By Molly Kulpa ’15
Marketing Specialist, Texas A&M Foundation
NEW YORK, NEW YORK

Support to Texas A&M: Jacqueline and Alan Mitchell ’85 Aggies on Wall Street Endowed Excellence Fund
Even when far from their alma mater, Aggies continue to help other Aggies succeed. Jacqueline and Alan Mitchell ’85 of New York City share a passion for giving Aggie students an advantage—particularly for helping them get their foot in the door on Wall Street

The couple established an endowment to permanently provide funding for Mays Business School’s Aggies on Wall Street Program, which provides opportunities to students interested in investment banking, including internship placement and a two-week trip to New York where they meet Wall Street professionals at leading firms. Students who successfully complete the Aggies on Wall Street program are awarded a Certificate in Investment Banking upon graduation. In addition to giving his financial resources, Alan also spends time with Mays Business Honors students to share career advice and serves on the Wall Street Advisory Board for the Department of Finance.

“Investment banking firms in New York tend to recruit from East Coast schools, and primarily Ivy League graduates,” Alan said. “Schools in the South just don’t carry the same name recognition when it comes to recruiting in New York, but we hope this endowed fund will expand the Aggies on Wall Street Program and boost the number of Aggie graduates working on Wall Street over time.”

Alan’s career in investment banking led the couple to New York City, while Jackie’s work as a natural gas trader translated well to the Wall Street atmosphere.

In addition to their support of Aggies on Wall Street, Jackie also serves on the Board of Trustees at The Convent of the Sacred Heart, an all-girls school that their children attend in New York City. They also support the Children’s Museum of the East End on Long Island, the East Hampton Historical Society, The Thomas Moran Trust and the Sigma Chi Fraternity. The Mitchells have also established a family foundation to be more focused with their giving and to provide a family tradition for future giving.

The Lead by Example campaign, Texas A&M University’s third comprehensive fundraising campaign, began on Jan. 1, 2012. With a goal to raise $4 billion by 2020, it is the third largest public higher education campaign in the nation and the largest ever in Texas. Donations of any size to the Texas A&M Foundation, The Association of Former Students, the 12th Man Foundation and the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation count toward the campaign total, which stands at $2.91 billion as of January 31, 2018, representing 72 percent of the goal. Learn more at leadbyexample.tamu.edu.

Categories: Donors Corner, Finance, Mays Business, Programs, Texas A&M

Mays Dean Eli Jones stepped up to teach his fellow deans from around the United States and Canada on advanced fund-raising techniques. He was one of two deans invited to lead sessions for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s Advanced Development for Deans and Academic Leaders conference, held Jan. 10-12 in Philadelphia. More than 100 academic leaders from the U.S. and Canada attended.

Jones drew from his experience as a three-time dean – at Texas A&M University, University of Arkansas, and Louisiana State University – to teach skills such as how to develop targeted strategies for programs and how to enhance relationships with donors.

“Among other subjects, I talked about our Strategic Plan and the grassroots process we used to gain buy-in; the strong support of our incredible donors and how we approach our donor base; and the impact the financial support is having on engaging our faculty, such as the creation of the Mays Innovation Research Center,” he said.

In the two years since Jones began leading Mays, the school has

Categories: Dean Eli Jones, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Michelle Hickox ’89 graduated from Mays Business School’s Department of Finance and has spent her time over the years since giving back in numerous ways – as a donor, a mentor, and a member of its executive board.

She is currently executive vice president and CFO of Independent Bank Group Inc. – an expanding, publicly-traded bank based in McKinney, Texas.

She and her husband donated a $30,000 gift to establish the Michelle ’89 and Rob Hickox ’90 Commercial Banking Program Excellence Endowment. It aims to support the teaching, research, service, and professional development activities of the Commercial Banking Program at Mays Business School. The flagship internship program in the Mays Department of Finance is designed to equip students with the best practices for a career in commercial banking. CBP provides a rich developmental environment by combining formal learning, industry experience, and professional mentoring.

