In 1998, the Texas A&M Foundation Board of Trustees established the Sterling C. Evans Medal to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Texas A&M University’s philanthropic efforts. Recipients must exhibit a long and distinguished record of supporting philanthropy at Texas A&M. The award, named for Sterling C. Evans ’21, is a sterling silver medallion custom designed by James Avery Craftsmen of Kerrville, Texas.
Craig and Sue have been generous patrons of numerous Texas A&M campus building projects, such as the Memorial Student Center, Zachry Engineering Education Complex and the John D. White ’70 – Robert L. Walker ’58 Music Activities Center.
The couple’s flagship program, however, is the Craig and Galen Brown Foundation, which awards competitive scholarships to students recognized as National Merit Finalists. During the past 28 years, the couple has personally recruited and provided scholarships to more than 400 Aggies through the Brown Scholarship Program, attracting the nation’s top talent to Texas A&M. Craig has also served on the Engineering Advisory Council, the Engineering Honors Executive Committee and the Corps of Cadets Board of Visitors.
Craig holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering and an MBA in accounting from Texas A&M. After working a few years as a financial analyst at Exxon and U.S. president of Keystone International, he co-founded Bray International, a rotary valve and actuator manufacturer. Today, Bray is a conglomerate of 80 companies and 3,000 employees located in more than 50 countries worldwide.
Sue is a founding member of the Translational Research Initiative at the Houston Methodist Research Institute as well as a member of the President’s Leadership Council of Houston Methodist and the Houston Methodist Capital Campaign Steering Committee. A graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston Law School, Sue is past president and a member of the Board of Directors of Bo’s Place, a nonprofit that helps families dealing with grief. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of KIPP and holds an executive office on the Board of Directors of Brighter Bites, a nonprofit that delivers fresh food and nutrition education in school settings to disadvantaged families.
Judy Ley Allen and her late husband, Bob, have provided extraordinary leadership at Texas A&M for more than 40 years. They have provided endowed funds for a professorship, a graduate fellowship and a discretionary fund for Mays Business School. They supported the expansion of the Wehner Building and the continued growth of the business honors program. They were also instrumental in helping complete the campus of the Bush School of Government and Public Service. In gratitude, the campus’ main building bears their name.
Bob served on numerous advisory boards and councils at Texas A&M over the years, culminating in a term as a university regent from 1995 to 2001. Bob was a certified public accountant who began his career at IBM. At age 27, he was offered the position of CFO at a client's company, Gulf Sulfur. Soon, Bob was made CEO of what he would build into the Fortune 500 company, Gulf Resources & Chemical Corp. Bob served as chairman and CEO from 1960 until retiring in 1982. More recently, until his passing in 2015, he served as managing partner of Challenge Investment Partners, which is active in mining ventures in the U.S., Canada and South America.
Judy, one of the first women to graduate with an MBA from Harvard in 1963, started her career working for a San Francisco architectural firm. When the couple settled in Houston, she joined her brothers in the Ley family property development business, where she still works.
Her business acumen led her to leadership positions within the Texas banking industry, as she was appointed to the Branch Federal Reserve Board of Houston for six years and elected to the Federal Reserve Board of Dallas for seven years. She has served on many nonprofit boards, including the Houston Ballet, Museum of Natural Science and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Additionally, Mayor Kathy Whitmire appointed her to the Houston Parks Board. Judy is also an avid supporter of FIRST Inspires, a leading promoter of STEM and robotics education for K-12 students.
Mike and Donna are longtime benefactors of Texas A&M, having endowed a scholarship and graduate fellowship for mechanical engineering students. However, it was their $40 million gift in 2018 to name the departments of mechanical engineering at both Texas A&M and The University of Texas at Austin that will have the greatest impact. In recognition, both universities have renamed their departments of mechanical engineering to honor Mike and his successful career in the industry.
Mike was a star basketball player and the valedictorian of his high school class in Huntington. His victorious streak continued in college, as he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Texas A&M and graduated first in his class. He went on to earn a master’s degree from The University of Texas on a National Science Foundation Fellowship before returning to Texas A&M for a Ph.D. During his doctoral studies, he also taught at Texas A&M.
