Accounting student Katherine Smith was the first Aggie honored by the Texas Conference for Women. At the annual event in Austin, Smith was recognized as the conference’s sole scholarship recipient for business.

Overcoming many challenges throughout her life, Smith says she has developed a determination to embrace differences and balance social inequalities. Not only is Smith working toward her BBA in accounting, but she is also earning a bachelor’s in agricultural education.

The Texas Conference for Women was created to serve as a statewide forum, which would both educate and inspire women in the state. Each year, the conference provides a $5,000 scholarship to a woman studying at one of the state’s institutions of higher education. Recipients are chosen in each of the following career categories: arts, business, education, math and science, nursing and public service.

For more information, please visit the Texas Conference for Women.

Categories: Departments, Students


Professor of Accounting Dr. L. Murphy Smith has been elected president of the American Accounting Association’s Gender Issues Section.

The section promotes equitable treatment of women and men in business and academia and promotes classroom knowledge and sensitivity to gender issues. Smith points out that the Professional Program in Mays’ Department of Accounting graduates about 200 students annually, evenly split between men and women.

“I have always had an interest in gender issues, so I’m thrilled to serve in this position,” he says. “I consider this leadership role a significant responsibility.”

Joining Mays in 1984, Smith is the director of the Department of Accounting’s internal auditing program. With a focus on ethics, information technology and international issues, Smith’s research has appeared in18 books and more than 100 professional journal articles. His work has also been cited in various news media, including Fortune, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

Categories: Departments, Faculty

Department of Management Head Angelo DeNisi recently received the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award. This prestigious award is given to an individual who has made highly significant lifetime contributions to the science of industrial/organizational psychology.

The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology is a division within the American Psychology Association and is also an organizational affiliate of the American Psychological Society.

Joining Mays in 1997, DeNisi served as the director for the Center for Human Resource Management and has held numerous editorships for leading management journals. He is an honorary professor at the City University of Hong Kong and editor of the Academy of Management Journal. His research interests include job analysis, performance appraisals and the work experiences of persons with disabilities.

Categories: Centers, Departments, Faculty

After earning a BBA in accounting from Texas A&M in 1977 and a law degree from Baylor Law School in 1980, Kruse went into private practice. But he was lured back to Blue Bell, becoming the chief legal counsel in 1986. While Paul Kruse ’77 has served as Blue Bell Creameries chief executive officer for only a few months, he’s no stranger to making ice cream. Kruse is the third generation to hold the chief post since the company began in 1907.

Kruse recently shared with Mays marketing students how the company has become the third best-selling brand of ice cream in the nation. And it’s only sold in 14 states. While Blue Bell’s success has left companies vying for buy out, much like his grandfather, father and uncle who held the executive post before him, Kruse plans to keep the business private with a methodical growth plan.

“We like slow, steady growth that’s predictable,” said Kruse, “We’ve done it the hard way, and we like where we are at. We are a regional ice cream company with a big border of places we could go.”

Aside from market share, Mays students were also curious as to whether the company’s slogan (“We eat all we can and we sell the rest.”) really holds true.

“We eat as much as we want,” Kruse said with a laugh.

Categories: Departments, Former Students

Department of Accounting Head Jim Benjamin and his wife, Carolyn, have established the Patricia Benjamin Memorial Scholarship in memory of his mother. The $25,000 endowment will be used to support full-time accounting students at Mays.

Benjamin says he felt compelled to support the school because he has had “a wonderful career at Texas A&M.” Benjamin joined the accounting faculty in 1974 and has served as head of the Department of Accounting since 1982. During his tenure, he has co-authored two textbooks and more than 70 journal articles. Carolyn Benjamin recently retired from a career as real estate appraiser. They have four adult children, two of whom have master’s degrees from Mays.

“Many of our students have significant financial need and scholarship support allows them to spend more time on their studies and meaningful extracurricular activities,” says Benjamin, who has been honored over the years for his teaching, administration and efforts to increase diversity at Texas A&M. “It also gives me great pleasure to honor my mother with this gift. She was a good friend as well as a parent, and she never let me forget the importance of education.”

Categories: Departments, Faculty

It’s impossible to turn on the television or pick up a newspaper without hearing or reading about Halliburton. That’s why Chief Executive Officer, Chairman and President David Lesar has a very pointed strategy — stay out of the political tussle and focus on effectively communicating with its customers and more than 100,000 employees.

During a recent visit to Mays Business School, Lesar discussed the company’s media strategy and fielded questions from first-year Mays MBA students. While he admits it’s been trying at times to be under such constant scrutiny, he has also kept a sense of humor.

“I’m probably the only CEO of a company in American that reads the front page of the paper to see how we are related to the war, then reads the business section to see how we are covered and then goes to the comics to see if we’re in Doonesbury,” said Lesar, who joined Halliburton in 1993 and assumed the chief post in 2000 when Dick Cheney stepped down to become vice president. “Then I’ll turn on the television at night to see if we pop up on Letterman’s top 10 list.”

Lesar pointed out the very real implications of bad press, particularly in how it affects employee moral. That’s why the company has introduced an intranet where employees can gain information. And Lesar, himself, has written editorials and appeared on all the major television news shows.

“You don’t want to become a punching bag,” said Lesar, who was a partner at Arthur Andersen in Dallas prior to joining Halliburton. “You have to fight back.”

For Lesar, dealing with the media isn’t something he learned during his business school days at the University of Wisconsin, where he earned BS and MBA degrees. That’s why he encouraged Mays MBA students to more fully develop their communication and teamwork skills, as well as to keep an open mind about their future careers.

“I am a big believer in public universities because they help you develop a great work ethic,” he told the audience. “As you enter your careers, let the sky be the limit. I’m perfect proof of what you will go through — you never know which direction your career will go.”

Categories: Programs, Students

Ray Hunt, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Hunt Consolidated Inc., was honored with the 2004 Kupfer Distinguished Executive Award. Named in memory of Harold Kupfer ’54, the award was created by lifelong friends Donald Zale ’54 and Gerald Ray ’54 to honor a businessperson who exemplifies Kupfer’s integrity, leadership and business acumen.

Hunt no doubt fits the bill, having been taught the nuances of the oil exploration industry by his father H.L. Hunt, who founded the company in 1934. The younger Hunt began his relationship with the company working in the oil fields during the summer of 1958.

Becoming chairman of Hunt Oil in 1974, Hunt has guided the company’s growth and success by sticking to the core principles his father stressed. In fact, Hunt believes that corporate culture, especially in a marketplace soiled with scandal, is one of the most important values.

“If someone would have asked me five years ago what was the single most important aspect was, I would have said our people,” Hunt told the audience upon accepting the award. “But in a post-Enron environment, I would now have to say corporate culture. If you have a strong culture, it will attract the right people.”

In addition to his success at Hunt Oil, Hunt has long been an active community and government servant. In 2001, George W. Bush appointed him to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. He is a member of the National Petroleum Council and chairman of the board for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. He earned a bachelor’s in economics from Southern Methodist University in 1965, where he serves on the board of trustees. SMU named Hunt a Distinguished Alumnus in 1977, and he was elected to the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 1992.

Categories: Departments, Donors Corner, Former Students