Walter Steimel, Jr. ’78 Pledges $50,000 Commitment to the Walt Steimel Dance Alumni Scholarship


Image of three dancers n stage.

Dr. Walter Steimel, Jr. ’78 established the Walt Steimel Dance Alumni Scholarship in 2009 to help recruit exceptional students for the dance program.

On this 10th annual TCU Gives Day, we received a generous challenge gift from Dr. Walter Steimel, Jr. ’78, who graduated from TCU with his Bachelor in Business Administration. He has pledged an additional $50,000 commitment to the Walt Steimel Dance Alumni Scholarship and challenges 175 donors to join him by making a gift of any amount to any designation in the College of Fine Arts.

“What truly captivates me is an artist’s ability to reshape personal experiences, emotions and thoughts into tangible expressions that resonate universally,” reflected Steimel.

Steimel shares his deep history with TCU and his commitment to supporting the next generation of creative leaders.

A Walk Down Memory Lane 

A Fort Worth native, the fine arts were deeply integrated into Steimel’s childhood, with his mother serving as a docent at the Amon G. Carter Museum and the Kimbell Art Museum.

“My mom taught me from a young age that if you look and study a painting long enough, you’ll see different images appear, each narrating a unique story,” said Steimel. 

Image of Dr. Walter Steimel, Jr. ’78

Dr. Walter Steimel, Jr. ’78

In fall 1974, Steimel arrived on campus as a new Horned Frog, continuing a family tradition following two alumni cousins. This tradition continues with both his son and nephew becoming part of the TCU community.

Steimel initially enrolled in the AddRan College of Liberal Arts, but in his junior year, made the decision to pursue a bachelor’s in business administration at the Neeley School of Business.

“During my time at TCU, I was exposed to programs across all disciplines,” said Steimel. “I even delved into the School for Classical & Contemporary Dance, where I learned how to choreograph routines for Disco contests,” he chuckled.

In 2003, Steimel reconnected with his alma mater at an event for the newly appointed Chancellor Victor Boschini in Washington, D.C.

“I met Chancellor Boschini at the Mansion on O Street in D.C., and we became fast friends,” said Steimel. “By the end of the evening, I became committed to the Chancellor’s leadership and asked how I could support and get more involved with TCU.” Steimel explained he felt a deep connection to the university and wanted to help students have the same experience.

Investing in Education and Leadership

One of the early inquiries Steimel received was to support the Educational Investment Fund at the Neeley School, a $1.75 million portfolio for graduate and undergraduate finance students to manage under current market forces, of which he was an early participant.

From there, he was personally invited by Chancellor Boschini to join the Chancellor’s Advisory Council, a forum for academic units and community leaders to share diverse opinions and thoughts on opportunities in higher education. He also served as President of the Washington, D.C. Regional Advisory Council, member of the National Alumni Association and a member of AddRan’s Board of Visitors. While on the Advisory Council, he met Dr. Garry Bruton of the Neeley School of Business.

“Garry Bruton, professor of management and leadership, stressed the importance of students gaining an understanding of diverse cultures, practices and laws,” said Steimel. “After our meeting, Bruton invited me to speak more on the topic of international business with his students.”

Collaboration with Dr. Bruton led to their joint development of a three-hour class in emerging economy entrepreneurship taught in Cuba, where Steimel had practical experience. He spent the next five years serving as an adjunct professor and co-teaching a January intersession class in Cuba, facilitating meetings between TCU students and influential business and political leaders.

A Commitment to the Fine Arts 

Through his active involvement over the years, Steimel formed strong bonds with Scott Sullivan, the former dean of the College of Fine Arts, and Chandler Smith, the former director of development and assistant dean for advancement. Intrigued by the college, Steimel developed a keen interest in supporting the School for Classical and Contemporary Dance (SCCD).

“Growing up, my family knew Mr. Schaffenburg, the former SCCD director,” Steimel said. “I’ve always had an affinity for dance; it’s a unique art form that captivates audiences because its beauty unfolds in real-time, and you can only truly experience it in that moment.”

A SCCD student entering Erma Lowe Hall.

An SCCD student entering Erma Lowe Hall.

His commitment extended to joining the Board of Visitors and establishing the Walt Steimel Dance Alumni Scholarship in 2009 to recruit exceptional students for the dance program.

“The fine arts have the ability to bring people together,” Steimel said. “My involvement in the college and various projects reaffirm my belief that the fine arts offer a unique avenue for people to connect, communicate and overcome barriers. The expansion of this scholarship will further assist SCCD in its excellent record of recruiting talented and promising students.”

Make a gift of any size to the College of Fine Arts today.