After college, he worked at Exxon as a subsea engineer. Later he worked for McEvoy, an oilfield equipment company, and Vetco Offshore before starting his own company, Dril-Quip, which specialized in offshore drilling and production equipment. When he retired as chairman, president and CEO in 2011, the company had grown to 2,200 employees worldwide and a market cap in excess of $4 billion.
Mike was named a distinguished mechanical engineering graduate at Texas A&M and The University of Texas before his passing in late 2018.
A native of Odessa, Frosty began working in the petroleum industry as a teenager in his father’s oil field service company before attending Texas A&M to study petroleum engineering. Eight years after graduation, Frosty founded Aghorn Energy Inc., an oil and gas exploration company, with his brother, who attended The University of Texas.
For the next two decades, Frosty focused on building his company and raising his family. In 2005, when the couple’s son Forrest “Matt” Gilliam III enrolled at Texas A&M, the Gilliams renewed their involvement with the university. Frosty reconnected with the petroleum engineering department, and the couple bought their first season football tickets. Rhonda, a graduate of Sam Houston State, fully immersed herself into the Aggie life and became active in the Sandstorm Aggie Mom’s Club in Odessa. Today, the Gilliams are strong supporters of Texas A&M’s petroleum engineering program and the university’s football, basketball, baseball and track programs.
Because of their continued involvement with Texas A&M, Rhonda and Frosty are frequent visitors to the Bryan-College Station area. They currently serve on the Lead by Example campaign’s executive cabinet, while Frosty has served on the 12th Man Foundation Board as trustee, chair and now as immediate past chair. Rhonda and Frosty are also members of the Chancellor’s Century Council, and Frosty is involved with the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering Industry Board.
As the first in his family to attend college, Chaz realized that earning a college degree would significantly increase his options personally and professionally. Now retired, he enjoyed a long and storied career. Chaz started with Sinclair Refining Company in 1963 before moving to Hertz Corporation’s truck leasing division. In 1970, he joined Knowlton’s Creamery, where he served as a senior manager and honed his marketing and distribution skills.
In 1979, Chaz purchased San Antonio Steel Co. At that time, the firm bought large quantities of nails and wire from manufacturers for resale to contractor suppliers and lumberyards. Through his leadership, San Antonio Steel grew into the largest wholesale distributor of agricultural fencing in the United States. During Chaz’s tenure as president, the company was named one of the Top 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies by Inc. Magazine and one of the Top 50 Private Companies in San Antonio by the San Antonio Business Journal.
The Neelys have generously contributed both their time and money to Texas A&M, particularly with gifts benefiting Mays Business School, the Corps of Cadets, Texas A&M athletics and capital building projects. The couple has served on several Texas A&M Foundation capital campaign committees, including the current Lead by Example executive cabinet. Chaz also held leadership roles with Mays Business School, The Association of Former Students, the 12th Man Foundation and the President’s Board of Visitors for the Corps of Cadets.
Jerry Cox, former president of Cox & Perkins Exploration Inc., earned a bachelor’s in finance, following in the footsteps of his father Truman ’44, who played football at Texas A&M. When Kay attended Texas A&M for an advanced degree, she was driven by a family tradition and a powerful dream.
Jerry has also given support and counsel in searches for top administrative positions, from university president to head football coach. In addition, he is proud of his involvement with Breakaway, a non-denominational weekly Bible study group on Texas A&M’s campus.
While the Coxes’ efforts at Texas A&M have been broad, much of their impact can be seen at Mays Business School, where they have contributed generously and served countless volunteer hours. A fund to support the Business Honors Program gave a huge leg up to students in the program, and one of Mays’ buildings bears their name: The Jerry and Kay Cox Hall. Acknowledging the importance of strong faculty, the Houston couple also created the Jerry and Kay Cox Endowed Chair in the business school.
As a recipient of a scholarship while at Texas A&M, Mel Glasscock understood first-hand how it felt to have someone else’s generosity influence his education. Because of this, the Glasscocks have focused on funding scholarships for students who are the first in their families to attend college, like Mel.
