelong commitment to education and service." - iSchool Dean Eric T. Meyer

The Martha Pattillo Siv and Ambassador Sichan Siv Endowed Scholarship is the first undergraduate scholarship established at the School of Information. Ambassador Siv hopes that recipients of the Pattillo-Siv scholarship will use their knowledge and talents in service of their communities, society, and humanity. “That was Martha’s passion: to help women in poor countries to create a life for themselves,” he said. “And I think her legacy will live on with these young people.”

At the iSchool, students explore how to use information and technology to make the world a better and fairer place. The new undergraduate Informatics degree program offers six major concentrations and trains students to think critically and use data in an ethically responsible manner; to design cutting-edge information technologies that will benefit users and society; to leverage data, information, and technology for societal good; and to shape information policies that advocate for the public interest.

As an alum, Mrs. Siv always credited the iSchool with providing her the skills and confidence to pursue fascinating opportunities in the library and information field with international organizations. Ambassador Siv recounted that his wife considered her studies at the iSchool to be one of the best investments of her life and she was eager to give back to the school.

Dean Eric T. Meyer said, “We are immensely grateful for Ambassador Siv’s generosity, and his and Martha’s lifelong commitment to education and service. This endowed scholarship will live in perpetuity to support future generations of students as they fulfill their goals here at UT Austin and set off on their own life journeys as alumni.”

Sept. 15, 2021