Outstanding Alumni Award
Mays Business School honors graduates who have led lives of distinction and who embody the Aggie core values – loyalty, integrity, excellence, leadership, selfless service and respect – with the Mays Outstanding Alumni Award. Recipients come from all industries, have been active in their communities and continue to serve their alma mater. The alumni chosen for the award represent the best of the best at Mays.
Gregory M. Cokinos ’79
GREGORY M. COKINOS is managing partner and founder of Cokinos |Young, the largest law firm in Texas concentrating on construction and real estate law. He has more than 30 years of experience as a civil trial attorney, practicing primarily in the areas of business/commercial disputes, with a focus on construction, engineering, and design litigation. His experience also extends to contract negotiations, and all aspects of trial, including personal injury, commercial litigation, and arbitration.
Cokinos has been named one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in the State of Texas every year since 2007 and has maintained a Tier 1 ranking by Chambers USA for several years. He was the first attorney in Houston inducted into the American College of Construction Lawyers, an invitation received by only the top 1 percent of construction lawyers in North America. He founded the Construction Law Journal in 2002, for which he continues to serve as editor.
Cokinos was born in Beaumont to Brigadier General Mike P. Cokinos and Katherine Cokinos. He is the fourth of seven children, six of whom are Texas A&M graduates. He comes from a long and distinguished lineage of Aggies, including 24 former students.
Cokinos earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration (management) in 1979 and a JD from South Texas College of Law in 1981. He married Page Crowther Cokinos in 1992, and they have six children: Kyle (‘16), Katherine (‘17), Carter (‘18), Kallie, Cameron and Mary Kristen.
In addition to being an Endowed Century Club Member with The Association of Former Students, Cokinos served as the 2006 Chair of the 12th Man Foundation, where he continues to remain actively involved. He is also a member of the Champions Council and the Council of Athletic Ambassadors.
Aside from his involvement at A&M, Cokinos is involved in many philanthropic and community organizations. Chief among such activities, he is a very active member of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, sitting on the Parish Council board, as well as chairing a $12.5 million Expansion Steering Committee.
Cydney Collier Donnell ’81
CYDNEY COLLIER DONNELL is an executive professor and associate head of the Department of Finance at Mays, where she teaches graduate-level classes in real estate capital markets and has taught undergraduate level finance classes in portfolio management and special topics in governance, ethics and personal development. She is also the director of Real Estate Programs at Mays, overseeing the Master of Real Estate Program and undergraduate real estate finance classes.
She previously was the managing director for European Investors in New York City, where she managed more than $3 billion in real estate securities on behalf of U.S. pension funds, foundations, endowments and high-net-worth clients. One of the original “REIT Mafia,” she participated in the extraordinary growth of the publicly traded REIT market by working with industry leaders to create an industry that boasts some of the best leadership and governance in the U.S. In 2006, she was awarded the NAREIT Industry Achievement Award for her support of the industry.
Donnell graduated magna cum laude from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s degree in finance and received an MBA from Southern Methodist University in 1982. She has volunteered as a member of the executive committee of the Junior League of the City of New York and has guest lectured at New York and Columbia universities. She was on the board of the National Association of Real Estate Investments Trusts. While in New York, she was a member of Aggies on Wall Street and is a lifetime member of the New York A&M Club. From 2002 to 2005, she served on the board of the Association of Former Students at Texas A&M and on the Investment Advisory Committee of the Texas A&M Foundation.
In addition to her duties at Texas A&M, Donnell serves on the boards of American Campus Communities, a publicly traded REIT and leader in the student housing industry; Pebblebrook Hotel REIT a publicly traded owner of U.S. hotels (presently lead director); Madison Harbor Balanced Strategies, an SEC-registered real estate fund of funds; and the Employees Retirement Fund of Texas, the 57th-largest U.S. public pension plan by asset size. During her current service at the Employees Retirement Fund, she has served as board chair and chair of the Audit Committee.
Carri Lynn Baker ’84
CARRI LYNN BAKER, a dedicated advocate for public education, has transformed and lead many organizations benefiting K-12 and higher education throughout Texas.
The third woman to receive the Association of Former Students’ Distinguished Alumnus Award at Texas A&M University, Carri has served her alma mater in a myriad of endeavors. Among them was serving as first female chairman of the 12th Man Foundation, where she and her executive committee team were responsible for the highly successful North Side “Zone Club” project, the Bright Complex and the West Campus Complex for men’s and women’s sports. She was a founding board member of the A&M PAC and served on the board of the San Antonio A&M Club.
For 32 years, Carri has served as a key executive and chief operations officer for San Antonio based Linebarger Goggan Blair and Sampson, LLP, a nationally recognized law firm representing governments and school districts throughout the U.S. She has been an integral player in the firm’s national growth by leading in the political, community and marketing arenas.
Her selfless civic leadership has significantly impacted San Antonio in areas of education, health and economic development. She was chairman of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce (2010), co- founder and former chair of the SAISD Foundation (2009-2013) and founding board member for Teach for America San Antonio. Through the American Heart Association, she lead initiatives to impact women’s health and pass legislation in Texas to help save lives impacted by cardiac events.
Carri serves on the National Board of Girl Scouts USA. In 2013, she was honored with the Trefoil Award from the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas, the highest honor bestowed by the organization and was also recognized as a “Girl Scout Great” in GSUSA’s 100th year anniversary celebration.
Peggy and Lowry Mays ’57
IN 2017, DEAN ELI JONES ESTABLISHED THE PEGGY AND LOWRY MAYS IMPACT AWARD to recognize outstanding contributions to the vision and mission of Mays Business School. Recipients must exhibit a long and distinguished record of impacting Mays Business School in significant ways, which include exemplary giving and strong leadership. The award recognizes those who unequivocally move the business school forward, as evidenced by the quality of its faculty and recognition by the school’s peers.
Mr. and Mrs. Mays’ support has elevated our beloved school to higher levels for several decades. In 1996, the school was endowed by Mr. Lowry Mays ’57, founder and CEO of Clear Channel Communications. In honor of this $15 million gift, the college was renamed the Lowry Mays College & Graduate School of Business. In 2002, the school was renamed Mays Business School.
In 2009, Mr. Mays and his wife Peggy continued their investment in Mays Business School with a $7.5 million gift to support a number of endowed faculty chairs, including the Benton Cocanougher Chair which was named on behalf of Benton Cocanougher, dean emeritus and professor emeritus of Mays Business School. The gift also supported one eminent scholar chair in the name of Peggy and L. Lowry Mays, which is currently held by Dean Eli Jones.
In 2010, the Texas A&M Foundation Board of Trustees honored Mr. Mays with its Sterling C. Evans Medal for his philanthropy to Texas A&M. Famous for reshaping the cultural and economic impact of radio, he is well-known for his generosity to Mays Business School and the George Bush Presidential Library.
It is only fitting that the namesakes are the inaugural honorees of the Peggy and Lowry Mays Impact Award.
John R. Blocker ’45
A.P. Wiley, Jr. ’46
Robert H. Allen ’50
John A. Mobley ’511993
J. Rogers Rainey, Jr. ’44 (posthumous)
Bob Bolen ’48
Donald A. Adam ’57
Clifton J. Bolner ’49
Barnett L. Gershen ’69
John Speer ’712005
L.C. (Chaz) Neely, Jr. ’62
Terry E. Hatchett ’68
Brandon C. Coleman, Jr. ’78