After serving in the Air Force, Mel began a career in the oil industry and eventually founded Texas Aromatics LP, a petrochemical marketing firm. He also served on the 12th Man Foundation Champions Council, the One Spirit One Vision campaign executive committee and the board of trustees for the Texas A&M Foundation.
Because of the Houston couple’s interest in the humanities, they established the Melbern C. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M, which awards grants and fellowships in the humanities and sponsors lecture series and other events. The Glasscocks believe the humanities are particularly important for engineering and science majors. They also created the Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship, awarded annually to a U.S. faculty member who publishes a scholarly work in the humanities.
The couple’s most recent gift to the university is the Texas A&M Foundation Trustees’ Outstanding Student Award. As he was finishing his term as a trustee for the Foundation, Mel created a fund that allows the trustees to annually award a graduating senior $2,500 as a boost for their next phase of life. Recipients are primarily judged on their achievements, but must have overcome personal or family financial challenges.
The love Alice and Erle feel for Texas A&M was passed down by their fathers, who were both Aggie veterinarians.
While Alice attended North Texas University for her teaching degree, Erle earned a Texas A&M degree in electrical engineering and a law degree from Southern Methodist University.
After receiving his education, Erle began an illustrious career in energy and utilities. In 2004, he retired as CEO of TXU Corp., the state’s largest publicly held utility company, and now serves as its chairman emeritus.
In recognition of Texas A&M’s role in his life, the Dallas-based Nyes began to give back to the university financially and with their time. Erle has served on a host of boards and committees, including the 12th Man Foundation Champions Council, the College of Engineering’s Advisory Council and the Corps of Cadets Development Committee. For 12 years, he also served as a regent for the university system. The couple has funded scholarships and contributed to building funds, such as the renovation of the Memorial Student Center.
In 2005, the Nyes created the Erle Nye ’59 Chair for Engineering Excellence in the College of Engineering. At $2 million, the endowment is one of the college’s largest for faculty.
The achievement that means the most to them, however, is the Alice and Erle Nye ’59 Academic Center, part of the Bright Football Complex. The 24-hour academic center provides tutors, learning labs, study areas and laptops for more than 600 student athletes on campus.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Thomas and Joan Read knew each other as children but married only after they crossed paths again in Houston in 1956. Joan worked in a bank and later at an advertising firm, while Tom joined the U.S. Army and became a World War II bomber pilot. After the war and three years of college in Ohio, Tom started working in Houston for Crawford Fitting Co., which manufactured and distributed pipe fittings to petrochemical companies. In 1951, with $860 in capital, he founded Thomas A. Read & Co. to distribute Crawford products.
As part of their lifelong dream to help those less fortunate, in 1978 the Reads opened a camp in Magnolia, Texas, to serve underprivileged boys. They partnered with Texas A&M University to get support for the camp in the form of supervision, coaches and students-turned-counselors.
Since Tom’s death in 1991, Joan has managed the Deerfoot Youth Camp and its partnership with Texas A&M. Each year, health and kinesiology majors work at the camp to put their coaching skills into practice.
Joan has also continued the couple’s legacy of giving to the university, which includes: scholarship support for students at Texas A&M University at Galveston and for former Deerfoot Youth Camp campers; memorial scholarships in honor of Thomas Read, William S. Clark and Jimmy Demarat; an endowment for the Thomas A. and Joan Read Research Center in Industrial Distribution; an endowed chair in surgery to the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences; an endowed chair in Health and Kinesiology in the College of Education & Human Development in honor of Leonard D. Ponder, former department head; and the Joan C. Read Deerfoot Youth Camp Project Excellence Endowment.
In total, about 800 Aggies in various disciplines have been supported by Read scholarships, and many Aggies have had the opportunity to learn through serving at Deerfoot Youth Camp, which has supported approximately 3,384 campers. Over the years, the camp added a one-week summer session for children treated at MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Joan also plans to extend scholarships for former campers to attend trade schools.
