Former Texas A&M Foundation Chairman Bob J. Surovik ’58 passed away Feb. 7 at the age of 80. The 2012 Texas A&M University Distinguished Alumnus left an impressive legacy of leadership and support for Texas A&M, his legal profession and his adopted community of Abilene.
His loss continues to reverberate across the Aggie community. “Mr. Surovik cared about students and the future of Texas A&M like few others,” said Texas A&M Foundation President Tyson Voelkel ’96. “His service on multiple boards and constant attention to the pressing issues facing the university were part of the fabric of his amazing life. He will be missed, but his legacy will last for generations.”
Loyalty to Texas A&M
Surovik’s deep ties to Texas A&M began when he was an accounting major. He credited the university with helping him identify his unique talents and develop the strong work ethic necessary to succeed.
During his time at Texas A&M, the Glen Rose, Texas, native served as president of the Student Senate and the Singing Cadets, secretary of the sophomore class and adjutant in the Corps of Cadets’ Second Battalion, Second Regiment Staff. He also was active in a number of other student organizations, including the Southwest Conference Sportsmanship Committee, Student Government Association, Town Hall, Election Commission, the Memorial Student Center Council, the Accounting Society, the Pre-Law Society and the Arts and Science Council. Surovik was further recognized in Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.
He remained an equally active alumnus as president of the Abilene A&M Club and a member of the Texas Aggie Bar Association. Surovik served for six years on The Association of Former Students’ Board of Directors, including a term as chairman in 2001. He was a member of the university’s Vision 2020 task force and vice chairman of Texas A&M’s One Spirit One Vision campaign. Surovik was also a founding member of the Texas A&M Foundation’s Planned Giving Council.
Surovik served on the Texas A&M Foundation’s Board of Trustees from 2004 to 2011, including two terms as chairman. “Bob Surovik was a gentle soul with a brilliant legal mind who made many contributions to the welfare of Texas A&M,” said Dr. Ed Davis ’67, former Texas A&M Foundation president. “He was a friend and someone who worked diligently for his legal clients and almost as hard for our beloved alma mater. For seven years as a trustee, Bob consistently made himself available to help in any way he could. He's a great Aggie, and we are fortunate to have known and been associated with him.”
Surovik’s strong financial support of and service to Texas A&M earned him recognition as a Heritage Member of the A&M Legacy Society and as a member of The Association of Former Students’ Endowed Diamond Century Club. His gifts to the Texas A&M Foundation benefitted the Corps of Cadets, the Singing Cadets and the Class of ’58 Gift Fund that supports the Division of Student Affairs. In 2005, Surovik created an IRA beneficiary gift through the Texas A&M Foundation to support The Association of Former Students. He also established a bequest to support the Texas A&M Foundation.
Leadership in His Profession
Surovik earned a doctorate of jurisprudence degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 1961. After graduating, he served in the U.S. Army Reserves and the U.S. Army, where he earned an Army Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service.
In 1963, the young attorney joined the Abilene law firm McMahon, Surovik, Suttle, P.C. He practiced law with the firm for more than 50 years and was eventually named the firm’s president and shareholder.
Surovik served as director of the State Junior Bar of Texas from 1966 to 1969. In 1973, he was named the State Junior Bar’s Outstanding Young Lawyer in Texas and was admitted and qualified as an attorney and counselor of the U.S. Supreme Court. Surovik served as president of the Abilene Bar Association from 1983 to 1984 and was named Aggie Lawyer of the Year in 2011. Surovik was a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.
Selfless Service in His Community
Surovik and his wife Elaine established deep roots in the Abilene community. He served as a director and vice president of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, a director of First Financial Bank-Abilene, a board member and chairman of the Community Foundation of Abilene, and on the boards of First National Bank of Abilene and the Abilene Industrial Foundation. Surovik also was involved in the Abilene YMCA, the Volunteer Council at Abilene State School, Hendrick Home for Children and the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation’s Public Responsibility Committee. A member of St. Paul United Methodist Church, Surovik taught its Sunday school kindergarten class for 15 years.
Surovik is survived by his three children, Wade Surovik ’85, Lance Surovik ’93 and Karen Surovik. The family requests that memorials be made to the John D. White ’70 — Robert L. Walker ’58 Music Activities Center.
To make contributions, visit give.am/SupportAggieMusic.