The Thurman Family Agricultural Endowment at Texas A&M-University Commerce has been established by Steve Thurman and Kelly Thurman. The endowment will benefit students majoring in agribusiness and those participating on the Livestock and Meat Judging Teams.
“The endowment is our small way of supporting Texas A&M University-Commerce as the university equips men and women for the challenges of an agriculture career,” Thurman said.
Generations of the Thurman family have been involved in agriculture from small crop and livestock operations in Northeast Texas to agribusiness projects around the world.
“Agriculture certainly deserves the title of ‘The World’s Most Important Business;’ therefore, everyone acknowledges the importance of supporting the future of the ag industry,” Thurman said.
Dr. Randy Harp, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, stated that on average, a student who graduated in 2016 has about $37,000 in student loan debt. “One of our main goals is to reduce this debt for students as they graduate and embrace a career and a process of lifelong learning,” Harp said. “Scholarships for students are paramount.”
Thurman emphasized that with A&M-Commerce’s location being one of the most productive crop and livestock regions in Texas — as well as being only an hour from the Dallas area, which positions the university to embark on urban farming — the university and college are well-positioned to become a world-class institution of agricultural excellence.
“Kelly and I enthusiastically embrace the endeavors of the university leadership to make A&M-Commerce a world-class institution of agricultural excellence,” Thurman said.
Thurman is originally from Honey Grove, Texas, and received his bachelor’s in agribusiness in 1981 from East Texas State University, now A&M-Commerce. He was active on the Meat Judging Team during his time at ETSU and was the second high-point individual in the nation. He has worked in the global crop production industry for almost four decades and is president of Blue Norther Investments, LLC, a holding company that includes in its portfolio the agriculture consultancy firm 45th& Farm, LLC.
Kelly Thurman has led global sales teams at EDS, Sprint and Bristol Myers Squibb. She co-owns AdviSoar, which offers a program that trains sales professionals on how to sell multi-million dollar contracts. She is also an executive coach committed to developing the next generation of leaders to become executives.