The Ed Rachal Foundation is a Corpus Christi, Texas, nonprofit established after the deaths of Ed Rachal Jr. and his wife Louise. A rancher from Falfurrias, Texas, Ed Rachal stipulated in his will that his estate be used to establish a foundation benefiting “charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes within the State of Texas.” Since his passing, the Rachal Foundation has contributed more than $21.4 million to Texas A&M University. This amounts to almost one-third of the Ed Rachal Foundation’s total distributions in its over 52 years of existence.
Support for Texas A&M through the Rachal Foundation began with scholarships for Brooks County and Falfurrias students. Later, the Rachal Foundation added dozens of other gifts to support the university. In 2014, the Rachal Foundation gave $1 million to establish the JoAnn ’92 and Bob ’58 Walker Singing Cadets Endowment to honor the Texas A&M fundraising executive with whom they had collaborated for many years. To date, the Rachal Foundation has funded 31 scholarships at Texas A&M, including multiple Corps scholarships and a President’s Endowed Scholarship.
They have also supported five faculty chairs in four colleges: Mays Business School, the College of Science, the College of Engineering and the College of Education and Human Development. Additionally, they have established multiple professorships and faculty fellowships, and have contributed to the Corps’ Hollingsworth Leadership Excellence Program for cadets who choose corporate careers.
Howard Kruse graduated from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 1952 and was also a member of the Corps of Cadets. He became president and CEO at Blue Bell Creameries after his brother’s retirement in 1992, running the company until his retirement in 2004.
A key player in the family’s philanthropic decisions, Verlin Kruse was a lab technician at Blue Bell when she met her husband more than 50 years ago. Howard Kruse credits the success he achieved while leading Blue Bell to his wife’s support and devotion to their family.
Howard is a member of the Corps Hall of Honor and has received a distinguished alumni award, and he and Verlin are members of the A&M Legacy Society. The couple has established scholarships supporting the President's Endowed Scholars Program, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the School of Rural Public Health and student athletes. They have also provided funding for faculty professorships in The Bush School of Government and Public Service and support for the Corps of Cadets' Leadership Excellence Program. A $9 million gift jointly made by the couple, Evelyn and Ed Kruse '49 and Blue Bell Creameries supported the renovation of Olsen Field. In recognition, the field now bears the name C.E. "Pat" Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Clayton Williams Jr. graduated from Texas A&M in 1954 with a degree in animal husbandry from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. A jack-of-all-trades, Williams has bred cattle, developed real estate, worked as a banker, served as a telecommunications mogul and run for Texas governor. Today, he is president and CEO of Clayton Williams Energy Inc., cementing his legacy as one of the state’s most well-known oilmen.
A former model who managed a modeling school in Midland, Texas, Modesta Williams attended Texas Tech University and studied business at Texas Christian University before leaving college to earn a living. She served as a director of ClayDesta National Bank, which survived the 2008 economic crisis that recorded 1,600 bank failures. She also designed the 183-acre ClayDesta Plaza.
Clayton and Modesta have contributed more than $7 million to Texas A&M. Their most recognizable contribution is a $2.5 million gift to The Association of Former Students to help complete the organization’s headquarters, the Clayton W. Williams Jr. Alumni Center. The couple has also funded scholarships for the Corps of Cadets and supported a variety of activities, including the Berg-Hughes Center for Petroleum and Sedimentary Systems within the College of Geosciences.
A former CEO and president of Blue Bell Creameries, Ed Kruse is a 1949 graduate of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. During his time at Texas A&M, he was a member of the Corps of Cadets and a varsity letterman in swimming. At age 13, he began working for his father, E.F. Kruse, who served as Blue Bell’s CEO and president for 32 years. After his father died, Ed Kruse led the company until 1992, when his brother Howard took over management.
Evelyn Kruse has been by her husband’s side, supporting their household and professional endeavors for 64 years. The couple has four Aggie children (two sons died at age 45) and 21 grandchildren.
Ed is a member of the Corps Hall of Honor and has received a distinguished alumni award, and he and Evelyn are members of the A&M Legacy Society.
