In Memoriam: Beloved UTA Professor, Philanthropist Allan Saxe (1939 - 2024)
Professor Allan Saxe in a moment of levity inside a University of Texas at Arlington lecture hall, 11/28/1983.

In Memoriam: Beloved UTA Professor, Philanthropist Allan Saxe (1939 - 2024)

Allan Saxe, a beloved University of Texas at Arlington professor and prolific philanthropist, died at age 85 on June 18, 2024, the university announced.

"For nearly six decades, Allan Saxe has been a Maverick institution—one of our best known and most beloved professors," UT Arlington president Jennifer Cowley said in a statement. "He was engaging, smart, funny, and opinionated, and his classes were considered can't miss by generations of UT Arlington students."

Allan Saxe, born in February 1939, was also a noted American political scientist, author, lecturer, radio commentator, and philanthropist. Landmarks throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are named after Saxe in honor of his generous giving. Such landmarks in Arlington alone include Allan Saxe Park, the Allan Saxe Dental Clinic, the Allan Saxe Field, and the Allan Saxe Parkway (the latter a tongue-in-cheek honor; the "Parkway" leads to the Arlington city landfill and was named after his critiques of city council actions).

In his most noted and influential role, Saxe was the professor emeritus of political science at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he started as a faculty member in 1965.

Saxe was born in February 1939 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He earned his Ph.D in political science at the University of Oklahoma. As a child, he had been diagnosed with polio and remained bedridden for several months. The illness caused Saxe to suffer lifelong mobility issues, panic attacks, vertigo and nausea.

In 1965, Saxe was hired by Arlington State College to teach government courses during the summer semester. After the semester ended, he became a full-time faculty member of the university. He would continue to teach at the university until February 2019 when he retired due to health issues relating to post-polio syndrome.

As UTA president Cowley described in her statement, the university's magazine in 2020, upon Saxe's retirement, put out the call to alumni to share their favorite memories of Saxe. Hundreds of former students submitted entries, describing Saxe as a thought-provoking, entertaining and engaging professor.

Here's how the magazine introduced Saxe in the piece:

"In 1965, a legend was born on the UTA campus: Allan Saxe became a faculty member in the Department of Political Science. In the intervening years, he became known for his passion for politics, his quirky classroom lectures, and his overwhelming generosity and kindness. He packed lecture halls as a must-take professor. He gave freely of his time—supporting generations of students inside and outside the classroom—and also his money, funding developments all over UTA, the city of Arlington, and North Texas."

Saxe stands beside a garden dedicated in his name at The Salvation Army.

Among the memories shared by alums was from Nicole Langeberg, who described what it was like to sit in a Saxe lecture:

"He started class one day stating that he wanted to be like Lady Gaga and be carried to class in an egg and then be reborn," Langeberg wrote. "I have never laughed so hard in a class. He was by far the most entertaining professor."

Saxe was perhaps known as much for his philanthropy across campus and the city of Arlington as he was for his teaching.

Saxe's mother left him $500,000 upon her death which he gave away to charitable organizations. He has funded the Christmas lights in downtown Arlington, Texas as well as paid for efforts to keep traffic flowing in the area for light viewing.

Grants, loans and charities bear his name. The Allan Saxe NT Green Loan is a loan offered to students of the University of North Texas for unexpected expenses outside of tuition, fees and books. The Allan Saxe Disabled Student Scholarship is a scholarship for disabled students at the University of Texas at Arlington who excel academically. UNT lists the Ruth Brock and Allan Saxe Scholarship in Library Science as an available scholarship for students. Saxe donated $100,000 to have a 50-foot tall sculpture erected between AT&T Stadium and Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. In August 2020, Saxe announced his pledge to donate $10,000 to homeless shelters across Arlington, Texas.

In 1972, Saxe won the UTA Chancellor's Council Award (formerly the Amoco Award). In 1986, 2007 and 2008, he was named to the Gertrude Golladay Memorial Award for Outstanding Teaching in the College of Liberal Arts.