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Texas State University

$1 million gift honors Eugene Payne with endowed chair in McCoy College of Business

Inside TXST

Jayme Blaschke | April 14, 2020

payne headshot
Dr. Eugene E. Payne

Miriam McCoy of San Marcos has donated $1 million to Texas State University to establish an endowed chair in the McCoy College of Business. 

The McCoy College of Business Foundation will match the donation, creating a total endowment of $2 million to enhance the research capabilities of the college. 

At McCoy’s request, the endowed chair will be named in honor of Eugene E. Payne, former vice president for finance and administration at Texas State and founding executive director of the McCoy College of Business Foundation. 

“Dr. Payne’s career intersected with Texas State several times over the years, but none more impactful than when he brought us together with Emmett and Miriam McCoy,” said Denise T. Smart, dean of the McCoy College.

Payne began his professional career in the mid-1960s as a management scientist at DuPont. He left DuPont to join Ross Perot in the creation of the Electronic Data Systems Corporation, where he headed the design team for management systems. In the early 1970s, he was recruited to be the director of planning for the creation of a new doctoral-research institution, the University of Texas at Dallas.  

Payne came to Texas State in 1974 as vice president for finance and administration. During his seven years at Texas State he oversaw many accomplishments that would have long-lasting impact on the university:

  • Negotiated the purchase of the 78.5-acre San Marcos Baptist Academy, at the time the largest land acquisition in Texas State’s 100 year history 
  • Initiated and led the effort to establish the Edwards Aquifer Research Center, the university’s first state-funded research center
  • Secured legislative funding for and directed construction of Strahan Coliseum, Freeman Aquatic Biology Building, Bobcat Stadium and the Music Building
  • Worked with student leaders to implement the first student-funded bus system in the state of Texas
  • Led the taskforce that developed the first comprehensive campus master plan at Texas State
  • Secured record back-to-back legislative appropriations for renovations, moving Texas State from last to first among the 30-plus state universities for such funding
  • Started the effort among state universities to amend the state constitution to create a new state funding source. This ultimately made possible the construction of new buildings at Texas State, including Alkek Library, Supple Science Building and McCoy Hall
  • In 1975 initiated the idea, and then co-wrote legislation that essentially “reserved” the name Texas State University for what was then known as Southwest Texas State University. The new name was adopted 28 years later 

In 2000, Payne returned to Texas State to become chair of the Department of Management after serving 12 years as executive vice president and chief operations officer for Financial Industries Corporation (FIC).  During his tenure, FIC earned the recognition of Fortune Magazine as one of the Top 100 Growth Companies in the nation. In 2002, Payne left Texas State to accept the chief executive officer position at FIC, a position he held until his retirement in 2004.

In 2004, Payne came out of retirement to help establish the McCoy College of Business Foundation, which manages endowment gifts and supports fundraising to provide resources that enhance the vision, mission and academic excellence of the McCoy College.   

The generosity of the McCoy family has benefitted Texas State students since 2004 when McCoy and her late husband, Emmett F. McCoy, established the $20 million McCoy Foundation Endowment to support chairs, professorships, fellowships, scholarships and faculty, program and student development in the McCoy College. The endowment was established with a donor matching program designed to encourage new gifts. In recognition of their support, the college was named in their honor and in 2007, the couple was presented with honorary doctorates by the university. 

In 2016, McCoy gave McCoy College a $2 million gift to establish the Emmett and Miriam McCoy Scholars Endowment to support the McCoy Scholars Program. The program provides scholarships of excellence and distinction for high-achieving undergraduate and graduate students in the McCoy College. 

Continuing the family’s legacy of support, Brian McCoy, son of Miriam and Emmett, and his wife, Wetonnah, gave the McCoy College a $1 million gift in 2018 to establish the Dean Denise T. Smart Endowed Chair in Business. 

group of students and professor
Gene Payne (pictured center) with students in the 2016 Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) program.

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922