Hickox said that before the large Texas banks failed in the late ’80s and early ’90s, most new bankers started their careers in those large bank training programs. Since then, there has been an absence of formal training programs for community banks. Now that the banking industry is vibrant again, programs like the one at Texas A&M provide a depth of bank-specific training to prepare students for their first job in a commercial bank.

James W. Kolari, JP Morgan Chase Professor of Finance and Academic Director of the Commercial Banking Program, said Hickox’s leadership on its executive board is important to helping ensure the success of the Commercial Banking Program. “Michelle is Director of the Student Recruitment Committee, which is engaged with all aspects of recruiting, both external and internal, of students into the baking program,” he said. “Michelle’s generous gift works to ensure that our banking program will be permanently endowed to support the education of young Aggie bankers in the future.”

Dwight Garey, executive director of the CBP, stated that Michelle is steadfast in her involvement in and support of the banking program. “Advisory Board members like Michelle are the sparks that inspire us to remain unwavering in our mission of educating and training the next generation of bankers,” he said.

Categories: Alumni, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Finance, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

For this season’s #GivingTuesday, Jon and Debbie Bethancourt have generously committed to a $10,000 matching gift if current and former students from the Strategic Philanthropy course raise $10,000 in additional funding for future grant making. The gift and the match will go straight to nonprofit organizations in the form of grant funding in the 2018-2019 school year.

The Strategic Philanthropy course at Mays Business School is heavily oriented toward the sustainable, responsible, and measurable ways in which nonprofits address and solve problems in local, national, and global communities. This course provides opportunities for students to practice strategic giving as a group while also developing a personal approach to philanthropy to carry forward into their personal and professional lives.

Donations to this initiative not only fund other nonprofits, but also provide a unique learning experience for students to learn how to “give well.”

…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Programs, Selfless service, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Mays Business School reflects the values of excellence revered by its namesake – Artie McFerrin, a long-time supporter of Texas A&M University and the name behind the $10 million gift that secured the center’s future.

An intimate group that included Artie McFerrin’s wife Dorothy, their daughter Jennifer, and a gathering of family, friends and university leaders attended a recent reception to celebrate the official naming of the center. The event at the Founders Club at Kyle Field served as a tribute to Artie McFerrin, and a thank-you to his family, who have supported Texas A&M for years.

Dorothy and Artie McFerrin Jr. ’65 (2016 photo)

“If you strive for success, if you dream of venturing into the unknown and emerging smarter and stronger, if you want to grow yourself so you can grow others, you not only have a place to go, but also a name forever attached to it,” Tyson Voelkel, president of the Texas A&M Foundation, said at the event.

The center, which serves more than 3,000 students and more than 1,000 former students through 27 programs, is an international leader in entrepreneurial education. It aims to enhance entrepreneurial student education by providing training, networking, and assistance to enterprising students, faculty and alumni. With the support of a volunteer network, corporate supporters, faculty, and staff, the McFerrin Center has been able to provide business start-up acceleration, competitive opportunities, work experiences, and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community and across the world.

…Read more

Categories: Centers, Dean Eli Jones, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Programs, Selfless service, Startup Aggieland, Texas A&M

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. …Read more

Categories: Dean Eli Jones, Donors Corner, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

By Texas A&M Foundation

The Texas A&M Foundation has received two lead gifts totaling $4 million in a $10 million fundraising campaign to name the Department of Accounting in honor of James J. Benjamin in Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. David Baggett, a 1981 graduate of the university with a degree in accounting, and his wife Denise have committed $2 million to the campaign. Ernst & Young has also committed a gift of the same amount. Both gifts will be endowed to support the needs of the department and to ensure its future growth.

The idea to name the Department of Accounting resulted after discussions between Mays Business School, David Baggett and Ernst & Young partner, T. Randall “Randy” Cain, a 1982 graduate from the accounting program and a Texas A&M Foundation trustee. James Benjamin was presented as a worthwhile namesake for the department because of his decades-long commitment to students. The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents recently approved the naming of the James J. Benjamin Department of Accounting.

“The Department of Accounting at Texas A&M is one of the leading accounting programs in the United States, largely due to Dr. Jim Benjamin’s leadership over 35 years as department head,” said Eli Jones, dean of Mays Business School. “In recognition of his extraordinary leadership and selfless service, former students David Baggett ’81 and Randy Cain ’82 have co-led the fundraising effort to name the department in honor of Dr. Benjamin. This funding will help sustain efforts in the department to maintain its national prominence in accounting research and teaching.”

