Texas A&M University has announced a $10 million gift from the late Artie McFerrin and his widow, Dorothy, to boost entrepreneurial programming and opportunities at the university's Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship.
Part of the university's $4 billion Lead by Example campaign, the gift will enable the center, which will be renamed in McFerrin's honor, to more effectively prepare aspiring entrepreneurs to succeed in the fast-moving global economy. Founded in 1999, the center offers twenty-seven entrepreneurship programs serving more than three thousand students and more than a thousand former students annually. It also houses a range of programs, including the Aggie 100 Awards, Startup Aggieland, Aggie Entrepreneurship Saturday, 3-Day Startup, the MBA Venture Challenge, the Raymond Ideas Challenge, and the Reynolds Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans.
A Texas A&M alumnus ('65), McFerrin, who passed away on August 8 after a battle with leukemia, spent his entire career in the chemical industry. Among other accomplishments, he created KMCO LLC, a chemical processing and manufacturing company, and KMTEX, a high-volume distillation company, and in 1995 purchased South Coast Terminals. A longtime supporter of Texas A&M's academic and athletic programs, he is the namesake of the McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, the McFerrin Athletic Center (the indoor football complex and track stadium), and the Cox-McFerrin Basketball Center.
"Our goal is to create a state-of-the-art center that equips young people for starting and growing their ventures," said Richard Lester, executive director of the McFerrin Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship. "With this support, we can expand our reach and impact while linking existing programs for a cohesive experience. More than grooming specific skills, we hope to train students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset: to believe they can achieve and not give up when the going gets tough."