The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School reflects the values of excellence revered by its namesake – Artie McFerrin, a longtime supporter of Texas A&M and the name behind the $10 million gift that secured the center’s future.
An intimate group that included Artie McFerrin’s wife Dorothy, their daughter Jennifer, and a gathering of family, friends and university leaders attended a recent reception to celebrate the official naming of the center. The event at the Founders Club at Kyle Field served as a tribute to Artie McFerrin, who died in August, and a thank-you to his family, who have supported Texas A&M for years.
“If you strive for success, if you dream of venturing into the unknown and emerging smarter and stronger, if you want to grow yourself so you can grow others, you not only have a place to go, but also a name forever attached to it,” Tyson Voelkel, president of the Texas A&M Foundation, said of the center at the event.
The center, which serves more than 3,000 students and over 1,000 former students through 27 programs, is an international leader in entrepreneurial education. It aims to enhance entrepreneurial student education by providing training, networking and assistance to enterprising students, faculty and alumni. With the support of a volunteer network, corporate supporters, faculty and staff, the McFerrin Center has been able to provide business start-up acceleration, competitive opportunities, work experiences, and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community and across the world.
Phil Miner, who serves on the center’s board of directors, said that the words featured on a core value wall outside the Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center sum up Artie McFerrin’s philosophy and way of living: “We are what we think, therefore think excellence.”
“He saw the good in people and encouraged them to go for it and to be even better in life,” Miner said. “We owe Artie to be the best we can be. We owe Artie an even better Texas A&M.”
Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young and Eli Jones, dean of Mays Business School, also spoke. Young remarked how impactful the McFerrin family name is across Texas A&M’s history, and how the McFerrin Center magnifies that impact for Aggie generations to come. Jones said the goal of the school is to serve double the number of student entrepreneurs within the next five years. The McFerrin Center helps students develop an entrepreneurial mindset — to believe they can achieve anything and not give up when the going gets tough. Jones said McFerrin’s spirit lives on through the thousands of lives he influences.
“His heart for Texas A&M and entrepreneurship beats in the hearts of those Aggies who choose to be courageous enough to create solutions to the world’s biggest problems—those who are indeed fearless,” he added.
Dick Lester, a clinical professor at Mays and executive director of the center, said the university is grateful for the trust the family has shown with their gift. “The future, for our center and entrepreneurship at our university, is bright,” he said. “We move forward with hope and enthusiasm as we take the next steps on our entrepreneurial journey. This is a transformational moment.”
Center Director Blake Petty said that, over the past 15 years, the center has developed some of the leading experiential entrepreneurship programs across campus and across the nation. “Just thinking about the established success of programs such as the Aggie 100, Startup Aggieland and 3 Day Startup, your imagination can run wild about our future at the McFerrin Center…new programs, new experiences, new opportunities for Aggie entrepreneurs,” he said.
Media contact: Shanna Spencer, Program Manager, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, 979-845-0619, firstname.lastname@example.org.