As her parents’ youngest child, Laurie Hagemaier often found herself traveling and attending business dinners with her father, William B. “Bennett” Boyd ’45, from a young age. By his side, she witnessed her father’s genuine care and interest in each person he met. “He connected with people so easily,” she said. “He had this kindness about him that drew out the best in others.”
Having moved all over the country in pursuit of his mechanical engineering career, Boyd never forgot his small-town, Texas roots or the lessons he learned growing up in the midst of the Great Depression. He crafted a legacy of generosity throughout his life, but Hagemaier and her siblings, Susan Boyd Rothlein and Thomas Boyd, didn’t realize the depth of his giving until he passed away in 2018. “He and my mom felt very strongly about giving back, but they didn’t talk about it much,” she said. “Though they were humble about their ways, we always knew they were generous. After their passing, however, my siblings and I better understood the specifics of their giving. We are so thankful they left such an incredible legacy for us to follow.”
In addition to contributing to various scholarship programs and creating the Boyd Foundation to support smaller nonprofits in Central Florida, he established a charitable remainder trust that paid he and his wife Faye throughout their lifetimes. At the end of their trust, the remaining assets passed to the Texas A&M Foundation to support Texas A&M University. In addition to the trust, Boyd named the Foundation as beneficiary of his retirement account. In total, his gifts will amount to $3 million to benefit the areas he wanted at Texas A&M. “No matter where he moved, my dad never forgot his connections to the university,” Laurie said. “Every car he owned had a Texas A&M decal as well as an Aggie cap on the dashboard.”
Of all the qualities he loved about Texas A&M, Boyd believed the university’s students to be its best contribution to society. In support of his former department, he specified a portion of his gift to support students pursuing mechanical engineering degrees. Another portion honors his friend Theodore “Ted” Maffitt ’44, a former student and Texas A&M professor of architecture, through scholarships for architecture students. The final portion establishes an endowment for the University Libraries.
“Thanks to Mr. Boyd’s generosity, the Libraries can hire a full-time librarian whose focus will be enhancing student use of our resources at the very start of their college careers,” said David Carlson, dean of the University Libraries. “Every Aggie student will benefit from this gift, as we will not have to sacrifice any other library services or materials as we pursue opportunities to strengthen the Libraries’ role in student success.”
A Fulfilling Life
Boyd enrolled at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas at age 17, where he excelled in his studies until leaving school in the spring of 1944 to serve in several major campaigns during World War II, earning a Bronze Star for his bravery. Upon his return, he married his high school sweetheart, Billie Faye Spencer, in 1946. The couple then moved back to College Station so Boyd could finish his degree.
“My dad rarely spoke of his time in the war,” Hagemaier said. “He did, however, always say that his generation greatly benefited from the abundance of opportunities that arose as the nation grew after the war. Through his gift, I know he hoped to create similar opportunities for future students.”
After Boyd’s graduation in December 1947, he and Faye moved to Massachusetts, where he worked for General Electric Co. During the next several decades, their family lived in several different states as Boyd grew his career. He eventually worked for American Standard, where he rose to chairman, president and CEO before retiring in 1989. After retiring, the couple made their final move to Florida to be near their children and grandchildren.
“My dad was a picture of aging with grace,” Hagemaier said. “I would find calculus problems on his desk, which he said kept his mind sharp in his later years. He even bought himself a new car—a 2017 yellow convertible Mustang—for his 94th birthday. He wasn’t able to drive it himself, but it brought him such joy to ride around in it with us.”
During his lifetime, Boyd also founded a consulting firm, served on the Advisory Council of the business school at Ithaca College in New York and won numerous awards, including being named a Distinguished Alumnus in Texas A&M’s College of Engineering. “I know my dad’s proudest achievement was his family, but second to that was his ability to give back to his alma mater and other charitable causes,” Hagemaier said. “He was a huge believer in the power of education in helping students achieve their life goals.”
To learn how you can create a charitable remainder unitrust for Texas A&M, contact Angela Throne ’03 at email@example.com or 979-845-5638.