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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Mays renames entrepreneurship center in honor of long time donor

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Photo by Courtesy of today.tamu.edu

Arthur “Artie” McFerrin passed on Aug. 8 after a battle with leukemia. 

Arthur “Artie” McFerrin has become a popular name around campus. Now, his legacy will live on in the business school as well. The Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship will be renamed the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship in honor of Artie.
Artie passed away Aug. 8 after battling leukemia. He and his family consistently support A&M’s academic and athletic programs with major gifts and became the namesake of the McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, the McFerrin Athletic Center and the Cox-McFerrin Basketball Center.
“For Artie, entrepreneurship was something that was part of his DNA and part of his mindset,” Tyson Voelkel, Texas A&M Foundation president, said. “Renaming the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship in his name helps perpetuate his legacy, and I hope it challenges all those in the center to think about his life as they make their decisions.”
The renaming of the center was made possible with a $10 million donation to further the center’s mission of inspiring young Aggies to pursue a career in entrepreneurship.
“The Artie McFerrin name and his family are well-known and respected across campus, we are truly blessed to have their support,” Dick Lester, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship executive director, said. “Within our entrepreneurship center, I think we have a pretty solid reputation around the university, and their gift gives us the ability to enhance entrepreneurship more significantly throughout the Mays Business School in particular and the Texas A&M campus in general.”
The center was founded in 1999 and features 27 entrepreneurship programs for over 4,000 current and former students to utilize.
“Artie wanted to create a place of learning to help students create businesses and innovate for the betterment of our society,” Voelkel said. “The center will provide opportunities for students, faculty and staff to further their entrepreneurial dreams. Like a landmark location on map, it will serve as a center of excellence on campus to bring entrepreneurial dreams to reality.”
Dean of the Mays Business School Eli Jones said in a press release that the renaming of the center will truly allow Artie’s legacy to live on for future generations.
“We are truly grateful to the McFerrin family,” Jones said. “Artie’s spirit lives on through the thousands of lives he has influenced and will continue to influence. 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.”
The center hopes to use the funds to be more involved at the high school level in getting future students to look at Texas A&M as a place for them to pursue entrepreneurship.
“Anytime a high school student is thinking about entrepreneurship, we want them to consider Texas A&M as their first college choice,” Lester said. “We plan to begin a high school promotion campaign publicizing our entrepreneurial opportunities.”
Lester said the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship will work to embody Artie’s legacy and vision for student entrepreneurs.
“One of the things about Artie is he wants [entrepreneurship] to be a career choice,” Lester said. “As we look at our curriculum and experiential opportunities, we are always thinking about how to best enact that vision. We believe strongly that entrepreneurship is a career choice, be it in launching a new venture or working in existing companies.”

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