The couple has contributed scholarships supporting the President's Endowed Scholars Program, the Sul Ross Scholarship Program and graduate students in The Bush School of Government and Public Service. They've also given a number of faculty fellowships supporting The Bush School and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. A $9 million gift jointly made by the couple, Verlin and Howard Kruse '54 and Blue Bell Creameries supported the renovation of Olsen Field. In recognition, the field now bears the name C.E. "Pat" Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Artie McFerrin earned his chemical engineering degree in 1965, and married Dorothy a year later. In 1967, he joined Shell Oil, and two years later, he completed his master’s degree in chemical engineering at Texas A&M. A successful businessman, Artie McFerrin is president of KMCO Management Inc. In 2005, the couple committed $10 million to establish an endowed fund in the Department of Chemical Engineering, which now bears his name.
The McFerrins have contributed more than $25 million to expand numerous athletic facilities on campus. The McFerrins' name is featured on the McFerrin Indoor Athletic Center as well as the Cox-McFerrin Center for Aggie Basketball. In addition, the McFerrins created a $1 million endowment in 2006 for the Becky Gates Children’s Center and made a gift to name the Bob Gates Ballroom in the renovated Memorial Student Center. The McFerrins also donated $1 million to endow the Marilyn Kent Byrne Student Success Center and a similarly named faculty chair in the College of Education and Human Development.
Recently, the couple gave $3 million to support the Artie McFerrin ’65 Professor of Practice to bring industry experts to engineering classrooms and to help build a new undergraduate Engineering Education Complex. Artie McFerrin was named an Outstanding Alumnus of the Department of Chemical Engineering in 1998.
The first in his family to attend college, Doug Pitcock chose Texas A&M because he wanted “the best education” and thought he might have to serve in World War II. The war ended when he was 18, and although he still considered a military career, he studied engineering instead.
In 1950, Pitcock married Eleanor “Puddie” Hall. Several years later, Pitcock partnered with J.K. and C.K. Williams to establish Williams Brothers Construction Co. In 1984, Pitcock became the company’s sole owner, chairman and chief executive officer, and under his leadership, Williams Brothers Construction became one of the largest highway and bridge contractors in the state and nation, completing more than 350 projects valued at $2 billion-plus.
Pitcock made his first major gift to the Corps of Cadets in 2004, giving $100,000 for two General Rudder Corps Scholarships. Two years later he founded the Corps of Cadets 21st Century Scholarships with a $1 million gift to match 10 $100,000 endowments. He hoped the program would create 20 new scholarships to help “diversify the Corps and ensure that future military leaders came from Texas A&M.” The program was so successful that more than 30 scholarships were started in three years, and in 2010 Pitcock gave another $1 million to match 10 more Corps 21 scholarships.
Following his 1947 graduation, Bill Haynes put his civil engineering degree to use during a 34-year career with Standard Oil Co., now Chevron, in which he advanced to chief executive officer. After retiring from Chevron in 1981, he embarked on a 28-year consulting career for the Bechtel Corporation, the Bechtel family and the Fremont Group.
The Haynes’ gifts to Texas A&M have established two endowed faculty chairs in geosciences, supported more than 40 civil and ocean engineering graduate students, and supported students through merit-based scholarships. Their donations have further created such campus landmarks as the Reta and Bill Haynes ’46 Coastal Engineering Laboratory and the Haynes Ring Plaza.
Following her husband’s death, Reta Haynes honored the couple’s commitment to Texas A&M with gifts to support the College of Education and Human Development, Singing Cadets and Corps 21 Scholarships. One of her most significant contributions will be a multimillion dollar estate gift providing four-year, full-ride scholarships to incoming Texas A&M freshmen.
Weldon and Patti Kruger trace the start of their relationship to Texas A&M, where they met at the university’s Freshmen Ball in 1952. Weldon Kruger became Corps commander before graduating in 1953 with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in petroleum engineering, while Patti Kruger completed an English degree in 1956 from The University of Texas at Austin.
As Patti Kruger worked for Hunt Oil Co., Weldon Kruger began a career at ExxonMobil and later advanced to senior executive.
The Krugers have backed the university through gifts that support scholarships, study abroad and building projects such as the Memorial Student Center and Sterling C. Evans Library.
