A Monument To Service
By Amy Barnett
Aug. 16, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May
The following is reprinted from SHSU's 2009-2010 Annual Report to Donors.
Over the years, much has been written about Ron Mafrige’s generosity and staunch support of Sam Houston State University. True to the university’s motto, “The measure of a Life is its Service,” Ron personifies the leadership and charity inherent to those who have dedicated themselves to helping others.
Quoted in an article published in 2006 announcing the kickoff of the Share the Vision Capital Campaign, Mafrige reflected on his thoughts on giving: “The measure of an individual is what is left behind for your fellow man. I can’t think of a better way to do that than help young people get an education. ”
Since graduating in 1960 and launching a successful career as a real estate entrepreneur, Mafrige has contributed in excess of $2 million to the university. He has also volunteered to lead and participate in a number of Sam Houston organizations and initiatives.
His dedication and unwavering support for Sam Houston has left an indelible mark on the university. From collections of memorabilia to monuments beautifying the campus to endowments to fund scholarships, Ron’s service to others has created a legacy, which will continually benefit the university community as well as the thousands of visitors touring our campus each year.
In 1997, the College of Business Administration auditorium was named in honor of Mafrige in recognition of his 1994 endowment honoring Glenn Adams, the late president of Ron Mafrige Enterprises. The endowment, with commitments totaling $1 million, provides business scholarships for students and funds for the college.
In 2005, Mafrige gave $250,000 to make possible construction of an 11,000 square foot strength and conditioning facility named after longtime football coach Ron Randleman. The center was part of more than $9 million of athletic facility improvements, which also included Don Sanders Stadium (baseball), Bearkat Softball Complex, Ron Mafrige Field House and the Michael McIver Golf Training Center at Raven’s Nest Golf Course.
Mafrige has impacted the very landscape of the SHSU campus. In addition to his support of the Alumni Garden, he has purchased many of the granite benches seen across campus in honor of a number of people.
In 2008, Mafrige donated $40,000 to build the 20-foot-tall statute of General Sam Houston. It stands near the Lowman Student Center and Smith- Hutson Building. He said he wanted to do so to honor both M.B. Etheredge and the statue’s sculptor, David Adickes. Both Sam graduates, Etheredge is the country’s highest decorated surviving soldier of World War II while Adickes created the 67-foot statue of Sam Houston that stands on I-45 south of Huntsville.
As National Campaign Chair, Ron Mafrige led SHSU’s first capital campaign and its Executive Leadership Council. The fund- raising effort generated commitments in excess of $61 million, surpassing the $50 million goal and was achieved nearly a year ahead of schedule.
The five-year Share the Vision Campaign was publicly launched on March 30, 2006, when the $50 million goal was announced. The campaign officially closed on August 31, 2010, with $61.2 million in commitments received from some 21,000 donors who made more than 97,000 gifts.
Services for SHSU alumnus and long-time supporter Ron Mafrige, who passed away Sunday, Aug. 14, will be held on Friday (Aug. 19) at 10 a.m. at Chapelwood United Methodist Church, 11140 Greenbay St., in Houston. The viewing will be on Thursday (Aug. 18), from 5-8 p.m. at Geo H. Lewis and Sons Funeral, 1010 Bering Dr., also in Houston.
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