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Alumni Couple Invests in Future Comets

Dr. Stacey Boland BS’00 and Dr. Justin Boland BS’00 met as undergraduates at UT Dallas, first connecting over intense physics discussions.

That initial spark eventually transformed into love.

Now married 17 years, the couple shares many things, including professional aspirations, a 7-year-old son and an appreciation of their time at the University.

Dr. Stacey Boland BS’00 and Dr. Justin Boland BS’00 (pictured with their son)

Dr. Justin Boland BS’00 and Dr. Stacey Boland BS’00 (pictured with their son)

“Our education has served us well, and giving back is how we acknowledge the important role UTD played in launching us on our way,” Stacey said.

Today, both Justin and Stacey work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California. Justin is the supervisor of the Advanced Instrument Concepts and Science Applications group. He is also working to deliver a camera for the Mars 2020 rover as part of the MEDA instrument suite.

Stacey serves as a project systems engineer at JPL. She recently worked with the International Space Station RapidScat team to develop and operate a radar instrument attached to the Columbus module, which provided data on ocean wind speed and direction to scientists and weather forecasters from 2014 to 2016. She is a member of the steering committee overseeing the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s next Earth science decadal survey, scheduled for release later this year, which will guide Earth-system science and application priorities at NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Geological Survey for the next 10 years.

No matter how high the Boland family soars, they remain connected to UT Dallas, keeping in touch with their “adopted physics family,” the University educators who served as catalysts to propel them to where they are today.

“The University invested in us as undergraduates, and now it’s our privilege to be able to give something back,” Stacey said.

The couple began supporting UT Dallas programs and initiatives soon after graduation.

“Even if the gift is small — and we started out very, very small — global rankings take into account how many of the alumni donate, so donating anything after you graduate actually improves the value of your degree,” Stacey said. “When we make our annual gifts to UT Dallas, it reminds us of our time there, which always brings a smile. We give each year to physics and the Hobson Wildenthal Honors College, as they were such a large part of our college experience.”

Recently, the couple decided it was time to include the University in their estate plans and included UT Dallas as a beneficiary in their wills.

“We trust UT Dallas and want to empower the University to make a difference, much like it empowered us,” Stacey said. “UT Dallas is a place where gifts are appreciated and can still make a meaningful difference.”

For more information on estate planning, call Anna LeBlanc, director of gift planning, at 972-883-6023 or visit

Media Contact: Alexandra Hopkins, UT Dallas, 972-883-5488,

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