Monday, September 19, 2005

Zachry donates $10 million to Texas A&M

Zachry name bestowed on Texas A&M's civil engineering department

September 19, 2005

Engineering News
Texas A&M University
Copyright 2005

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Zachry, a name celebrated in the construction industry, now graces the civil engineering department at Texas A&M University.

The Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System approved the naming of the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering in recognition of a $10 million commitment from the Zachry Foundation.

"I am continually overwhelmed by the generosity of the Zachry family in its support of engineering education at Texas A&M," said Dr. G. Kemble Bennett, vice chancellor and dean of engineering. "The Zachry name is a part of every student's vocabulary, whether it be in reference to the building where many departments are housed or now, in reference to the newly renamed civil engineering department. Aggie engineering holds an enormous amount of respect for the Zachrys and appreciates the impact they make upon education at Texas A&M. They epitomize the values and character held so sacred by this university."

The breadth of the gift will range from endowed faculty chairs and professorships to scholarships and fellowships, and includes support for the department's excellence fund, surveying camp and student advising services.

"We felt there was an opportunity through a gift to provide offerings in the curriculum for engineering and construction benefiting the student and strengthening the department," said Bartell Zachry, trustee of the Zachry Foundation. "The Zachry families supported the linkage of our company to the engineering discipline at Texas A&M that made our company a reality and continues to be an important resource."

The gift also will provide a challenge fund to match qualifying gifts to the department and encourage additional investment by other benefactors. Part of the gift will emphasize design and construction integration, a specialty of the Zachry Corp.

"This tremendous gift, coming at this point in our department's history, will allow us to make great strides toward reaching our goal of becoming one of the premier civil engineering departments in the country," said Dr. David V. Rosowsky, civil engineering department head and holder of the A.P. and Florence Wiley Chair in Civil Engineering.

The Zachry group of companies can trace its roots back 80 years to the late H.B. "Pat" Zachry, Sr., a Texas A&M Class of 1922 civil engineering graduate who forged a small dirt-moving job with rented mules into one of the nation's largest multi-national construction companies.

Zachry served his alma mater in many leadership roles, including chairman of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. Zachry Engineering Center, one of the largest buildings on campus, was named for him in 1972.

Zachry, his companies and his family, most notably son H.B. "Bartell" Zachry, Jr., are longstanding supporters of Texas A&M Engineering. Their generosity endowed the Zachry Industry Teaching Program, which brings professional engineers and other experts to campus as guest lecturers and advisers for research and public service programs.

Other Zachry gifts have established the civil engineering department's Zachry Awards for Excellence Teaching, which honor faculty for superior teaching at the undergraduate level, as well as the Fred J. Benson Chair in Civil Engineering, named for a former engineering dean and close friend of the Zachry family. Zachry support also helped build a coastal engineering laboratory in Texas A&M's research park.

Zachry's legacy to the university is varied and broad, including gifts to the Corps of Cadets and especially its Leadership Excellence Program, Texas A&M Libraries, Office of the President, Private Enterprise Research Center, President's Endowed Scholarship program, Texas Transportation Institute, The 12th Man Foundation, Center for Construction Education, Center for Human Resource Management, Athletic Department Building Fund, Aggie Muster and Construction Industry Advisory Council of the College of Architecture.

Pat Zachry earned a degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M and founded the H.B. Zachry Co. in Laredo in 1924. He led this construction company for six decades, serving as president (1924-1945), chairman and CEO (1945-1965) and chairman of the board from 1965 until his death in 1984.

Pat's vision and leadership made a lasting impact on Texas transportation. In addition to undertaking some of the largest transportation projects in Texas, the Zachry Co. built highways, bridges, airstrips, dams, power plants and pipelines around the world.

Bartell earned a civil engineering degree from Texas A&M in 1954 and served as an Air Force pilot from 1954 to 1957. He then returned to San Antonio to work in the Zachry Co. He completed the Harvard Business School's Program for Management Development in 1964 and in 1965 became president and CEO of the company. In 1984, he was elected chairman of the board and director of the H.B. Zachry Co.

A lifelong proponent of public service and giving back to his community, Bartell has served with numerous educational, research and civic organizations, including service with boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the Southwest Research Institute, the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, the Governor's Business Council, the Texas Department of Corrections and the Alamo Heights Independent School District. He is a Texas Business Hall of Fame inductee.

Bartell has also been an avid supporter of Texas A&M. He is co-chair of the Corps of Cadets Leadership Excellence Advisory Board and was the inaugural chairman of the President's Board of Visitors for the Corps. He has served on the President's Advisory Council, the Department of Civil Engineering's advisory committee and the Board of Advisors of the Texas Engineering Extension Service. Bartell was inducted into the Corps Hall of Fame in 2001, making the Zachrys the first father and son ever inducted. Bartell was also named a Texas A&M Distinguished Alumnus in 1997 and received Texas A&M Engineering's Outstanding Alumni Honor Award in 2005.

Mollie Zachry, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, is an Aggie booster and an active community volunteer and leader. The couple have four adult children -- John and David Zachry, Anne Rochelle and Ellen Carrie -- and 14 grandchildren.

Bartell and his sons, also Aggie civil engineers, share leadership responsibilities in the Zachry group of companies. Bartell is chairman of the board for Zachry Construction Corp. John, Class of 1984, is chief executive officer for Zachry Construction and chairman of Capitol Aggregates, an affiliated interest. David, Class of 1985, is president and chief operating officer of Zachry Construction Corp.

"From my father and me to my two sons, all have been civil engineering graduates of A&M," Bartell Zachry said. "We have an understandable high interest in the Texas A&M experience, the Corps of Cadets and the civil engineering department, in particular. Construction has been our focus and extremely satisfying. Exposure for yet another generation has begun, and we want Texas A&M to be the benchmark for engineering and construction education."

The Zachry Department of Civil Engineering is one of the largest in the Dwight Look College of Engineering, with a fall enrollment of 1,018 undergraduate students, 207 master's students and 129 Ph.D. students. The department consistently ranks among the top civil engineering programs in the country, with the undergraduate program ranking 10th (seventh among public schools) and the graduate program 13th (eighth public) in the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings.

The Zachry Foundation's gift is part of the One Spirit One Vision Campaign, the university's multiyear fund-raising effort aimed at helping Texas A&M attain national top 10 status among public universities while sustaining the distinctive Texas A&M spirit. The volunteer-led campaign, coordinated by the Texas A&M Foundation, encompasses all private gifts benefiting the university.

For more information, contact

Reporter: Lesley Kriewald
(979) 845-5524

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