COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Two Dallas couples have pledged $250,000 to the Texas A&M Foundation as lead gifts for the Quadrangle Renovation Project Fund to benefit the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University.
|Gerald Ray ’54 (left) and Donald Zale ’55 (right), with their
wives Helaine and Barbara, pledged $250,000 to name the
first floor lobby of the A&M Corps of Cadets Leadership
Learning Center. The $5.75 million center, which connects
Harrell Hall and Lacy Hall, will provide modern learning
technology plus individual and group study spaces for cadets.
Photo credit: Gabriel Chmielewski ’06
The $250,000 gift from Helaine and Gerald Ray ’54 and Barbara and Donald Zale ’55 will name the first floor lobby of the Leadership Learning Center. Construction of the 13,500-square-foot, four-story facility is expected to be finished in August. It is the first new construction on the Quad in 73 years.
Ray is chairman of the investment firm Gerald L. Ray & Associates. Zale, former chairman and CEO of Zale Corp., is president of NewCourse Capital Inc., a private investment firm.
The $5.75 million center, which connects Harrell Hall (dorm 8) and Lacy Hall (dorm 6), will provide modern learning technology plus individual and group study spaces for cadets. It is the first of two identical learning centers the Corps hopes will enhance its top priorities: academics and recruiting. Construction on the second center will begin in fall 2013.
The Foundation is working to raise $5.2 million through naming opportunities in the first center to help fund construction of the second center. Naming opportunities will be available in the second center, as well.
Both centers will include study areas, student lounges, offices, meeting rooms, computer labs and outdoor plazas. The lobby named for the Rays and Zales will include a spacious seating area with a large-screen TV for daily announcements, Corps events and telecasts.
Ray and Zale share a deep friendship that began before their time as cadets at Texas A&M in the 1950s. They have collaborated on numerous gifts to Texas A&M, including scholarships and faculty chairs, which benefit the Corps, Mays Business School and other programs. Ray has been honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University and a Distinguished Graduate of the Mays Business School. Zale played a key role in creating the Mays’ Center for Retailing Studies and was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters from Texas A&M in 2003.
“First, we always look toward what we can do to support students and advance Texas A&M,” said Ray. “The young people in the Corps really have a need for this type of facility.”
Zale added that he found the project to be “a well-conceived idea that would provide the level of support that could push cadets on scholarship to the next level in academic achievement.”
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.