In gratitude for the dedication and leadership of Mr. Bruce D. Upshaw, retired Sr. Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer and current member of the Merichem Board of Directors, Merichem Company endowed a scholarship in Accounting and Finance at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School. Mr. Upshaw has served Merichem since 1981 and graduated from Texas A&M University in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration – Finance.

“Leaders like Bruce are the reason why Merichem has delivered innovative solutions to customers for over three-quarters of a century. Our vision is scholarships like this one will enable more business leaders to rise up and I couldn’t think of a better place than Mays Business School for Bruce to select as the place to direct this investment,” shared Kendra Lee, Merichem Company Chairman & CEO.

Upshaw joined Merichem in 1981 after filling a variety of accounting and supervisory positions over eleven years with Shell Oil Company. He began his Merichem career as Accounting Manager, became Controller in 1985, and was elected Treasurer of Merichem Company in 1995.

In 1997 Upshaw was elected CFO of Merisol USA, the Texas Operating Company of Merisol, a Merichem-Sasol Joint Venture. In 1999 he rejoined Merichem and became CFO in 2002. Upshaw has served on Merichem’s board of directors since 2006.

“I was blessed to join an amazing organization and work with wonderful people in my career,” shared Bruce Upshaw. “I’m thrilled Merichem has this program in place and we, together, contribute to fostering the next generation of leaders.”

Bruce demonstrates his continuing passion for Texas A&M through support for The Texas A&M Foundation, The 12th Man Foundation, The Association of Former Students, the Aggie Band, Parson’s Mounted Cavalry and the Yell Leaders.

“The faculty and students at Mays Business School are grateful for the generosity of Merichem Company and Bruce Upshaw,” shared Eli Jones, Dean of Mays Business School. “Scholarships allow students an opportunity to experience all that Texas A&M has to offer and to fulfill our vision at Mays to advance the world’s prosperity. We are developing transformational leaders and support from individuals and organizations are how we raise up equipped and experienced talent.”

The Bruce D. Upshaw ’70 Endowed Scholarship in Accounting and Finance was established at Texas A&M University on August 21, 2020 for the benefit of Mays School of Business. Merichem Company of Houston, Texas provided the gift funds and the endowment honors Mr. Upshaw of Hays County, Texas.

About Merichem Company

Founded in 1945, Merichem Company serves the global oil and gas and petrochemical industries as a leader in full-service sulfur removal, caustic treating and spent caustic treatment technologies. Merichem also provides safe and reliable spent caustic handling services through beneficial reuse and recycling of spent caustics, turning would-be waste into valuable and viable commodities.

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Dean Eli Jones, Donors Corner, Finance, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Thanks to the generous support of the Texas Bankers Association, Dwight Garey ’67 has been named the Texas Bankers Foundation Executive Professorship in Commercial Banking at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School. Garey has led the Commercial Banking Program since 2016 and this endowed award speaks to the difference Garey brings to the Department of Finance within Mays.

Garey’s career in banking and financial services spans more than 40 years, with 27 years of his banking career in correspondent banking at First City Bank-Houston, and Amegy Bank in Houston. He managed Amegy Bank’s Correspondent Banking department from 2006 to 2016, a regional line of business for a three-state region. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in finance, then earned an MBA from the University of Houston Clear Lake.

He is also a graduate of the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University, where he was a director of the Alumni Board of Directors and was president of the Alumni Board 2012-2015.

“I am truly pleased with the appointment of Dwight to this important endowed professorship at Mays,” shared Eli Jones, dean of Mays Business School. “This appointment, which I supported along with others in Mays Business School and the highest level of administration at Texas A&M, reflects Dwight’s continuing contributions that are bringing distinction to the Department of Finance and Mays Business School. Endowed professorships are a priority at Mays, established as part of our grassroots strategic planning process which began in 2016. Through these professorships, we are able to recruit and retain individuals who will advance the world’s prosperity, our vision at Mays.”

