The Texas A&M Foundation on Thursday recognized Nancy and Howard Terry and twin brothers Dan and Dudley Hughes as the 2012 recipients of the Sterling C. Evans Medal. The ceremony, held in the Jon L. Hagler Center on campus, was bittersweet as guests remembered the life and generosity of Howard Terry, who passed away two weeks earlier.
Recipients of the foundation’s highest honor must exhibit exemplary philanthropy benefiting the university through contributions and volunteer leadership. Other qualifications include a lifelong devotion to Texas A&M University, motivation of others to support the university, and a personal history of integrity and excellence.
In 1986, the Terrys founded the Terry Foundation — the largest private source of scholarships in Texas. The honor of the Evans Medal recognizes the couple’s many years of supporting Texas A&M students through their foundation.
Also receiving medals were philanthropists Dan and Dudley Hughes, 1951 graduates of the university whose support of Texas A&M ranges from the funding of a cutting-edge petroleum education and research center to the renovation of the campus’ famed Military Walk.
The Terrys and the Hugheses join a small but prestigious group of medal recipients — Texas A&M supporters who have unselfishly given of both their time and financial resources to the school. Others include such legendary Aggie philanthropists as H.R. “Bum” Bright, Jon Hagler, Lowry Mays and George Mitchell.
The medal’s namesake and first recipient in 1998 was a 1921 A&M graduate who served on the school’s Board of Directors from 1959-71. A visionary, Evans helped university President Earl Rudder transform A&M through the admission of blacks and women and by making Corps of Cadets participation voluntary. Evans said a library was central to a university’s academic standing and walked the talk: He and his wife, Catherene, gave Texas A&M about $15 million, mostly for libraries. The school’s largest library bears his name.
In the same way, Texas A&M continues to benefit from the generosity of the Terrys and the Hugheses.
The late Howard Terry never needed anyone to explain to him the true worth of a college scholarship to a student in need: At one time, he was one of those students.
Howard Terry’s parents owned a small grocery store and filling station in Cameron, Texas, and did not have the resources to send him to college. Fortunately, he was offered an athletic scholarship for football to the University of Texas, where he received a business degree in 1938.
Years later, Howard Terry found tremendous success in the lumber, building, development and financial industries. He served as director and chairman of the executive committee of Penn Central Corporation. He also founded the Terry Companies — a multistate oil and gas corporation.
Nancy Terry is likewise a believer in the power of education. A native of Ogdensburg, N.Y., she attended the University of Rochester’s School of Nursing. So when she and her husband decided that their own financial success offered them the opportunity to help others, they chose to do so in the form of college scholarships.
As of fall 2011, the Terry Foundation had supported more than 2,600 Texas students. It has provided some $32.5 million in scholarship funds to Texas A&M students alone since 1987, primarily in the form of full scholarships. This past fall, 698 students at eight state universities were active Terry Scholars — including about 200 at Texas A&M.
Even with his passing, the number of students supported by Terry Foundation scholarships will continue to grow, as he and his wife created the foundation in the form of a perpetual scholarship program.
Dudley and Dan Hughes’ father was a natural gas pipeline superintendent, and they grew up in the company camp in Palestine, Texas. They both majored in geology at Texas A&M, eventually forming their own company, Hughes and Hughes, where they built a stellar reputation in oil exploration and recovery.
When they eventually decided to divide their company, Dan Hughes’ son, Dan Allen Hughes Jr., stepped in as his father’s new partner. Their business, the Dan A. Hughes Co., is headquartered in Beeville. Dudley Hughes is retired as president of Hughes South Corp. in Jackson, Miss.
Throughout their years in the petroleum industry, Dudley and Dan Hughes watched it change into a business that required individuals to exhibit expertise in a variety of related fields. The education provided to Texas A&M students going into the oil industry, they believed, needed to reflect the realities of this changing industry.
In 2009, the Hughes brothers and Hughes Jr. provided the lead gift for Texas A&M’s Berg-Hughes Center for Petroleum and Sedimentary Systems. The interdisciplinary center brings together research faculty from Texas A&M’s geosciences and engineering colleges, along with scientists and engineers from the energy industry. It supports research and education in petroleum geoscience, sedimentary systems, and petroleum engineering.
Each of the brothers have also previously endowed faculty chairs in geosciences, and Dan Hughes gave a $4 million gift to renovate Military Walk — the pedestrian greenway that links Sbisa Dining Hall to the Memorial Student Center Complex.
Texas A&M Foundation
The Texas A&M Foundation is a private nonprofit organization that solicits and manages investments in academics and leadership programs to enhance Texas A&M’s capability to be among the best universities. To learn more about scholarships, fellowships, and other academic- and student program-focused giving to benefit Texas A&M University, contact the Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org, (800) 392-3310 or (979) 845-8161.
For additional information and photographs, contact Megan Kasperbauer at (979) 845-8161, Ext. 216.