November, 2006 | Mays Impacts - Part 2

Though Charlotte and C. Fagg Sanford are among the only ones in their families who haven’t attended Texas A&M, they can’t deny their Aggie pride.

The Sanfords have committed an endowed fund of $100,000 to Mays. This gift creates the Wm. Hugh Meyer ’51 Learning Endowment—named in honor of Charlotte’s father—and will support faculty, students, facilities and technology at Mays.

Hugh Meyer was the captain of the Texas A&M football team, playing center in the late 40s and early 50s. “He was an absolutely committed, die-hard Aggie,” Fagg Sanford said, “and he was a very special man to both of us.”

As a former assistant professor of cardiology, Sanford knows the importance of education. He received his bachelor’s in chemistry from SMU, his medical degree from UT Southwestern and his post-grad from Washington University. He now oversees the business side of medicine with his cardiology practice in Tyler.

Charlotte Sanford, who has worked for the Baylor Medical Center and the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, now makes up part of the 96-member staff of her husband’s practice.

“The Sanfords’ most generous gift is a testimony to their love for Texas A&M,” said Dean Jerry Strawser. “While they did not attend Texas A&M, I do not know many more enthusiastic Aggies than they. Because of their generosity, generations of our future students will have the opportunity to receive a world-class education. They have made their mark on our school in a significant manner.”

The Sanfords have three children—Lauren ’07, Christopher and Cynthia—to grace their 23 years of marriage. It was Lauren, a Mays management major, who first introduced the Sanfords to Mays and to business school practices.

“We came to admire the program so much,” Fagg Sanford said. Before meeting Strawser and seeing what the program had to offer, Sanford admits he didn’t understand what a business school could offer. “It’s been a real eye-opening experience for us. This gift is our way of showing how very much we think of Mays and Dean Strawser.”


Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students

When Todd Routh ’86 was a finance student at Texas A&M University in the mid-80s, there wasn’t much support for students who wanted to hone their skills in national and international business case competitions.

Routh and his wife Stephanie ’93 intend to remedy that for future students with a $100,000 endowment for Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, creating the Stephanie ’93 and Todd Routh ’86 Endowed Case Competition Fund.

“It’s a good experience for those students to be able to travel, and it showcases A&M’s talents to other schools,” Routh says. “Our business school has been underrated, and it’s time our students had more funding and encouragement to show what a great school they come from and a great university.”

Case competitions typically pit business students in teams or pairs against a panel of industry judges to test a galaxy of business planning, new venture, finance, real estate and trading skills. In a spring 2006 new venture case competition at Rice, for instance, a team including a Mays MBA student took fifth—beating out teams from Duke and Harvard—for proving the commercial viability of their technology.

“Our students are increasingly active in traveling to competitions throughout the world,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “In addition to the skills they develop, participation in these competitions is increasingly important to companies recruiting our students. Because of the Routh’s generosity and vision, we will be in position to increase our participation and continue to provide this outstanding learning opportunity to our students.”

Routh, a 1986 finance graduate and Austin real estate developer, says his Texas A&M pedigree and business training have genuinely aided his development as a businessman. Routh worked as a financial manager before jumping at the chance to work for himself in investments, partnering with two others in 1992 to buy his first shopping center on credit. Today, his Routh Development Group and River Place Golf Group L.P. owns and operates three country clubs and 40 shopping centers in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Both businesses were recognized among the fastest-growing Aggie businesses in the 2006 Aggie 100 list: Routh Development came in rated 68th and River Place was 46th. Routh is also an organizer of the Texas Enterprise Bank in Bryan, Texas.

Stephanie Routh earned her Texas A&M degree in environmental design in 1993. She worked as a development director in several Texas cities, including the city of Taylor, where the couple first met over a development deal. Today, Stephanie assists River Place and Routh Development, but spends most of her days as a full-time mother to the couple’s two young children, with a third expected soon.

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students, Programs

In a third annual pilgrimage to Omaha to learn from investments superstar Warren E. Buffett this October, a group of 61 MBAs got the kind of praise any aspiring corporate leader could want.

In an Oct. 9 letter to Texas A&M President Robert M. Gates, Buffett explained that the Aggies he met this year outshone the “first class” students from the three dozen schools—including such greats as Harvard—that he entertains each year. “They were bright, inquisitive, polite and friendly. Texas A&M should be very proud of the quality of young people that it is attracting.”

The famed stock-picker and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway wasn’t the only one enthralled by the visit to the billionaire’s modest Omaha offices and favorite steak house. “No bodyguards, no chauffeurs, just him in his Lincoln and hours of conversations,” said MBA and trip organizer Kevin Venturini. “It was incredible.”

The MBAs also pooled together $1,500 to donate to Buffett’s favorite charity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Though Buffett later returned the gift with a note instructing the MBAs to donate it to a local Texas charity, Venturini said he was obviously pleased by the gift: “I don’t think other student groups thought to support his causes.”

In 2004, enterprising business student George Giannukos ’06 first contacted Buffett to arrange a trip for him and some friends interested in investing. Realizing how receptive Buffett was to talking with students, Giannukos and a group of undergraduates and MBAs in the Aggie Investment Club returned that fall. It was the first in what has become a traditional yearly pow-wow with the man who turned hundred-dollar stock owners in his tiny partnership in the 1950s into millionaires in less than a decade.

Each year since, crowds of Aggie finance students and MBAs have returned to Omaha to tour Berkshire Hathaway companies, spending an hour or so drilling the investment master on his practices and advice, and dining with him at his favorite steak house, Gorat’s. He always picks up the tab, students note.

A few select students each year get a memorable ride to the restaurant in Buffett’s Lincoln Town Car, the license plate adorned with a simple slogan that in part defines the man: “THRIFTY.”

As graduate Giannukos recalled in a column he wrote in early 2005, “If I become just one-tenth of what Mr. Buffett has accomplished and become, while maintaining his social responsibility and sense of justice and fairness, then I think I’ll do just fine. My lesson: Surround yourself with people you trust, and follow your instincts, but only if you know what you’re betting on.”

Categories: Programs, Students