The past, present, and future of Mays Business School were embodied in the three guests of honor as the Benton Cocanougher Chair in Business was dedicated at a luncheon on October 23. Special guests by invitation of Dean Jerry Strawser were in attendance, as well as the men of the hour: Lowry Mays ’57, founder of Clear Channel Communications and benefactor of Mays Business School; Benton Cocanougher, dean of Mays Business School from 1987 to 2001 and current dean emeritus and professor emeritus at Texas A&M; and Luis Gomez-Mejia, professor of management and inaugural holder of the Cocanougher Chair.

(Left to right) Luis Gomez-Mejia, Lowry Mays '57, Benton Cocanougher, and Jerry Strawser '83 at the dedication of the Benton Cocanougher Chair in Business.
(Left to right) Luis Gomez-Mejia, Lowry Mays ’57, Benton Cocanougher, and Jerry Strawser ’83 at the dedication of the Benton Cocanougher Chair in Business.

Mays, who funded the chair with his wife, Peggy, spoke warmly of Cocanougher at the event, saying that “Benton has been a very close friend of our family for a long time.” Cocanougher was dean of the business school when Mays endowed it with a gift of $15M in 1997. Mays said he was impressed with the leadership Cocanougher provided to the business school, and continues to provide to A&M. “He’s a great teacher and an incredible leader on this campus,” said Mays, who compared Cocanougher to the 12th Man for his willingness to serve A&M wherever there is a need. Presently, he is interim dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service and prior to that position, he was interim chancellor of the Texas A&M University System.

Cocanougher thanked Mays for the honor of the gift naming and for his continued involvement with the school. Cocanougher commented that as important as Mays’ original gift to the school was, branding the school with his name was even more impactful. “Lowry built a great corporation, but he was also instrumental in changing the very nature of the communications industry and he did it all with an unblemished record and a commitment to public service,” he said. “And that’s a very special asset for any academic program.”

“Through their generosity, Peggy and Lowry Mays are improving the lives of tens of thousands of people,” said Cocanougher, mentioning the Mays’ many other charitable endeavors. Their recent activity at Mays Business School was in the amount of $7.5 million with matching funds to create a $12 million gift; this gift is dedicated to faculty support and will provide six faculty chairs and three eminent scholar chairs, including the Cocanougher Chair.

Gomez-Mejia joined A&M in fall 2009 from Arizona State University. He is highly regarded globally as an expert in his field. “A&M for me was always the pinnacle, so it still seems sort of unreal that I’m here,” he said. He acknowledged that the honor of being the first to hold the prestigious chair, named for and created by two such important men, came with a certain amount of pressure for his performance. “I will try to keep your good name up,” he promised.

Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories, Former Students

The Benton Cocanougher Chair in Business will be dedicated this Friday, October 23, at Mays Business School. The inaugural chair holder is Luis Gomez-Mejia, professor of management. The chair was funded by a gift from the school’s namesake, Lowry Mays ’57, who recently provided $7.5 million with matching funds to create a $12 million gift; this gift is dedicated to faculty support and will provide six faculty chairs and three eminent scholar chairs.

Benton Cocanougher

The chair is named in honor of Benton Cocanougher, who served as dean of Mays Business School from 1987 to 2001 and has been named dean emeritus and professor emeritus by Texas A&M. Cocanougher currently serves as interim dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service. Previously, he served as interim chancellor of the Texas A&M University System (2003-2004).

It was during Cocanougher’s tenure as dean at Mays Business School that: Peggy and Lowry Mays made their original gift to the business school; the college’s endowment increased from $10 million to $70 million; the college transitioned from a teaching orientation to a multiple mission research institution; various programs began appearing in top 25 national public school rankings; and the Wehner Building was built. His career experience before entering academia includes service in the U.S. Army, General Electric Company, consulting in corporate strategy and planning, and management positions with Legg Mason Mutual Funds, Randall’s Foods, Inc., and others. His primary research interests include marketing strategy and planning, and consumer analysis. His publications have appeared in professional journals including Harvard Business Review, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, and Social Science Quarterly. His professional awards and activities include the Distinguished Alumnus Award, College of Business Administration, University of Texas at Austin; Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award; and Distinguished Service Award, University of Houston-College of Business Administration Alumni Association.

