To honor the Mays students who received scholarships for the 2017-2018 academic school year and thank their generous donors, Mays Business School hosted the 2017 Scholarship Banquet Nov. 2 in the Hall of Champions at Kyle Field.

More than 700 scholarships totaling more than $5 million were given to Mays students for the fiscal year 2017. Mays donors support a total endowment of more than $22 million.

The night started with a welcome reception, providing students the chance to formally introduce themselves to their donors, peers, and Mays faculty and staff members. These introductions turned into in-depth conversations during dinner – discussions about the impact attending Mays and receiving a scholarship has had on the students’ education at Texas A&M University.

Spencer Sullivan ’18, a student who is graduating with a finance degree in December, has benefitted from the Gary Neale Reger Scholarship Fund/CED for his entire college career. He said the financial support has allowed him to concentrate on his studies and pursue immersive study-abroad opportunities.

In addition, Sullivan has enjoyed getting to know Reger over the past four years. “Hearing about how his time at A&M prepared him for the professional world inspired me to take advantage of the multitude of unique opportunities within Mays,” he said. “The Aggie Network is one of my favorite things about A&M. It’s truly incredible to see how committed alumni are to their university. Whether it is giving back to Mays financially, mentoring students, or simply offering advice, each and every former Aggie plays an important role in making A&M the best university in the country.”

Sharing the stories

Mays Business School Dean Eli Jones ’82 gave a welcome speech that recounted his path as a first-generation college student through three degrees at Texas A&M University. He said he and his wife Fern Jones continue to pass it back by funding a scholarship in order to develop transformational leaders. They endowed a $50,000 gift to Mays that will provide scholarships to full-time students pursuing an undergraduate degree in marketing who are also pursuing the Professional Selling and Sales Management career track.

Jones also introduced the keynote speaker of the evening, Paul Kruse ’77. Kruse graduated from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Kruse retired this year from his position as chairman of the board with Blue Bell Creameries. He was named an outstanding alumnus of Mays Business School in 2008.

“I tell Business Honors students, ‘Don’t let going to class get in the way of your getting an education,’” Kruse said. “You need to learn to think and to communicate. How well you work with others and play with others is so important. Work on those skills, too.”

Closing the night was student speaker Reid Russell ’18, who plans on graduating in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He has been involved in several programs during college, including the Corps of Cadets, where he has served as the Head of Public Relations Sergeant and has been a Corps of Cadets Distinguished student for two semesters.

Russell said despite Texas A&M’s record enrollment, Mays has still managed to feel “just the right size.” “Mays provides us a truly fun and enjoyable environment to study business,” he said. “In addition to the fun, most of us in here have found ways to seize opportunities for challenge and growth. The business school provides us with special programs, case competitions, and study-abroad trips. I think I can speak for everyone when I say we are going out into the workforce equipped for success.”