“We’re fortunate to have Dwight represent the Texas Bankers Association in this endowed professorship and know that it will be a resource within the Commercial Banking Program for developing transformational leaders, part of our mission at Mays,” shared Sorin Sorescu, Interim Executive Associate Dean at Mays Business School. “Banking is a relationship-driven business, and our college is thankful for the generous support the TBA has established to help us educate the next generation of bankers. All of us at Mays know that Dwight will continue performing in this high honor in order to serve our students and equip them to enter the banking industry fully prepared to bring the necessary hard and soft skills, along with the Aggie Core Values, every day.”

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About Texas Bankers Association

Founded in 1885, the Texas Bankers Association is a member-centric state organization based in Austin whose members represent the voice of the banking industry within the state and national halls of Austin and Washington, D.C. In addition, its members participate in discussions around financial and economic roundtables where community leaders ponder safety and soundness issues confronting the state and national economics.

About the Commercial Banking Program

The Commercial Banking Program at Mays is designed to equip students with the banking and finance skills needed for a career in banking. The program prepares students to serve the personnel needs of banking organizations in Texas and the United States. The students in the program establish relationships with banking professionals, and other students, who serve them throughout their banking careers, and develop the financial skills critical to success when beginning careers with a commercial bank.

The Commercial Banking Program allows students to learn industry skills and terminologies within a focused curriculum and provides experiences that are not otherwise available to finance majors.

About Mays Business School

At Mays Business School, we strive to advance the world’s prosperity. Our mission is to be a vibrant learning organization that creates impactful knowledge and develops transformational leaders. Mays Business School educates more than 6,300 undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing, and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its programs and for faculty research.

For more information, visit mays.tamu.edu.

Categories: Dean Eli Jones, Departments, Donors Corner, Faculty, Finance, Mays Business, News, Programs, Texas A&M

Over the past few weeks, our world was upended by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and communities of every size began to grapple with a “new normal”. Businesses, governments, and families are scrambling to find creative ways to interact with their customers, constituents, and peers. Along with the health crisis, we’ve seen our retirement accounts plummet, friends lose jobs, and experienced an unprecedented level of uncertainty. While many of us are asking questions about how we can help others in our communities, there have been beacons of hope in the form of a global philanthropic response. The spectrum has ranged from billionaires stepping up with massive financial commitments to people singing from their balconies. Across this entire spectrum, the heart of generosity and philanthropy is shining through.

Philanthropy, at its core, is about the love of mankind. It’s looking out for the person next to you in times of trouble. It’s caring for the vulnerable when others disregard their wellbeing. It’s moving towards those that are on the margins. It’s loving people. As we grapple with the reality of a global pandemic, I am confident we’ll continue to see boundless and sacrificial generosity. If you are sitting there thinking that philanthropy is bound to the ultra-wealthy, you are wrong. Philanthropy right now is as simple as walking next door to check on your neighbor (standing 6 feet apart of course!). So, here are some tips for you to be philanthropic and generous with your time, treasure, and talent amidst the uncertainty of -19.

  1. Be honest about your own needs. Asking for help is one of the hardest things to do because it requires a significant level of vulnerability. There is no shame in needing help or requiring assistance though. Before looking outward, take a moment to assess your, or your family’s, situation. Do not hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or your local nonprofit sector for assistance.
  2. Be honest about your capacity for financial generosity. Maybe you are someone that has been consistently generous with what you have. Maybe you are just now getting started in your journey towards generosity. Either way, now is the time to act. Consider making a financial gift to your local community foundation or relief fund. If you can’t find anything similar to that, then giving to your local food bank or health clinic will go a long way in helping alleviate some of the immediate burden our communities are facing.
  3. Be purposeful with the “small things”. Share stories of others that are uplifting people in their communities. Write encouraging notes to nursing home residents. Call friends that work in healthcare and are risking their lives every day. Check on your neighbors. There are numerous “small acts” that make a difference.
  4. Be hopeful. There is no doubt that this is going to hurt for a period of time, but we will get through this. I am hopeful that through trial and tragedy, our relationships, families, and communities will emerge stronger.

Generosity and compassion are critical to a thriving and healthy society. Our response will resonate through generations as people look back and see that in the middle of uncertainty, we were active in how we loved the people in our communities.