Luis Gomez-Mejia

Luis Gomez-Mejia, who will hold the Cocanougher chair, joined Mays this fall from Arizona State University. As an educator for more than three decades, Gomez-Mejia has honed his classroom skills at a number of American universities as well as two universities in Spain. With more than 100 publication credits to his name, Gomez-Mejia’s research ranges from management in high technology firms to socio-emotional concerns within family firms. His current research focuses on executive compensation and how financial incentives may be used to motivate people at work. His research appears in top-tier publications; his books are used in business classrooms nationwide. His work has garnered much attention and praise, including selection to the Academy of Management’s Hall of Fame, and a research fellowship granted by the Ministry of Education in Spain. Gomez-Mejia serves as president and founder of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management, which covers Spain/Portugal, Latin America, and Hispanic faculty in U.S. universities. He has served two terms on the editorial board of the Academy of Management Journal and is editor and cofounder of Journal of High Technology Management Research and Journal of Management Research.

Categories: Donors Corner, Faculty

Founder of Clear Channel Communications Lowry Mays ’57 and his wife Peggy have announced their continued support for the college that bears their namesake, Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. Their recent $7.5 million gift will support a number of endowed faculty chairs. Part of the fund will be matched with gifts from other donors, bringing the total impact of the gift up to $12 million.

Lowry Mays '57

“At a time when so many are affected by this challenging economy, we are fortunate to have generous benefactors in the Mays family,” said Jerry Strawser, dean of Mays Business School. “Their past support has enabled our school to achieve status as one of the top public business schools in the world, and this most recent gift will allow us to continue delivering outstanding programs to our students. We are proud to have one of the most influential businessmen in Texas history endorse our programs in such a meaningful way.”

This latest gift builds upon the Mays’ 1996 contribution of $15 million, which continues support of the business school’s initiatives. It was at that time the college of business at Texas A&M was formally named in the Mays’ honor.

The current gift will support one eminent scholar chair in the name of Peggy Pitman Mays and one regular chair honoring Benton Cocanougher, dean emeritus and professor emeritus of Mays Business School. Additionally, it will provide matching grants for two other eminent scholar chairs and five regular chairs.

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students

Several Mays faculty members have been named to the 11-member search committee charged with selecting Texas A&M’s new athletic director. Former Dean Benton Cocanougher — who was named a special assistant to President Robert Gates — is serving as chair of the committee.

Joining him are Dr. James Flagg, associate accounting professor and chair of the Texas A&M University Athletic Council and Dr. Robert Strawser, who holds the Andersen Chair in Accounting and serves as Faculty Senate speaker.

In addition, the school’s namesake Lowry Mays ’57, CEO of Clear Channel Communications, and benefactor Jerry Cox ’72, CEO of Cox & Perkins Exploration, are also serving on the search committee.

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Texas A&M

Former Dean Benton Cocanougher has recently been named special assistant to Texas A&M’s new president, Robert M. Gates.

Cocanougher, dean emeritus of the college and Wiley Professor, will help build and maintain communications with external constituencies of the university. He will also provide advice on priority issues and undertake special projects and studies as requested by President Gates.

Categories: Texas A&M

More than 650 students and parents had the opportunity to meet Mays College administrators at the Business Student Council’s “Breakfast with the Deans.” Held in the Wehner Building during Parents’ Weekend, the event provided an opportunity for the council to welcome parents to the Mays College.

“We targeted the event to parents of freshman and sophomore business students, although it was open to everyone,” said council president Scott Ramsower, a junior finance major. “It’s a good way to communicate with parents and make them aware of what’s going on within the college.”

In years past, the Business Student Council sponsored similar events but Ramsower said the group opted to involve administrators and faculty members this year to give parents a first-hand opportunity to meet them. The program line up included Dean Benton Cocanougher, Ben Welch, director of the Center for Executive Development, and management professor Don Hellriegel, who discussed the approved Wehner Building expansion.

“Overall, I think it was a great success,” Ramsower said. “For next year, however, we would like to think of new ways to accommodate growth and offer more insight into the college and its facilities by providing tours and additional information.”

