Peter and Lisa Currie, of Houston, have always cared deeply about the impact of business education and the twin practices of teaching and research. That’s why they established a $1 million endowment for faculty 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.

“Faculty are the lifeblood of any university, but particularly the business school,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “The Curries’ vision and gift will allow us to recruit and retain the very best faculty. Their extraordinary generosity will have a tremendous impact on the quality of education and lives of our students for many years to come.”

Mays is nationally ranked among public business schools for the quality of its undergraduate and MBA programs and the faculty scholarship of its 120 tenure-track professors in five departments.

“We firmly believe that Dean Strawser knows exactly where he’s trying to grow the business school, and we want to help wherever we can,” says Peter Currie, a recent addition to the Dean’s Development Council. “With our gift, we can attract one more strong candidate professor who lives by the same creed that we all live by as Texas A&M graduates.”

Currie, a 1985 Texas A&M BBA management graduate, is an investments manager for petroleum engineering firm Huddleston & Co, Inc.; a managing member of CIMA ENERGY LLC, an investor and director in Encomia Software, Inc., and a director of Houston’s 2-year-old Patriot Bank, now in the top 1 percent in the nation for growth as it becomes a $500 million+ bank.

His wife Lisa, a former 400-meter track record holder and Texas A&M track team member, taught 7th grade Texas history and coached middle school track, basketball and volleyball before turning her attention full time to raising the couple’s three children: Texas A&M business student Mitchell Currie ’10, and potential Aggies Jordan Currie and Joshua Hood. Lisa has chaired committees for and been involved with numerous nonprofit organizations, youth athletics and school booster clubs.

Categories: Donors Corner

David B. Wolf ’52 counts his grandchildren and an entire generation of up-and-coming bright students as potential Texas A&M Aggies who will go on to influence world and business events. That’s why he and his wife Harriet decided to commit $300,000 to scholarship funds to help attract the brightest students to the school the couple loves.

The Wolfs have given $100,000 to endow the Harriet and David B. Wolf ’52 Scholarship for students at Mays Business School. The fund will establish one or more scholarships for full-time business students in good standing. The Wolfs are also funding a Corps of Cadets scholarship with an additional $100,000 endowment, and a scholarship for athletes via the $100,000 Harriet and David Wolf ’52 Endowed Legacy Scholarship at the 12th Man Foundation.

“It’s only right that we get some of those students right out of high school and convince them to come to A&M,” David Wolf says. “I’d especially like for them to come to A&M and find whatever it is in business that makes the world go round, so they can keep it going round the right way.”

Wolf earned a BBA in insurance from Texas A&M in 1952, and spent two years in the U.S. Army, landing in Korea just as the conflict came to a close. He returned to San Antonio to work with his father’s insurance agency, spending his career as an agent selling property, life and auto insurance. He recently retired from San Antonio’s Eichlitz, Dennis, Wray & Westheimer Agency.

The former Aggieland yearbook sports editor met future bride Harriet while stationed in Ft. Benning, Georgia, and they were married in 1954. The couple has three children, including Aggie graduates Allan ’79 and Linda ’83, and University of Texas-San Antonio graduate Carol. The Wolfs’ three grandchildren hope to be Aggies, David Wolf says.

A Class of ’52 agent and past president of the San Antonio A&M Club, Wolf attended the first hometown Muster held in San Antonio’s Aggie Park, still one of the only hometown-owned Aggie gathering places. He has also long been active in industry, serving as president of the Independent Insurance Agents of San Antonio and on the board for the statewide independent insurance agent association.

Categories: Donors Corner

The ways people can donate scholarships to Texas A&M University are countless. So why did Anne B. ’84 and David S. Andras ’85 choose to give to Mays Business School? “It just seemed like the right place for us to give,” David Andras says.

This fall, the Andras family gave $25,000 to Mays to support students as they pursue their careers in business. The Anne B. ’84 and David S. Andras ’85 Endowed Scholarship will support Texas residents pursuing a degree in finance and will target students with financial need.

David Andras graduated with a BBA in finance and worked for Enterprise Products as gas trader for 12 years before entering the custom homes industry as a builder. After five years as a builder, he worked in the real estate development industry and is now self-employed. Anne Andras also graduated with a BBA in finance, and has worked as a homemaker raising the couple’s two children.