They also have made countless contributions to the Corps of Cadets, supporting the programs, academic excellence and leadership of the organization. A gift of real estate in 2007 created their Aggie Spirit endowment, which benefits students and organizations within the Division of Student Affairs.
Dan A. Hughes ’51 and his twin brother Dudley Hughes ’51 graduated with degrees in geology from Texas A&M University in 1951. They built a stellar reputation in oil exploration and recovery with their company Hughes and Hughes. When the brothers eventually decided to divide their company, Dan Hughes’ son, Dan Allen Hughes Jr., stepped in as his father’s new partner. Their business, the Dan A. Hughes Co., is headquartered in Beeville.
In 2009, the Hughes brothers and Hughes Jr. provided the lead gift for Texas A&M’s Berg-Hughes Center for Petroleum and Sedimentary Systems. Dan Hughes has also previously endowed the Dan A. Hughes ’51 Chair in Geosciences. In 2010, he gave a $4 million gift to renovate Military Walk—the pedestrian greenway that links Sbisa Dining Hall to the Memorial Student Center. He has been a member of The Association of Former Students Century Club for 35 years and is also a member of the A&M Legacy Society.
Dudley J. Hughes '51 and his twin brother Dan Hughes '51 graduated with degrees in geology from Texas A&M University in 1951. They built a stellar reputation in oil exploration and recovery with their company Hughes and Hughes. When the brothers eventually decided to divide their company, Dan Hughes’ son, Dan Allen Hughes Jr., stepped in as his father’s new partner.
Dudley Hughes is retired as president of Hughes South Corp. in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1998, Hughes and his wife, Robbie, created the Dudley J. Hughes ’51 Chair in Geology and Geophysics. In 2009, the Hughes brothers and Hughes Jr. provided the lead gift for Texas A&M’s Berg-Hughes Center for Petroleum and Sedimentary Systems. He also has contributed to the Robert R. Berg Professorship in Geology and the William R. Bryant Oceanography Chair for Teaching, Research and Mentoring Excellence. Hughes is a member of The Association of Former Students’ Century Club.
The late Howard Terry attended the University of Texas on an athletic scholarship for football, and he received a business degree from the school in 1938. Years later, he found tremendous success in the lumber, building, development and financial industries. He served as director and chairman of the executive committee of Penn Central Corporation. He also founded the Terry Companies—a multistate oil and gas corporation.
A native of Ogdensburg, N.Y., Nancy Terry attended the University of Rochester’s School of Nursing. So when she and her husband decided that their own financial success offered them the opportunity to help others, they chose to do so in the form of college scholarships. In 1986, the couple founded the Terry Foundation—the largest private source of scholarships in Texas. As of fall 2011, the Terry Foundation had supported more than 2,600 Texas students. It has provided some $32.5 million in scholarship funds to Texas A&M students alone since 1987, primarily in the form of full scholarships.
Jack Brown holds degrees in petroleum and mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University. He has had a successful career with Wagner & Brown, a Midland-based independent oil and gas operation. He and his wife, Frances, contributed $5 million for the chemical engineering building on campus, which is named in his honor. The Browns also have endowed a faculty chair in engineering and made significant contributions to the George Bush School of Government and Public Service, Corps of Cadets, Robert L. Whiting Technology Fund, 12th Man Foundation and The Association of Former Students.
Brown’s volunteer leadership at Texas A&M includes service on the industry advisory councils for the Dwight Look College of Engineering and mechanical engineering, and service as geographic chairman and board director for the Private Enterprise Research Center. Brown was named an Outstanding Alumnus of the engineering college and is a member of the Corps of Cadets Hall of Honor.
James K.B. "Jim" Nelson is a petroleum and mechanical engineering graduate from Texas A&M University. He is former owner of Grey Wolf Drilling Company in Houston. He and his late wife, Audrey, have given $10 million to support petroleum engineering programs. The couple chose to honor three of Nelson’s former professors by naming the Harold J. Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering and the Albert B. Stevens and Robert Whiting Chairs in Petroleum Engineering. Their gift also created an endowed student scholarship program. The Nelsons also endowed two Corps of Cadets scholarships, and the lobby exhibit hall in the Bright Football Complex is named in their honor.