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Students

Recent Awards Include:

Dean Emeritus status granted by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents

Diversity Award presented by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Associate Provost and Dean of Faculties

Eagle Award presented by Private Enterprise Research Center

Award presented by the Business Student Council during Parent’s Weekend

Framed emeritus status plaque, a resolution and crystal bookends by the Academic Program Council and a crystal nameplate presented at a university-wide reception

Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award for Administration

Resolution presented by the Texas A&M Foundation

Framed rendering of the Special Events Center named in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Cocanougher (located in the approved Wehner Building expansion) presented at a dinner honoring the Cocanoughers

Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories, Texas A&M

While the California energy crisis has sparked a great deal of discussion regarding deregulation, Texans can rest assured they will have energy for years to come. Thanks to visionaries like TXU Chairman and CEO Erle Nye ’59, a level playing field now exists in the energy industry, stimulating competition and growth.

Because of his key role in the deregulation of Texas public utilities and his ability to reposition TXU during a critical time, Nye was named the 2001 Conn Distinguished New Venture Leader by the college’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship. Funded by a gift from Carroll (C.W.) and Dorothy Conn, the award recognizes an outstanding business leader who has achieved extraordinary success through a business start up or in the transformation of an existing company. The first recipient was college namesake Lowry Mays, chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Communications, who received the award last year.

“Deregulation was not easy and competition is challenging as well,” Nye said during his recent lecture at the college. “During the transition from deregulation to competition, everything that was nailed down came loose — the change impacted every aspect of TXU. But we came through it well, because of the ability of our workforce to adapt to the new set of circumstances and because of our strong corporate culture.”

Nye has worked for TXU and its predecessor companies for his entire adult life. As chief financial officer, he presided over the mergers that formed TXU, including joining three Texas power companies with Enserch/Lone Star Gas in 1997. This merger expanded the company beyond electricity generation, transmission and distribution and into the natural gas business, making it one of the largest corporations in the industry. Today, TXU serves 11 million customers worldwide, with over $22 billion in yearly revenues.

“The Conn New Venture Leader Award recognizes recognizes people in large corporate settings who demonstrate the creativity and innovation needed to change the very face of business in this country,” explained Dean Benton Cocanougher. “The contributions of our first two recipients, Lowry Mays and Erle Nye, have made definite, lasting impressions both on their own companies and on their industries.”

Nye also plays a variety of roles in Texas higher education, including a current six-year appointment to the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. He also serves on the Texas A&M Foundation Advisory Committee and is a member of the Chancellor’s Century Council of Advisors.

Categories: Executive Speakers, Former Students, Texas A&M

The Mays College will have new leadership starting July 1, as Dr. Jerry R. Strawser, interim dean of the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, has been named Dr. Benton Cocanougher’s successor as dean. The appointment is pending final approval of the Texas A&M University System Chancellor.

The move to Texas A&M will be a return home of sorts for Strawser, who received three accounting degrees from the Mays College, including a BBA in 1983, a master’s of science in 1984 and a doctorate in 1985. In 1999, he accepted the position of interim dean at the University of Houston, where he is the Arthur Andersen and Co. Alumni Professor of Accountancy and Taxation. Before serving as interim dean, he served four years as the associate dean for academic and research programs. Strawser was on Louisiana State University faculty for five years before joining the University of Houston.

In making the announcement, A&M Executive Vice President and Provost Ronald G. Douglas said, “I have the utmost confidence in Dr. Strawser’s ability to provide the leadership required to continue the growth in quality programs of the Texas A&M University Lowry Mays College and Graduate School of Business.”

Be on the look out for more coverage of Strawser in upcoming issues of Mays Business Online.

Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories, Texas A&M

Three former students were recently honored at the Mays College’s annual Outstanding Alumni Awards. John T. Eubanks of Grapevine and Larry Levine and John V. McNevin, both of Houston, were chosen because of outstanding contributions in their professional careers and exemplary service to their communities, said Dean Benton Cocanougher.

Eubanks, who received a BBA in Accounting 1962, is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Mesco Metal Buildings, a manufacturer and builder of engineered metal building systems and components. Receiving his BBA in Management in 1971, Levine is president of Levcor, Inc., a full service real estate development company, and of Levtex Hotel Ventures, a developer of shopping centers and office buildings. McNevin received his BBA in 1973 and MBA in 1974 and is the founder and chairman of EnFORM Technology, a high-tech consulting firm.

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students