The couple now lives in Houston. Their daughter Cody is a senior at Elon University in North Carolina, and son Hunter will be a freshman at Texas Tech University this fall.

Categories: Donors Corner

Jerry StrawserTexas A&M University Interim President Eddie J. Davis tapped Mays Dean Jerry Strawser last month to fill one of the university’s top posts as the chief operating officer and chief academic officer. Strawser will serve as Texas A&M’s interim provost and executive vice president, starting work June 18.

He’s taking on a vital guiding role as Texas A&M faces a leadership transition, with interim positions at the president and provost levels and soon also in the vice provost’s chair. His departure for main campus leaves an interim dean slot at Mays as well, which will be filled by current Executive Associate Dean Ricky W. Griffin. Griffin, who has been on faculty at Texas A&M since 1981, has served as dean over research and doctoral programs under Strawser.

As interim provost, Strawser will work with Davis and other administrators to find a replacement for Bill Perry, the vice provost who is leaving Texas A&M this month to serve as president of Eastern Illinois University. David B. Prior, the current provost, is leaving Texas A&M to become the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University of Texas System.

ricky.jpgA new permanent university president will be named before the search turns to fill the role Strawser has stepped into. Davis is serving as interim president while a 15-member search committee that includes five Mays former students works to name a successor to now-Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, who left for Washington, D.C., in December after four years as the university’s top chief. The committee could nominate a candidate for president as early as September.

Strawser has been Mays’ dean since 2001. He has fostered a culture that promotes diversity and inclusion, leading a team that has assessed and implemented improvements in the way MBA and undergraduate education is delivered. He also helped raise more than $40 million for named chairs, professorships, scholarships and faculty and graduate student fellowships. See Strawser’s farewell note in this month’s special deanspeak.

Incoming Interim Dean Griffin was editor of the Journal of Management, best known for publishing more than half of the most-cited articles in the journal’s history in just a three-year period. A lauded researcher and professor, Griffin’s management textbooks are now in use in classrooms around the world. And his research interests may naturally align with his new administrative role: he is a scholar of employee health and well-being in the workplace and workplace culture.

Categories: Faculty

Chesney accepts the prestigious Brown-Rudder Outstanding Student Award from Interim University President Eddie J. Davis during May commencement ceremonies
Professional Program graduate Rebecca Chesney of Weatherford, who will head to the Financial Accounting Standards Board in July on a technical assistantship, earned the Brown Foundation-Earl Rudder Memorial Outstanding Student Award at spring commencement. That’s the highest honor bestowed on a graduating senior at Texas A&M.

Chesney earned her master’s in finance and BBA in accounting during May 11 ceremonies. She led the diversity team in student government, and spent a spring 2006 internship at PricewaterhouseCooper’s New York office, completing the confirmation process for 80 JPMorgan funds.

The Brown-Rudder award honors top students who exemplify leadership, and is presented to two A&M graduates each May. Chesney’s honor makes her the third Mays student in as many years to earn the distinction: in 2005, Professional Program graduate Matt Josefy was honored, and in 2006, Mays Fellow and management major Caitlin Callaham took the award with her as she graduated.

— Staff Reports

Categories: Students

ShankarMarketing Professor and Brandon C. Coleman, Jr. ’78 Chair in Marketing Venkatesh Shankar is advising two more scholarly groups after a round of appointments this spring.

He was appointed in April as a Sloan Industry Studies Affiliate, joining a scholar community focused on data and observations of the companies and people in different industries. The affiliates share ideas across disciplines in annual meetings, workshops and online listservs.

Shankar will also become a Marketing Science Institute academic trustee beginning this summer. Trustees are advisors for the institute’s research efforts and academic liaisons to the business side of the institute. This makes Shankar the youngest, in terms of years since earning his PhD, trustee at the Marketing Science Institute.

— Staff Reports

Categories: Faculty

The values of your corporate culture will always determine your performance success no matter what industry or field you’re in, Mustang Engineering co-founder Paul Redmon told Mays faculty and students gathered in late April. It’s that philosophy that helped his oil and gas engineering services firm grow over the past 20 years from a $15,000 startup with 35 employees to a $500 million grossing firm with 3,600 Mustangers worldwide.