The campaign to name the Department of Accounting is intended to enhance the visibility of the department and provide young people in the field additional opportunities to explore the accounting profession. In addition, the endowment will allow the department to recruit outstanding faculty, develop international opportunities for students to learn global accounting practices, and support high-impact educational programs, such as the Professional Program and the Energy Accounting Program.

Benjamin is the Deloitte Foundation Leadership Professor and head of the accounting department. He joined the faculty at Texas A&M in 1974 and has served as department head since 1982. After attaining his undergraduate degree and CPA license, he received his M.B.A. and DBA degrees from Indiana University. He previously served as the Ph.D. coordinator for Mays Business School and director of the school’s honors program.

“Over the past almost four decades, Jim Benjamin has been a driving force in the transformation of our business school,” said David Baggett. “When I came to Texas A&M in 1979, we were known largely as an engineering and agricultural school.” Today, some 38 years later, the Mays Business School undergraduate accounting program is consistently recognized in the top 10 among public universities, while the bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. programs made Public Accounting Report’s top 10 list for 2017.

“With Jim’s personality, business savvy and leadership skills, he would have been very successful in the corporate world,” added Baggett. “Fortunately for me and thousands of other accounting and business graduates, Jim dedicated himself to our success.”

“We are excited to be part of this effort to name the accounting department after Dr. Jim Benjamin and know the resulting endowment will serve future students for decades to come,” said Denise Baggett.

Half of the Baggetts’ contribution to the accounting program campaign will create a matching gift fund to encourage other donors to contribute to the cause.

“At Ernst & Young we are a purpose-driven organization focused on building a better working world,” said Cain. “When I think of Texas A&M, I can’t think of a better place to invest when we’re trying to live our purpose. Students come out with a set of instilled values, and this marries up with the EY purpose. You have to give credit to Jim Benjamin, who has been an extraordinary visionary in the world of accounting education.”

In addition to the two lead gifts to the campaign, Mays Business School has also received commitments from KPMG LLP, Deloitte, Karen Pape ’80, Karen and Rodney Faldyn ’88, Becky ’76 and Monty Davis ’77, Lina and Kenny Lawson, Marian ’82 and Willie Langston ’81, Wanda and Lou Paletta ’78, and Kay ’02 and Jerry Cox ’72, Tracy and Randy Hale ’85, and Mark Kelly ’79. Combined, these pledges, along with other commitments, total nearly $7.5 million.

“I was humbled and honored when I learned of the initiative to name the Department of Accounting,” said Benjamin. “While I have been gratified to be a part of the growth and success of the accounting program, I have always recognized that our growing reputation was a product of exceptional students and talented and dedicated faculty. I have been truly blessed to be surrounded by such great students, faculty and former students throughout my career.”

All gifts toward the James J. Benjamin Department of Accounting naming also count toward the Texas A&M “Lead by Example” campaign, which aims to raise $4 billion by the year 2020. If you wish to make an endowed gift of $25,000 or more to support the naming initiative, contact Brian Bishop at (979) 862-3615 or bbishop@txamfoundation.com. You can also contribute non-endowed gifts online at give.am/JamesBenjamin.

Mays Business School

Mays Business School’s vision is to advance the world’s prosperity. Their mission is to provide a vibrant learning organization that creates impactful knowledge and develops transformational leaders. Mays Business School educates more than 6,200 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its programs and faculty research.

Texas A&M Foundation 

The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that unites generosity and vision to raise and manage major endowed gifts that support the future of Texas A&M University. For additional information and for photographs, please contact Dunae Crenwelge at dcrenwelge@txamfoundation.com or (979) 845-7461.

“Lead by Example” Campaign

Launched in 2015, Texas A&M University’s third comprehensive fundraising campaign, “Lead by Example,” is a joint effort between Texas A&M and its affiliate organizations: the Texas A&M Foundation, The Association of Former Students, the 12th Man Foundation and the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation. With a goal of reaching $4 billion by 2020, it is the largest higher education campaign in Texas history and the third largest conducted nationally by a public university. The campaign will generate gifts in three major areas: Transformational Education; Discovery and Innovation; and Impact on the State, Nation and World.

