Originally published in Texas A&M Foundation

Over the last few decades, a familiar scene has emerged: A dozen or so undergraduates from the Mays Business Honors program sitting around a conference table, listening with rapt attention as Wayne Roberts ’85 shares some of the life lessons he’s gained over his 30-plus-year career in the technology industry.

A recognized leader in his field, Wayne has spoken to business honors students at Texas A&M on numerous occasions. “If there’s one nugget I can leave with students, one lesson learned or one insight that helps them, then it’s worth it,” he said. “I just want to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Coming back to campus to speak with current students is just one way Wayne and his wife Shannon ’86 give back to their alma mater. Recently, the Roberts served as lead donors for the men’s basketball team’s new student athlete center, now named in their honor. In 2014, the couple also established an endowed business honors scholarship for Mays undergrads. They’ve also contributed to the renovation of Kyle Field, the Bright Football Complex and the R.C. Slocum Nutrition Center. …Read more

Categories: Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, MBA, Selfless service, Students, Texas A&M

Originally published in Texas A&M Foundation

Inspired by his mother’s journey from a share-cropping farm in Georgia to running a business in Houston, Barnett “Barney” Gershen ’69 knew he could go anywhere in life if he put forth the effort. “When my mom Margie was 17, she took every penny she had and bought a one-way bus ticket to Houston for $18.50,” Barney said. “She wanted to escape the poor life she had lived in Georgia, and when she left, she knew she was never going back.”

Once she arrived in Houston, Margie found a job, rented a garage apartment and began building a better life for herself and her future family. She eventually met and married Louis Gershen, and the two started a family. Louis worked full-time selling cleaning chemicals while developing his business, XGI Janitor Services, named for his service in the United States Army.

…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

The two most common words heard when almost 900 people gathered for the 2018 Scholarship Banquet were “Thank you.” Every scholarship recipient at Mays attends the annual event, which was held in the Hall of Champions at Kyle Field. The donors got to spend time with those they are supporting, and the students got to update some of their biggest supporters on their activities and ambitions. Group photos at the end captured the memories.

Individual and corporate contributions for the fiscal year 2018 generated more than $5.7 million, which in turn provided more than 700 scholarships. These include undergraduate and graduate-level scholarships, fellowships, and tuition support. Donors support a total endowment of more than $22 million. …Read more

Categories: Alumni, Dean Eli Jones, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Former students and friends often express gratitude to their former professors with gifts in their honor to the Texas A&M Foundation. In recent years, several Mays faculty members have been honored through these types of gifts.

In Fall 2018, a group of former Business Senior Fellows surprised Executive Professor John Van Alstyne ’66 and his wife Anita with the establishment of the Mays Fellows Endowed Excellence Fund in the couple’s name. This endowment through the Texas A&M Foundation will support the Business Fellows program’s students, teaching, and professional development.

…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Departments, Donors Corner, Faculty, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Programs, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Ronnie Hale Sr. didn’t attend Texas A&M, but he was always an Aggie to the core. He put his four children through Texas A&M. Five of his grandchildren so far – with another on the way – are also Aggies.

Hundreds attended Hale’s funeral in March 2017, where Ronnie Hale Jr. recalled many memories and spoke of his father’s love for his wife of 58 years – Kay – and their children Ronnie Jr. ’82, Randy ’85, Richie ’88, and Kerri ’92.

To honor Ronnie Sr. after his death, his son and daughter-in-law Randall B. “Randy” and Tracy Hale are donating $250,000 toward renaming the Department of Accounting
for longtime department head Jim Benjamin.

The Benjamin campaign recently reached its goal of $10 million in commitments, and the Hale family wanted to help it come to fruition. …Read more

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Donors Corner, Mays Business, News, Selfless service, Spotlights, Texas A&M

Students in the Strategic Philanthropy class at Mays Business School awarded $62,500 to six local nonprofit organizations at a celebration on May 3. After researching local nonprofit organizations for the semester, students in the class awarded gifts ranging from $2,400 to $17,500.

That brings the total allocations since the class started in 2016 to $318,000.

Kyle Gammenthaler, lecturer and Coordinator of Social Impact Initiatives at Mays, described at the celebration in the Wehner Building the impact of the course on both the students and the nonprofit organizations. “Strategic Philanthropy provides students with an opportunity to experience generosity firsthand,” Gammenthaler said. “For many students, this is the beginning of a life filled with service and meaningful engagement with nonprofits in our communities and around the world.”

