Campus Life

Texas A&M Foundation Honors Dr. Leonard Berry With Partner In Philanthropy Award

In recognition of his impact on Mays Business School, the Texas A&M Foundation selects marketing professor Dr. Leonard Berry.
By Dorian Martin, Texas A&M Foundation May 10, 2024

Dr. Leonard Berry holds the 2024 Texas A&M Foundation Partner In Philanthropy Award
Dr. Leonard Berry is the recipient of the 2024 Texas A&M Foundation Partner In Philanthropy Award.

Butch Ireland Photography


The Texas A&M Foundation selected Dr. Leonard Berry as the latest recipient of its annual R.A. “Murray” Fasken ’38 Partner in Philanthropy Award. Berry, who is a University Distinguished Professor in Marketing, Regents Professor and holder of the M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership at Mays Business School, received the award in April for his devotion to Texas A&M University.

Established in 2016 by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, the Partner in Philanthropy Award honors Aggie faculty and staff who are nominated by a Texas A&M Foundation development team member. The selection is based on the recipient’s dedicated and lasting participation, commitment and creative leadership in philanthropy at Texas A&M.

“Dr. Berry is a tremendous advocate for the power of philanthropy, and the university could not ask for a better ambassador,” said Gina Luna ’95, chair of the Foundation’s board. “His passionate efforts have been instrumental to vital programs and initiatives that keep Texas A&M University, and specifically Mays Business School, at the forefront of higher education.”

Berry was nominated by Texas A&M Foundation Senior Director of Development Cassie Mahoney ’15, who works with the business school. “Through the years, Dr. Berry has been a transformational partner to the Foundation and Mays Business School,” Mahoney said. “He is continuously thinking of ways to partner with the development office to make a difference.”

Berry’s colleagues stressed that he has embodied the Aggie Core Value of Selfless Service over the course of his career. “Dr. Berry’s career is the epitome of philanthropy in its most pristine form; he has dedicated his life to the giving of time, talent and treasure to help improve the lives of others,” said Nate Sharp, dean of Mays Business School. “His exceptional career, contributions and giving mindset have led to a profound impact on students, faculty, administrators, alumni, employees and the public at large.”

Visionary Retail, Health Care Research

Dr. Leonard Berry and his wife Nancy, former mayor of College Station
Dr. Leonard Berry and his wife, Nancy, former mayor of College Station.

Butch Ireland Photography

The Mays professor joined Texas A&M in 1982 as the founding director of Mays’ Center for Retail Studies (CRS). His vision for the center — which included recruiting and preparing students for the retailing industry and developing strong partnerships with major retailers — impressed Donald Zale ’55, whose Zale Corporation provided the center’s initial grant. “Under Dr. Berry’s leadership, the center’s reputation grew as the most important developer of hard-working students with a knowledge of what it takes to make a retailing business successful,” said Zale, who was Zale Corporation CEO at that time.

Over the years, the Zale family continued to deepen their relationship with the center and Berry. When M.B. Zale died, the family created the M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership for the school. The chair was awarded to Berry, who used a portion of the funds to create the M.B. Zale Leadership Scholars, which is the leading undergraduate professional development program for Mays’ top students who are studying retailing.

Berry, a noted researcher, is one of the pioneers of services marketing and was instrumental in the invention of the term “relationship marketing.”

He also significantly influenced the health care industry after spending a professional development leave at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in 2001. His groundbreaking research in health care marketing has been published in numerous prominent medical journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Annals of Internal Medicine, Journal of Clinical Oncology and Journal of Oncology Practice. Berry currently serves as a senior fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, where he studies service improvement in cancer care for patients and their families.

Award-Winning Results

As a result of his groundbreaking research, Berry is the most highly cited faculty member in The Texas A&M University System, with 251,307 citations on Google Scholar as of April 2024. Over the course of his career, he has co-authored 10 books, including the best-selling book, “Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic.”

In recognition of Berry’s significant contributions, he became the second individual in history to receive each of the “Big 4” national marketing awards, including the Sheth Gold Medal and the William Wilkie “Marketing for a Better World” Award from the American Marketing Association. He has also received numerous teaching awards, including the University Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching and the Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence. More recently, he was named Texas A&M’s recipient of the 2024 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award.

Wanting to extend Mays’ leadership in services marketing, Berry and his wife, The Honorable Nancy Berry, endowed the Dr. Leonard Berry Chair in Services Marketing in 2021. This gift marked the first endowed chair established by a current Mays faculty member. “It’s important to me that the marketing department continues to contribute to this field in perpetuity,” Berry said. “The chair that we endowed ensures that there will always be a senior marketing professor specializing in services marketing.”

The couple also created a planned gift to support the business school. “Our planned gift will go to the marketing department, my academic home for more than 40 years,” Berry said. “Whatever success that I have had is in large part due to my talented and supportive colleagues in marketing and in Mays Business School. I want to give back even when I am no longer a faculty member.”

A Partner In Philanthropy

Being named recipient of the 2024 Partner in Philanthropy Award came as a surprise to Berry, who credits his parents with teaching him the importance of “paying it forward.” “This is an especially meaningful recognition because philanthropy is a core value of mine and never once in my life has receiving an award for it occurred to me,” he said. “Being able to help others is reward enough.”

Recipients of the Partner in Philanthropy Award receive $10,000 that they can use to advance their research and teaching or direct to an area of their choice. Characteristically, Berry and his wife plan to donate these funds to support a university program. “Philanthropy makes the difference between mediocrity and excellence. State and federal funding get us only part of the way,” he explained. “In Mays, we aspire to be the best public business school in the nation. Philanthropy is essential to realizing this aspirational goal.”

Tyson Voelkel ’96, president and CEO of the Foundation, expressed his gratitude for Berry’s longtime service and commitment to Aggieland. “Dr. Berry’s passion for philanthropy and dedication to the betterment of this university is unparalleled, and the Foundation is truly honored to recognize his transformational legacy,” he said. “Service-minded individuals as compassionate and ambitious as Dr. Berry are a gift to society, and we are fortunate to have him as a partner with us in building a brighter future for Texas A&M.”

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