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Charlie Amato

Former neighbors of current university President James F. Gaertner and his wife, Nancy, while students at SHSU, Ron and Ruth Blatchley helped provide one of the university's most noticeable new features, the Bell Tower .

The former owners of more than 12 McDonald's restaurants in the Bryan/College Station and Houston areas during an 18-year period, Ron received both his bachelor's and master's degrees from SHSU in 1968 and 1969, respectively.

He also served four years in the US Air Force, was the director of student affairs at Texas A&M University for 14 years, was mayor of Bryan from 1983-1985, and currently owns a residential construction company in Bryan that builds homes in Brazos and Grimes counties.

In addition, he serves on the board of directors of First National Bank of Bryan/College Station and has been the recipient of such awards as the 2001 Newman Award for an outstanding businessman in Bryan/College Station, 1998 Outstanding McDonald's Partner for the top 20 franchise owners in the world and “Top Rookie Owner/Operator” in McDonald's of Texas, among many others.

A “Realtor of the Year,” Ruth, owned a real estate company with two partners in Bryan/College Station for 10 years. She also was active in numerous organizations in the area.

She became one of the first women in the Houston Region to become a licensed owner/operator of McDonald's restaurants when she and her husband went into partnership in their 12 franchise restaurants, where she was an active participant in the day-to-day operation and also served as president of the Houston Region Operator's Association. Ruth retired in 2002.

In addition to being a significant donor to the Bell Tower , the Blatchleys also provided a clock in the Alumni Garden , beside the Lowman Student Center .

They have one daughter, two grandchildren and a great grandson.

As profiled at the October 13, 2006 Distinguished Alumni Banquet

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