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$1.1 million gift creates Fields Chair in business ethics at Texas State

Date of Release: 10/06/2006

SAN MARCOS —Jerry D. and Linda Gregg Fields have donated $1.1 million to establish an endowed chair in ethics and corporate responsibility in the McCoy College of Business Administration at Texas State University-San Marcos.

The focus of the endowed chair will be the teaching and study of ethical business practices and corporate responsibility to customers, employees, shareholders and the community.

Jerry D. Fields, a 1969 business graduate of Texas State, is founder, chairman and chief executive officer of J.D. Fields & Co., Inc., a worldwide supplier of steel products headquartered in Houston, with regional offices in Dallas, Tulsa, New Orleans, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and Guadalajara, Mexico.

His wife, Linda Gregg Fields, is a 1966 graduate of Texas State.

Fields said, “I was sitting in the courtroom during (former Enron Chairman) Ken Lay’s trial and I heard him testify that people cannot become slaves to the rules. It made me realize that today’s executives think ethics are for other people and don’t apply to them. Right then, I knew that something must be done to teach our business students what ethics really are and who they apply to.”

Denise Smart, dean of the McCoy College of Business Administration, said, “J.D. Fields and Company exemplifies the ethical business practices and corporate responsibilities that are essential in today’s corporate world and that should be an essential part of the curriculum for all future business leaders. We are very grateful to the Fields for their generosity and their loyalty to Texas State.”

The McCoy College of Business Administration at Texas State is named for Emmett and Miriam McCoy, who in February 2004, donated $20 million to the college. Part of that gift was earmarked to match subsequent gifts to establish endowments of $2 million for endowed chairs in the college.

“Someone asked me why I was donating $1.1 million, and I replied that was the amount Lay donated to his university for a chair, and if he could do it with stolen money, I could do it with money made the old fashioned way. I hope my gift will do some good to bring a realization that ethics are at the core of our souls,” said Fields.

Fields was a vice president of the L.B. Foster Co. before leaving in 1985 to establish his own business. He and his wife are well-known philanthropists and are involved with a number of charitable organizations, including the American Cancer Society and the Ronald McDonald House. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Houston Museum of Natural Science. She is on the Ronald McDonald House Board of Directors.

The McCoy College of Business Administration at Texas State includes the departments of Accounting, Computer Information Systems and Quantitative Methods, Finance and Economics, Management, and Marketing. It serves approximately 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students majoring in business or pursuing business minors.

A national search will be undertaken to fill the Jerry D. and Linda Gregg Fields Endowed Chair in Ethics and Corporate Responsibility at Texas State.