Nelson has held many offices in A&M Clubs and groups affiliated with Corps leadership, 12th Man Foundation and The Association of Former Students. He has served as a member of Texas A&M’s Petroleum Engineering Industry Board, College of Education and Human Development Advisory Council, and Visual Arts Development Council. Nelson was named a member of the Corps Hall of Honor, Distinguished Graduate of the Texas A&M Petroleum Engineering Academy, Texas A&M University Distinguished Alumnus, and Outstanding Alumnus of the Dwight Look College of Engineering.
L. Lowry Mays is a 1957 graduate of Texas A&M with a degree in petroleum engineering. He is founder of Clear Channel Communications and former chairman of the Texas A&M Board of Regents. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, serving three years in the Air Force and earning a master’s degree in business from Harvard, Mays worked as an investment banker in San Antonio. He became owner of an FM radio station in 1972 when a borrower defaulted on a loan he co-signed.
Lowry Mays and his wife, Peggy, are generous donors to the college of business and George Bush Presidential Library Center. The Evans medal recognizes Mays’ gifts and volunteer leadership benefiting Texas A&M, his encouragement of others to support the university and personal history of integrity and excellence. During the mid-1990s, Mays contributed $15 million to the College of Business, later renamed the Mays Business School. In 2009, Lowry and Peggy Mays gave $7.5 million for nine endowed faculty chairs at Mays Business School. Part of that gift will be matched with contributions from other donors, bringing its total impact to $12 million. Mays has also given nearly $2 million to the Bush Presidential Library on the A&M campus.
Henry B. "Bartell" Zachry is a 1954 civil engineering graduate of Texas A&M. He is chairman of Zachry Group Inc., a collection of companies including Zachry Construction Corp. and the Zachry Foundation. Bartell Zachry and his wife, Mollie, are longtime supporters of Texas A&M; their generosity to his graduating department is unrivaled. The Department of Civil Engineering was named in honor of the Zachry family in 2005, and he also was named an Outstanding Alumnus of the Dwight Look College of Engineering.
An avid supporter of the Corps of Cadets, Zachry funded two endowed General Rudder Corps Scholarships. His gifts and inspired thinking were the catalyst for the formation of the Corps of Cadets Leadership Excellence Program, a four-year curriculum at Texas A&M that develops leaders of character. He is an inductee of the Corps of Cadets Hall of Honor. He has also funded two President's Endowed Scholarships in memory of his father, and along with his family, company and foundation, he has created faculty chairs, professorships and fellowships, and has funded many scholarships for exceptional civil engineering students.
George Mitchell was a 1940 graduate of Texas A&M with a degree in petroleum engineering. He was former chairman and CEO of Mitchell Energy & Development Corp., which was one of the largest independent gas and oil producers in the nation. Mitchell Energy merged with Devon Energy in 2002. He also founded The Woodlands, where he resided for more than 20 years, and the Houston Advanced Research Center. He and his late wife, Cynthia, were among the most financially supportive benefactors in Texas A&M’s 129-year history, with involvement that spanned decades. Their gifts to the Texas A&M Department of Physics totaled nearly $45 million and have played a leading role in the department’s skyrocketing rise to national prominence.
They also provided major funding for Texas A&M's petroleum engineering department and the tennis center, which bears the Mitchell name. The Mitchells were major benefactors of Texas A&M’s marine-oriented branch campus in Galveston, too. Among other gifts for Texas A&M University at Galveston, he donated the 135 acres for its main campus, named for his father, Mike Mitchell.
The 2005 award was especially meaningful as Jon L. Hagler was the lead donor to the headquarters of the Texas A&M Foundation. He ushered in a new era in Foundation history through his vision of the Jon L. Hagler Center as an investment in Texas A&M’s future. A resident of Dover, Massachusetts, Hagler was director of GMO, a Boston-based investment firm. He was a member of the Foundation’s board of trustees for seven years, serving as chairman in 1999. He was also instrumental in altering the Foundation’s investment mix to improve returns. In recognition of his dedication and leadership, the Foundation in 2003 named him “trustee emeritus,” only the second such honor it has bestowed in its 50-year history.
