In a mid-year note to the Texas A&M community, President Robert M. Gates outlines university initiatives and updates progress on everything from the One Spirit One Vision Campaign to construction plans and faculty reinvestment.

Among the key changes discussed are a requested 6 percent tuition increase and $99 energy fee for each student to cover a  $32.3 million budget shortfall for FY 2007. Find out more at

Categories: Texas A&M

Marketing Professor Jeffrey Conant will become head of the Department of Marketing this August, assuming an expansive role held by Distinguished Professor Rajan Varadarajan for a decade.

Conant, one of the most frequent contributors to the literature on the scholarship of teaching and learning in marketing, is also a Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence and Eppright University Professor in Undergraduate Teaching Excellence.

“We look forward to having Jeff as part of our leadership team at Mays,” says Dean Jerry Strawser. “We will draw upon his energy, enthusiasm and vision to continue to enhance the research, teaching and outreach activities of the Department of Marketing.”

Conant first joined Mays’ marketing faculty in 1986.

He is well known for his work on marketing strategy and research that delves into the elements of effective teaching, work he first started with colleagues in 1988 to provide insights into how marketing’s top teachers practice their craft. He has received more than a dozen awards for teaching at both the undergraduate and master’s levels, where he is an MBA core faculty member and PhD seminar leader.

Conant is also a noted scholar, receiving the Journal of Marketing Education‘s Outstanding Article of the Year Award three times. In 1994, he received the ultimate Aggie student-appreciation honor when a Texas A&M Fish Camp was named Camp Conant in his honor.

“The marketing department at Texas A&M has a rich history and a bright and exciting future,” Conant said. “Our faculty and staff have a shared commitment to excellence.”

Thirty-year veteran professor Varadarajan, the Ford Chair in Marketing and E-Commerce, has led a growing department of marketing researchers since 1996. Varadarajan led Mays in hosting the Academy of Marketing Science’s faculty consortium in 2001 and doctoral consortium in 2004, signature events that showcased marketing resources at Mays and brought the top faculty and brightest doctoral candidates to Texas A&M’s doorstep.

“Serving as department head for the past 10 years has been a professional and personal growth experience for me,” Varadarajan says, pointing to opportunities to develop marketing faculty and help outline the academic direction of the discipline through revisions in course and teaching emphasis.

Varadarajan, known affectionately as “Dr. Rajan” in the halls of Mays, will continue his voluminous research and teaching activities in marketing. The former editor of both the Journal of Marketing and theJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science first joined Mays from the State University of New York in 1981.

Categories: Departments, Faculty

Mays ranks first in the nation when it comes to placing MBA candidates after graduation, according to the London-based Financial Times‘ annual rankings of the top 100 business schools on the globe. With 97 percent of MBAs at work within three months of earning their degrees, Mays is tied for first place in the U.S. and comes in tied for third place worldwide.

In other indicators key to MBA program value, Mays came in second among all schools in the U.S. for value-for-money.

Overall, Mays is ranked 85th in the world in the 2006 Financial Times survey, up from 88th in 2005. That puts Mays at 54th among all U.S. programs, also an increase from 55th place last year.

The MBA curriculum emphasizes core business principles along with strategic thinking, business communications, teamwork, ethics, character and leadership.

“We are truly delighted with the continued success of our graduates in the market place,” says Associate Dean Bala Shetty. “Our focus on recruiting excellent students, providing them with many development opportunities and assigning outstanding faculty in Mays to teach them appears to be paying dividends.”

Categories: Programs

When G. Steven Dawson ’80 transferred to Texas A&M in 1978, he had no way of knowing he was on the verge of much more than a new and different college experience. That same year he met Deanna Farish ’80, another junior transfer student. He was majoring in accounting, she was majoring in marketing. They became friends, he briefly dated her roommate and, after a respectable period of time, he asked her out.

The couple who met as transfer students has since married, settled in Sugar Land and had four children. Now the Dawsons have embarked on yet another joint venture: pledging $300,000 for a fellowship. It will support the research, teaching, service and professional development of a faculty member in Mays’ real estate program.

“Texas A&M played an important role in shaping our lives, values and relationships,” Steve Dawson said. “We want to return the favor and believe that the One Spirit One Vision Campaign is an excellent opportunity to make a meaningful impact. We want to see Texas A&M and its real estate degree programs continue to rise in prominence and stature nationally.”

For 13 years, Steve Dawson served as chief financial officer of Houston-based Camden Property Trust, one of the largest multifamily housing companies in the United States. He is now a private investor who serves on the boards of directors of six public real estate investment trusts and is involved in private equity initiatives.

Deanna Dawson is a homemaker and community volunteer. Both she and Steve formerly served on the board of His Grace Foundation, which provides support for cancer patients and their families at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

The Dawsons’ oldest son, Tyler ’08, is a Texas A&M sophomore majoring in finance. Steve Dawson hopes Tyler will take away as much from the Aggie experience as he did: “It was one of the best times of my life and it has served me well.”

Categories: Departments, Donors Corner, Faculty