For more information about the campaign, visit leadbyexample.tamu.edu.

 

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Departments, Donors Corner, Faculty, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

By Dunae Crenwelge, The Texas A&M Foundation

The Texas A&M Foundation has received commitments of $3 million from the Mays Family Foundation and $2.6 million from the Charles Koch Foundation to establish the Mays Innovation Research Center within the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

With these contributions, both foundations continue their legacy of philanthropy at Texas A&M. In 2017, the Mays Family Foundation has given a record $25 million in support of Mays Business School, bringing its lifetime contributions to more than $50 million. This contribution marks the first gift from the Koch Foundation to Mays Business School, although the organization has supported other endeavors at Texas A&M.

Drawing from academic disciplines across the Texas A&M campus, the center will examine the nature of innovation. Research at the center will focus on how innovation advances human potential; the essential conditions necessary for innovation to flourish; how innovation spreads; and the social, economic and legal frameworks necessary to support innovation. Many traditional university innovation centers focus on teaching the history, theory, and practice of innovation. By contrast, the center is a research-oriented academic center that will engage in the study of innovation to advance knowledge in this important field.

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Categories: Centers, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

By Dorian Martin ’06, The Texas A&M Foundation

The entrepreneurial spirit of longtime Texas A&M University benefactor Arthur “Artie” McFerrin Jr. will continue to inspire future generations of Aggies through the renaming of Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) in his honor.

McFerrin, who passed away Aug. 8 after a long battle with leukemia, consistently supported Texas A&M’s academic and athletic programs with major gifts. The 1965 graduate of Texas A&M University is the namesake of the McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, the McFerrin Athletic Center (the indoor football complex and track stadium) and the Cox-McFerrin Basketball Center.

“Widely known as one of the most generous, humble and understated leaders in business, Artie gave more in his life than he ever took,” said Texas A&M Foundation President Tyson Voelkel. “He set a standard few others will ever achieve as a man of character and conviction focused on the future. It is fitting that the newly renamed McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship will bear the name of someone so focused on giving others opportunities.”

The CNVE’s renaming was made possible through a $10 million gift from McFerrin and his wife, Dorothy. These funds will advance the center’s work as an international leader in entrepreneurial education. “We are truly grateful to the McFerrin family,” said Eli Jones, dean of Mays Business School. “Artie’s spirit lives on through the thousands of lives he has influenced and will continue to influence. His heart for Texas A&M and entrepreneurship beats in the hearts of those Aggies who choose to be courageous enough to create solutions to the world’s biggest problems—those who are indeed fearless.”

Dorothy and Artie McFerrin Jr. ’65

Funds will further help the center more effectively prepare aspiring entrepreneurs to succeed in a turbulent global economy. “Our goal is to create a state-of-the-art center that equips young people for starting and growing their ventures,” said Richard Lester, the center’s executive director. “With this support, we can expand our reach and impact while linking existing programs for a cohesive experience. More than grooming specific skills, we hope to train students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset: to believe they can achieve and not give up when the going gets tough.”

…Read more

Categories: Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, Centers, Donors Corner, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Peter and Lisa Currie of Houston have always cared deeply about the impact of business education and the dual practices of teaching and research. That’s why they established the first $3 million faculty chair at Mays Business School.

The Curries’ gift creates the Lisa Huddleston Currie ’85 and Peter H. Currie ’85 Chair in Business and helps fund faculty recruitment efforts at Mays.

An appointment to an endowed chair is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a faculty member. The highest level of performance in research, teaching and service, based on national and international standards, is required for such an appointment.

Gift agreements with donors may specify the criteria for a position; however, in the absence of such specification research and publication will be given primary consideration.

Peter Currie received a bachelor’s degree in 1985 from the Department of Management at the business school. Lisa Currie received a degree in 1985 in educational curriculum and instruction.

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Categories: Alumni, Donors Corner, Faculty, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M