Among his numerous gifts to Texas A&M University are a $5 million commitment to the One Spirit One Vision campaign and funding of 100 Foundation Excellence Award scholarships. Hagler was a leader in A&M’s landmark strategic planning initiative, Vision 2020, serving as co-chair of the executive committee and later as co-chair of the advisory council. He also made a considerable gift to the College of Education and Human Development to bolster its sports management program.
In the decade before his death, Herman Heep devoted himself to advancing Texas higher education. Crucial to Texas A&M was his service on the Texas A&M College Development Fund. As a director of the fund, Heep played a lead role in launching what is now the Texas A&M Foundation. The Heeps gave the fledgling foundation $250,000 between 1956 and Herman’s death in 1960. For decades after that, Minnie Belle continued giving through the couple’s foundation.
The culmination of their devotion came in 1986, when Minnie Belle funded the Heep Foundation. At Minnie Belle’s death in 1993, the Heep Foundation provided more than $20 million for the benefit of Texas A&M and its agriculture and engineering agencies. The Heeps were the first couple, and Mrs. Heep the first female, to receive the award.
Harvey R. “Bum” Bright ’43, former owner of the NFL Dallas Cowboys, made a $25 million “unrestricted” commitment to Texas A&M in 1997. His giving funded a matching program that helped other donors endow 25 new faculty chairs and numerous Corps scholarships. In 2000, Bright pledged another $5 million to support construction at Kyle Field.
Bright is also an Endowed Diamond Century Club member. He chaired the TAMU System Board of Regents from 1981-1985 and was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 1991. He currently serves as an honorary chair of Texas A&M’s One Spirit One Vision campaign.
Real estate developer Les Appelt ’41 of Houston and Bastrop gave almost $3 million to Texas A&M, including $1 million for the university’s Appelt Aggieland Visitor Center. He pledged an additional $5 million during A&M’s first capital campaign, Capturing the Spirit. His pledge, fulfilled through his will, benefited the Visitor Center, Private Enterprise Research Center, Office of Student Affairs and undergraduate programs.
Appelt supported the Private Enterprise Research Center, which he helped found, and The Association of Former Students, which he served as president in 1971. He was a founding donor of the President’s Endowed Scholarship program. Appelt is a Texas A&M Foundation Trustee Emeritus and he was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 1977.
John H. Lindsey's giving to Texas A&M spans more than 50 years. As national chairman of the Capturing the Spirit campaign, which raised $600 million-plus for Texas A&M, Lindsey inspired countless gifts to the university. Lindsey, who lives in Houston, also served as a Texas A&M Foundation trustee and regent of the TAMU System.
Behind the scenes, Lindsey worked tirelessly to garner support for a coeducational Texas A&M, to establish a University Press, and to influence the selection of Texas A&M as site of the George Bush Presidential Library. He and his wife, Sara H. Lindsey, have made numerous gifts, including three faculty chairs, nine scholarships and a $3 million Capturing the Spirit campaign gift.
William C. McCord of Dallas was a first-year recipient of the Sterling C. Evans Medal. Bill McCord left a legacy of leadership that is worthy of modeling by Aggies of all ages. He held a long list of significant leadership positions at Texas A&M and gave more than $1 million to the university.
Particularly significant was his service on the Target 2000 Project, the development councils for engineering and business, and the Board of Trustees of the Texas A&M Foundation. McCord crowned a lifetime of service to the university by taking a lead role in Capturing the Spirit, a campaign that raised $637 million for Texas A&M. His widow, Kay Moran McCord, accepted the award on his behalf.
The first to receive the Evans Medal was Sterling C. Evans himself. Owner of the U-Ranch in Brackettville, Texas, Evans was a founding trustee of the Texas A&M Foundation in 1953. He also served as president of the university’s board of directors in 1963.
Over the years, Evans committed almost $10 million to Texas A&M. He remained active in Foundation affairs and was the pinnacle example of a lifetime commitment to progress and excellence at Texas A&M. Evans’ efforts were not limited to personal gifts and interests. He also devoted his energies to getting others involved, constantly seeking new contributors and people who are willing to work for Texas A&M.