Bill Peel, the executive director of innovation and strategic planning at Mays, welcomed the audience gathered in the seminar classroom. “At Mays, our vision is to advance the world’s prosperity. Our students are challenged to innovate and impact the world around them,” he said. “This class has dedicated a whole semester to researching their community.  Now they will give back to their identified non-profit organizations with philanthropic investments. You will hear our students share their stories about how they engaged their local community and the impact of this transformative experience.”

The winners are…

This semester’s funding was provided by The VanLoh Family and The Philanthropy Lab. The recipients and their proposed projects were:

Northway Farms: $17,500 – Housing infrastructure
Health For All: $15,100 – Critical medical supplies
Save Our Streets Ministries:$13,500 – New vocational training work truck and vocational training program support
Mercy Project: $8,000 – Two social workers in Ghana
Still Creek Ranch $6,000 – TAGGED Program
Family Promise: $2,400 – Operational support
In her overview of the semester, finance senior Lydia Wallis said her overall impressions of the class were that everyone was excited to be there, and that the students considered the people operating the various organizations local heroes.

Wallis said her journal entries reflected her feelings that the class was not just educational, it was a “beliefs stretch.” “It really matters if you surround yourself with people who care,” she said. “Don’t just live, live with purpose. Live with intentionality.”

She closed with her favorite quote, by J.R.R. Tolkien: ‘There is some good in the world, and it is worth fighting for.”

Learn more at the Strategic Philanthropy blog.

Categories: Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Selfless service, Students, Texas A&M

The Texas A&M Foundation recognized Cydney Donnell, executive professor of finance and director of real estate programs in Mays Business School, as the 2018 Partner in Philanthropy Faculty Award recipient for her continued efforts to support and fundraise for the Texas A&M University Master of Real Estate program. Donnell received the award at a reception on April 27.

Cydney Donnell

Cydney Donnell ’81, executive professor of finance and director of real estate programs, was named the 2018 recipient of the Texas A&M Foundation’s Partner in Philanthropy Faculty Award for her commitment and generosity to Mays Business School.

The Foundation established the Partner in Philanthropy Faculty Award in 2016 to celebrate faculty members who demonstrate dedicated and lasting participation, commitment and creative leadership to philanthropy and Texas A&M University. This accolade acknowledges faculty efforts to build long-term productive relationships between the university, former students and other private partners in philanthropy.

To be selected, faculty must be nominated by a member of the Texas A&M Foundation development staff. Brian Bishop ’91, Texas A&M Foundation assistant vice president for development for Mays Business School, nominated Donnell for the award.

“Cydney is such a treasured asset to Mays Business School,” said Bishop. “Not only is she a tremendous leader of our Master of Real Estate program, but she is also willing to step up and contribute significant financial support to the program for the betterment of our students’ education and the future of the program.”

…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Donors Corner, Faculty, Featured Stories, Finance, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

A group of high school juniors spent the past weekend attending “A Day at Mays” to learn more about their options as not only potential Mays Business School students, but also as prospective Texas A&M University students. Of a select group of students invited, 35 visited campus.

The overriding goal of the “A Day at Mays” program was to increase the number of students from under-represented groups who pursue degrees at Mays Business School. By doing so, Mays hopes to make a major contribution to the larger objective of ensuring a workplace that is not only diversified, but also staffed by highly skilled employees who are prepared to work in a global and multicultural environment.

Photo credit: Corey D. Stone ’13

The activities began on Friday, April 20, and extended through Saturday, April 21. A dinner on Friday provided the high school students to converse with other prospective students, family members, current students, and Mays faculty at the George Hotel in College Station. After dinner, prospective students paired up with current students in Business Student Council (BSC) and Multicultural Association of Business Students (MABS) and participated in a fun evening at Grand Central Station, where prospective students were able to build connections and ask questions about real “college” life at Texas A&M.

The next day, the students were able to take a walking tour of the Texas A&M campus and then moved to the Cocanougher Center to learn from Mays faculty and staff. Undergraduate recruiter Corey Stone shared with the students the application process for entrance into Texas A&M. He offered honest advice on earning college credit in high school and the requirements for the students to work for. “When in doubt, email me,” Stone said.

