In 2003, the graduating class of MBAs at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School made an ambitious commitment. Despite the fact that they hadn’t yet received their first post-graduation paycheck, they pledged to give $75,000 to create a scholarship endowment for future A&M MBA students.

“Although we had heard that MBA classes at other universities had sponsored scholarships, no previous A&M MBA class had done anything like this,” said Jason Dyke, one of the six members of the class that planned and oversaw the gift.

From that initial commitment, the gift continued to grow as it was matched with funds from the Dean’s Development Council at Mays, creating an endowment of $150,000. Then that amount was matched with a gift from the Heep Foundation, bringing the total to $300,000.

“[Mays] Dean Jerry Strawser made the matching donations happen,” said Dyke. Other members of the class of 2003 involved in the gift planning were Romney Stewart, John Landherr, Steven Skiff, Greg Moore, and Brock Allen. Stewart and Allen worked closely with Strawser to bring the gift to fruition.

Of the 87 graduates in the A&M MBA class of 2003, 46 people contributed or had company matches that added to the scholarship endowment. “We were very happy that 46 decided to help us,” said Dyke. “After graduation our class was scattered from Europe to Hong Kong to the South Pacific, so it was very difficult trying to track everyone back down.”

In the spring of 2008 the class celebrated the fulfillment of their commitment. Now that the endowment is fully funded, a committee from the class including two faculty members has chosen the first recipient of the $12,000 scholarship, which will be awarded to one member of each new class of MBAs. The first recipient selected is Elizabeth “Liz” Mullane, associate director of CCS Fundraising in Camden, New Jersey.

Dyke commented on Mullane’s selection. “Guidelines that were established by the class for the scholarship fund included leadership, unique work experience, career aspirations, and academic achievement. They were among several criteria that our class voted on from a list of about ten. We wanted to ensure that the fellowship would reflect the personality of our class,” he said, noting that Mullane is a “very well-rounded person” with strong leadership skills and great work experience.

Since 2003, Mullane has worked in the nonprofit sector in various capacities, molding her career ambition of leading a national nonprofit. In her current position with CCS, she oversaw the fundraising of $7.45 million for Diocese of Camden House. She holds a double major from the University of Michigan in political science and English.

Mullane says she was “honored and humbled” to receive the inaugural scholarship. “For me, this award doesn’t just help relieve the stress of affording an MBA education as an out-of-state student. In my mind, this award signifies Mays’ commitment to diversity in not only the type of candidate it accepts, but also the school’s willingness to include new areas of study into its program,” she said.