Categories: Donors Corner, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Mays Business, Programs, Selfless service, Spotlights, Staff, Strategic Philanthropy, Texas A&M

Reynolds and Reynolds’ commitment to developing meaningful relationships with Mays Business School students and faculty and its significant philanthropic support resulted in the corporation’s selection as Mays Business School’s 2019 Partner of the Year. This dynamic partnership was highlighted during Reynolds and Reynolds Day at Mays Business School on April 5.

The day’s events included a Top-to-Top meeting between Reynolds and Reynolds executives and Mays’ leaders to discuss industry trends and Mays’ current and future initiatives. Following a recognition ceremony, company executives participated in a meeting with students and faculty from the Reynolds and Reynolds Sales Leadership Institute.

Investing significant time, funds in Mays

The company’s relationship with Mays began with Reynolds and Reynolds employees’ increasing involvement with Mays students and faculty. During the ensuing years, Reynolds and Reynolds financial support for Mays programs has grown. “They’ve made a big impact in a short period of time,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones. “The investments that Reynolds and Reynolds have made have been significant. But it’s more than the money. We have great relationships with these folks. They are partners and have given generously of their time, talent, and treasure.”

The company established a $2 million endowment to support Reynolds and Reynolds Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans and committed $1 million to create the ReyRey Café in the planned new Business Education Complex. More recently, the company dedicated a $4 million endowment for the Reynolds and Reynolds Sales Leadership Institute, an interdisciplinary program that will teach Texas A&M students university-wide about the importance of sales and leading edge sales strategies and technology.

Industry leader

Reynolds and Reynolds is a software and technology company serving automotive dealerships and car manufacturers. While the company might not be a well-recognized name in most U.S. households, consumers are impacted by the company’s products and services every time they visit a car dealership. Reynolds is a leader in helping dealerships streamline operations and improve customer satisfaction through its products and services. In business, the community, and in their own company, Reynolds and Reynolds is well known for their strong commitment to building relationships and supporting their employees through innovative professional development programs.

That commitment makes Reynolds and Reynolds’ partnership with Mays Business School a natural fit. “We talk about networking a lot. It’s a fine word but it can be superficial,” said Senior Vice President for Corporate Development Robert Burnett ’87. “What’s real is relationships. I believe that we’re here today as Partner of the Year because of the relationships we’ve built with Mays.”

A commitment to military veterans

One of the deepest relationships is with the Reynolds and Reynolds Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans. “We love the military. We’re led by ex-military and that’s our company culture,” Burnett said. “Dean Jones brought this program to our attention and it was a no-brainer for us to become a partner. It’s been a wonderful experience.”

This unique bootcamp, which is part of Mays’ McFerrin Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, offers cutting-edge experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans who have service-connected disabilities and a passion for entrepreneurship. Veterans are able to take part in the program at no charge.

Reynolds and Reynolds employees regularly volunteer as speakers, panel participants and mentors at the summer bootcamp. Additionally, the company’s philanthropic contributions are funding the program’s growth. “Reynolds and Reynolds’ support is allowing us to expand the number of veterans that we are able to work with in this program,” said LauraLee Hughes, the McFerrin Center’s assistant director of new ventures. “The other big constraint we’ve had is space. Thanks to this funding, we’re able to expand to other facilities and increase the types of activities that we’re able to do with veterans while they are on campus.”

Enhancing knowledge of sales

Reynolds and Reynolds, endowed the recently announced Reynolds and Reynolds Sales Leadership Institute. “One of the things students need to know is sales. You’re always going to be selling something,” said Senior Vice President for Hardware Operations David Shimek ’86. “That’s one of the things that the institute will be teaching – how to present yourself and how to sell yourself, whether you’re selling a product or yourself. That’s going to be important as students go forward.”

Ultimately, Reynolds and Reynolds’ partnership with Mays is devoted to building relationships that will help students succeed both in college and after they graduate. “Reynolds and Reynolds employees from College Station, Houston, and Dayton are on our campus every semester conducting more than 300 individual role plays with students,” said Janet Parish, the director of the Reynolds and Reynolds Sales Leadership Institute. “The time invested by the recruiting team and the sales force who really help to train our students by is a huge benefit that Reynolds and Reynolds brings.”

Categories: Alumni, Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, Dean Eli Jones, Donors Corner, Entrepreneurship, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Texas A&M

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