Emeritus trustee Spencer Hays '59 of Nashville and wife Marlene have made a $30 million contribution to TCU as a foundation gift for a $100 million expansion of the Neeley School of Business, the university announced today.
TCU also announced that its newest residence hall in the Worth Hills section of campus will be named Marlene Hays Hall in honor of the couple, which previously made the naming gift for the university's 200-seat Marlene and Spencer Hays Theatre in 1998.
“We are grateful to Spencer and Marlene Hays for this historic gift, and for their generosity and support of our university,” said Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. “This monumental foundational gift will pave the way for our Neeley School of Business to continue its upward trajectory by building both facilities and programs comparable to the very best national schools.”
The expanded facilities, which will be called the Marlene and Spencer Hays Business Commons, will include new east and south wings, a central atrium, an office complex, an auditorium and innovative classroom design. All new buildings will be integrated with existing Neeley facilities, which will be fully renovated and set off by a landscaped business quad.
These facilities will solidify Neeley’s position as a premier global business school, said O. Homer Erekson '74, the John V. Roach Dean of the school.
During the 2013-14 academic year, The Economist has ranked Neeley’s MBA faculty No. 1 in the world and the Executive MBA 21st in the world. The undergraduate program also has garnered a number of distinctions, including a 27th national ranking in Bloomberg Businessweek.
“Recognitions like these are elevating the university’s overall academic profile and reputation,” Boschini said.
The Neeley facilities will anchor the Intellectual Commons — the academic core of campus — a part of which is under construction. Like the Neeley facilities, the entire Intellectual Commons has been designed to stir innovation and spur the creation of new ideas through collaborative and inventive teaching, learning and research.
“This is the most significant gift the Neeley School has received to date,” said Erekson. “It will help us build and renovate facilities and enable us to recruit top performers — world-class faculty, staff and students who can further strengthen Neeley’s profile among peer institutions. We are thankful for Spencer and Marlene’s generosity and for the spark it will provide to elevate our programs and facilities, thereby continuing to position Neeley as a top business school.”
The new Marlene Hays Hall, a four-story, 61,000-square-foot facility, opened this month, housing 160 students in two- and four-room suite-style units. It is expected to received a LEED silver certification. The university will celebrate its opening with a dedication on Oct. 15.
"As the university works toward returning to its residential heritage, this building plays an important role in providing an on-campus experience to more of our students," said Kathy Cavins-Tull, vice chancellor for Student Affairs.
Executive chairman of the Southwestern Company, Hays sold books door to door for the corporation before graduating from TCU with a degree in commerce. Hays is involved in businesses in publishing, clothing, insurance, financial planning, school fundraising and real estate, including the Tom James Company, the world’s largest manufacturer and direct seller of custom clothing.
Selling books during the summer during his TCU years set him up for success, Hays said.
“I learned to set high goals, to use good self-talk and to hold myself accountable. Like tens of thousands of other Southwestern alums, I began to deal with the fear of failure and fear of rejection by knocking on all those doors.”
Helping TCU is a passion for his family, he said.
“Marlene and I are very excited that we can help build the future at TCU. We are investing in a space where business, innovation and the principles that drive all our businesses will come together to inspire future generations of students,” he said.
The Hays family has set an example for current and future TCU students.
“Spencer Hays represents the best of what we hope our students become – successful business leaders with a commitment to high moral values and to impacting the lives of others in significant positive ways,” Erekson said.