And it’s that vision and drive that earned Redmon the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship’s Conn Family Entrepreneurial Leadership Award, which he accepted in late April during a management class. He told students that how you instill people-oriented values and encourage servant leadership will always impact the bottom line. Such philosophy has made Mustang one of the fastest growing—and the 5th largest—energy services engineering firms in the nation.

“When our focus is on giving and helping others, we are energized,” Redmon said. “This is the heart and soul of servant leadership. There is no tangible way to evaluate it, we can’t do a cost-benefit analysis here, but when you get your culture right people will be passionate. The results will be performance and profit.”

Redmon, a 1976 magna cum laude Aggie civil engineering graduate, founded Mustang with partners Bill Higgs and Felix Covington in 1987. By 1989, Mustang was already known for its quality of life and engagement with workers; that’s the year the Greater Houston Chamber of Commerce recognized the firm with an Innovate Houston award for people. It continued to put people first as it was growing—making the Houston 100 list of the fastest-growing companies four years in a row by 1993.

Mustang’s commitment to employees goes above and beyond the two dozen family and service events the company sponsors each year. Its founders were among the first in the business to share ownership with employees, giving 30 percent of the company to its people in employee stock options.

People may get values and a sense of belonging from family, school or religion—but they all go to work, Redmon said. And that’s where the personality or soul of the company, established by its leaders, becomes a touch point for impacting employees above and beyond the workplace.

That, Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship Director Richard Scruggs told students, is the lesson they should take home with them.

“Paul Redmon just said it best: Everyone works somewhere,” Scruggs said. “You are the future leaders of business and it’s your chance, if you take it, to shape the values and shape the culture of your employees, your country and your company.”

The Conn Family Entrepreneurial Leadership Award, established in 2000, is named after the former president and chair of Conn Appliances, Inc., Carroll Conn, Jr., and his wife Dorothy. The award honors those entrepreneurs who have the courage and the vision to launch companies that make a lasting impact on their communities and among their employees.

— Staff Reports

Categories: Executive Speakers

Jerry Bala

A week before finals, 20 MBA students gathered to discuss business plans and life skills with inmates set to be released on parole from the Hamilton Unit in Bryan, Texas. Dean Jerry Strawser and Associate Dean Bala Shetty joined the MBAs as part of the pioneering Prison Entrepreneurship Program at the end of April, sitting in on one-on-one advising sessions that centered around how to get business and life up and running after prison.

Strawser’s take? “It’s one of the best things like this I’ve experienced.”

Categories: Students

James Leigh
Associate Professor of Marketing James H. Leigh earned the best paper award from the Journal of Advertising for 2006 for a paper on the recall and recognition measures of print ads.

His spring 2006 article examines how mental and emotional aspects of ads trigger viewers of advertising to either recall (retaining more detail) or recognize (with prompting) ad characteristics such as brand or product later on. The article, titled “Dimensional Relationships of Recall and Recognition Measures with Selected Cognitive and Affective Aspects of Print Ads,” was co-written by George M. Zinkhan and Vanitha Swaminathan.

Basic findings conclude that if a print ad’s content is meaningful to an audience, the ad details are more likely to stick in an individual’s subconscious and be recalled with prompts later on.

But if the ad’s strongest suit is its judged attractiveness—such as ads that feature fuzzy animals versus those that focus on a sinus cavity—individuals aren’t as likely later on to recall details and factual information. They are more able, it turns out, to simply recognize the brand name or product from the attractive ad.

Leigh’s primary research interests are in advertising measurement and assessment, consumer behavior, marketing research, and public policy. He has been on faculty at Texas A&M since 1981.

—Sommer Hamilton

Categories: Faculty

Canned Food
Marketing master’s students and the food they donated, from left to right: Hye-jin Kim, Maryann Overby, Sonja Schultheiss, Kari Kelley, Elaine Dausy, Heather Littell, Danny Medina, and Hollie Chachere.

Marketing master’s students took more than 1,000 cans and packages of food, weighing a grand total of 534 pounds, to the Brazos County Food Bank in April. The master’s students won an internal departmental contest between students and marketing faculty.

Marketing Graduate Advisor and Professor Stephen McDaniel reports the food donation is larger than the food bank gets from most sororities. “I’ve never been prouder,” he says.

—Staff Reports

Categories: Students