Oncor Electric Delivery Company representatives visited A&M-Commerce on September 27 to present a check in support of the Dr. Roger & Mrs. Jean Arnold Agriculture Scholarship Endowment.
The contribution marks the continuation of a long-standing partnership between Oncor and the university. According to Area Manager Larry Willis, “Oncor has always supported the university in its endeavor to provide a high-quality education, and this partnership is very important. It is an honor for us to have such a high-quality university in our service territory.”
Derryle Peace, director of alumni relations at A&M-Commerce, explained that the university's relationship with Oncor goes back more than 50 years. “Since the 1960s, ETSU alum Garland Button served as an advocate for our university. As executive vice president for operations at Oncor (known then as Texas Power and Light) and chairman of the East Texas State Board of Regents, Mr. Button took a strong interest in hiring A&M-Commerce graduates.
In addition to Oncor's contribution, a generous community of alumni, friends and mentees have worked together over the past four years to support the Arnold initiative. Their combined contributions raised the Arnold fund to endowment status, which means an annual scholarship will support deserving agriculture students for generations.
According to Amber Countis, A&M-Commerce director of donor relations, the collaborative effort illustrates the powerful impact of a community that comes together for a worthy cause. “This is a true community effort,” Countis said. “Everyone rallied together because of their love and respect for Dr. Arnold. This is a great gift that has touched many people.”
A recent news article explained that Dr. Roger Arnold positively influenced thousands of East Texas State University students throughout his 26-year career. Through the endowment that bears his name, Dr. Arnold will continue to help raise new “crops” of agricultural professionals at A&M-Commerce.
Dr. Randy Harp, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at A&M-Commerce, expressed his appreciation on behalf of his agriculture students. “Scholarship awards such as this are invaluable for students, enabling them to attend college and complete the necessary steps to reach their dreams,” he said.
A&M-Commerce President Mark Rudin emphasized that the partnership with Oncor supports the university's new strategic plan to continually build and strengthen relationships with the surrounding community. “We can't tell you how much we appreciate that Oncor is a partner with us,” Rudin said. “We can't tell you how important that is for the students.”