There is great power in investing in another person, keynote speaker Robert E. Jordan ’85 told a crowd of about 700 people attending the 2015 Mays Business School Scholarship Banquet.

“It doesn’t have to be thousands of dollars, it can just be encouragement and caring,” he said. “Oftentimes, the best gift is yourself and your time.”

Robert JordanDonors and recipients, along with Mays faculty and staff members, got to know one another over dinner at the Hall of Champions at Kyle Field.

Jordan urged the crowd to take 15 seconds to think of someone who has had a big impact on their lives over the years. “Now take one minute to share that person with those at your tables,” he said. Laughter and stories rippled through the crowd. “I’m sure you felt gratitude, appreciation and warmth for that person. Remember that feeling, and help make others feel that way.”

Jordan, who is executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Southwest Airlines, spoke of the importance of giving back. He received a bachelor’s degree in computer science and an MBA at Texas A&M University. His wife worked full-time throughout school to support the family, and he received a fellowship that helped support his graduate studies. “I was there because someone I barely knew had decided to do something really generous and help me out,” he said.  “As you leave here and become myopic about work, never lose sight of the greater goals of life.”

Dean Eli Jones introduced and thanked Jordan, who funded a scholarship with his wife Kelly P. Jordan ’86. Jones expressed appreciation to all the donors present. He said during 2014, more than 1,700 scholarships from individual and corporate contributions were awarded to Mays students. “I don’t have to tell you that tuition is expensive, and scholarships help the students directly in this area,” Jones said. “But alumni giving is also a key indicator used to measure the quality of students, faculty and other resources of a university. It is a significant portion of the U.S. News & World Report overall ranking, and the support of our donors helps propel Texas A&M in the national rankings.”

Jones also introduced Layeeka Ismail, a first-generation Aggie who is a business honors and accounting student in the Professional Program, a five-year program that leads to a bachelor’s in accounting and a master’s in a business major.Layeeka Ismael

Ismail said the support of others has helped her succeed at Texas A&M, where she has studied in Morocco, been involved in numerous student organizations and will intern with Deloitte in Houston. She is also on a team that will represent Mays at the BI Norwegian Business School International Case Competition. “Now that it is my senior year, I’m filled with nostalgia,” Ismail said. “Inside and outside the classroom, we’ve been so poured and invested into. Thank you for investing in us. You are fulfilling our dreams.”

Photographs from the banquet are available on the Mays Flickr account.