Houston businessman John Vanderhider ’81 is helping future generations of Aggies come to Texas A&M. Vanderhider credits his education at A&M — a bachelor’s in accounting — with proactively influencing the start of his career, and he wants others to enjoy a similar experience.
He is a partner at Opportune, an energy consulting firm founded in 2005 by classmate David Baggett ’81 and named the fourth fastest-growing Aggie-owned or -operated business last year in the Aggie 100 program.
Vanderhider said the reputation of Texas A&M and of Mays Business School in particular, prompted him to donate $70,000 toward an endowed scholarship fund for full-time students enrolled in the Business Honors Program at Mays. He also provided $12,500 toward the Mays MBA Advisory Board Fellowship.
“I really have always admired the moral integrity and values of Texas A&M,” he said. “I think it’s an outstanding institution, and my loyalties run deep. ”
“Vanderhider’s commitment will enhance the Mays experience for many,” said Dean Jerry Strawser. “John’s generous support of both our Business Honors Program and MBA program will provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students. His generosity will have a significant impact as we continue to move our programs forward among the very best.”
Vanderhider, a CPA, is in charge of the corporate finance group for Opportune, a Houston-based energy consulting firm with satellite offices in Denver and London, employing about 150 consultants.
He brings to the table 26 years of experience managing mergers and acquisitions, including nine years as a senior executive in industry. Prior to joining Opportune, he was CEO of The Dorato Group, a transactional service firm focused on providing M&A-related due diligence and strategic consulting to assist in capital sourcing.
Vanderhider frequently visits Bryan and College Station to attend business functions but he expects another lure to attract him – he is ramping up his campaign to introduce his 16-year-old son to the virtues of his alma mater. He expects to bring him to several baseball games this spring.
“But even if my son doesn’t go to A&M, I admire the school and will always stay connected,” he said.