After Stone’s presentation, a panel of current PPA students shared their knowledge of their different track decisions and experiences on their internships. They described the opportunities given in public accounting and explained why they chose to do the PPA program, followed by a question-and-answer session for both parents and prospective students. Students were then given a brief overview of the PPA program by Casey Kyllonen, followed by brief overviews of the rest of the departments in Mays.

At the end of the day, prospective students attended an Opportunity Fair where students could ask questions about opportunities at Mays. This provided a convenient way for participants to learn one-on-one about their specific interests and options, after a packed weekend of group discussions and panels. 

The program was sponsored by the PPA program at Mays in conjunction with
PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Profession Program at Mays is an integrated program that allows participants to complete a bachelor’s of business administration in accounting and a master’s of science in one of five business disciplines in just five years.

– By Erin Cullers, PPA student

Categories: Accounting, Diversity and Inclusion, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, PPA, Students, Texas A&M

The Aggie Advertising Club recently received a donation of $3,200 from the Association of Former Students to help its advertising competition team attend the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition.

The advertising team operates each year as part of Lisa Troy’s MKTG 447 course. Functioning much like an advertising agency, students in the class spend two semesters conducting research, building a multi-million-dollar budgeted, fully integrated marketing campaign for the client brand, developing a professional 22-page campaign plan book, and presenting the campaign to industry judges.

This year’s team will present their campaign for Ocean Spray at the AAF District 10 Convention in Corpus Christi next week. Winners at the district level will advance to nationals in Chicago in June.

AFS Donation Check

Categories: Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

Jerry and Kay Cox

Longtime Mays Business School supporters Jerry ’72 and Kay Cox ’02 have been given the Peggy and Lowry Mays Impact Award.

Jerry Cox spoke at the Outstanding Alumni Dinner Thursday (April 5), and said he and his wife were “deeply honored and humbled” to receive the award and a crystal vase at the Outstanding Alumni Dinner on April 5. “We have been directly involved in this place for 23 years. It is now a part of us,” he said.

The award was created in 2017 to honor those who have had a distinguished impact on Mays while showcasing a mindset of giving and exuding strong leadership capabilities. The initial Impact Award honorees were the namesakes, Peggy and Lowry Mays.

Mays Dean Eli Jones said this year’s choice was an easy one. “This award is for people who have really put their imprint on Mays Business School, and these two set the bar for us,” he said. “They think of the kids first. They want them to have all the tools they need to succeed.”

This year’s recipients are Jerry ’72 and Kay Cox ’02, who have long supported Mays Business School with their resources and devotion of their time. One of the buildings within Mays Business School bears their name, in recognition of the donations they have made totaling more than $2 million. The pair has helped in other ways as well, with the creation of the Jerry and Kay Cox Endowed Chair at Mays and a scholarship fund set up for the Business Honors Program. They have been major donors behind several other enhancements at Texas A&M University, including the Cox-McFerrin Center for Aggie Basketball.

Jerry Cox equated their role at the business school to that of the equipment managers for the Houston Astros. “They take care of the bats, balls, gloves, shoes, and uniforms. They get to see these elite athletes up close night after night, and they get to know them better than just about anyone,” he said.  He said the Astros support team finally got a victory after 55 years. At Mays, he said he and his wife have gotten to see the school’s evolution to excellence “from the front-row seats.”

“We have so many rock stars on faculty and so many amazing students, it is a joy to be a part of it,” he said. “Between the leadership of the faculty and the quality of the students, we now have become world champions.”

Giving back to Texas A&M

Jerry Cox graduated from Texas A&M in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He then went on to receive a master’s degree in theological studies from Houston Baptist University and an honorary doctorate of laws from Pepperdine University. Kay Cox received her master’s degree in educational psychology from Texas A&M in 2002.

Serving as the president and chairman of independent oil and gas exploration and production company Cox & Perkins Exploration, Inc., Cox’s peers have nothing but praise for Cox as an adroit investor and businessman who operates with high integrity and honesty.

Cox is a member of the Hydril Company Board of Directors and the Pepperdine University Board of Regents. He has also served on boards and committees at Texas A&M, including the Texas A&M Foundation, the Dean’s Advisory Board at Mays Business School, and the Corps Development Council. He is a former director and president of the 12th Man Foundation and was the presiding chairman of the One Spirit One Vision campaign. He was inducted into the Corps Hall of Honor in 2009 and has been honored as a Distinguished Alumnus by both Mays Business School and The Association of Former Students.

 

Categories: Alumni, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Finance, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Selfless service, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M