new Neeley complex

Spencer and Marlene Hays make gift for ‘visionary’ expansion of TCU’s Neeley School of Business

Salesman Spencer Hays of Nashville and his wife, Marlene, have made a generous
$30 million gift to Texas Christian University. The gift is a foundation gift in a
$100 million facility expansion for the
Neeley School of Business. 

August 26,  2014

By Elaine Cole

An Emeritus TCU Trustee, Spencer Hays graduated from the University with a B.S. in Commerce in 1959. The couple previously made the naming gift for TCU’s Marlene and Spencer Hays Theater.

“We are grateful to Spencer and Marlene Hays for this historic gift, and their generosity and support of our University,” said Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. “This monumental foundational gift will pave the way for our Neeley School of Business to continue on its upward trajectory by building both facilities and programs comparable to the very best national schools.”

The new expanded facilities, which will be called the Spencer and Marlene Hays Business Commons, will include new east and south wings, a central atrium, an office complex, an auditorium and innovative classroom design. All new buildings will be integrated with existing Neeley facilities, which will be fully renovated, and will be set off by a landscaped business quad.

These facilities will solidify Neeley’s position as a premier global business school. In just two of many outstanding recognitions, The Economist has ranked Neeley’s MBA faculty 1st in the world and the Executive MBA 21st in the world. The undergraduate program also has garnered a number of distinctions, for example, a 27th national ranking in Bloomberg Businessweek.

“Recognitions like these are elevating the University’s overall academic profile and reputation,” said Chancellor Boschini. 

The Neeley facilities will anchor the Intellectual Commons — the academic core of campus — now under construction. Like the Neeley facilities, the entire Intellectual Commons has been designed to stir innovation and spur the creation of new ideas through collaborative and inventive teaching, learning and research.

“This is the most significant gift the Neeley School has received to date,” said Dr. O. Homer Erekson, the John V. Roach Dean of the Neeley School of Business at TCU. “It will help us build and renovate facilities and enable us to recruit top performers — world-class faculty, staff and students who can further strengthen Neeley’s profile among peer institutions. We are thankful for Spencer and Marlene’s generosity and for the spark it will provide to elevate our programs and facilities, thereby continuing to position Neeley as a top business school.”

Hays is involved in businesses in several fields, including publishing, clothing, insurance, financial planning, school fundraising and real estate. They include the Tom James Company, the world’s largest manufacturer and direct seller of custom clothing. He is Executive Chairman of the Southwestern Company, where he began a lifetime profession of direct selling as a TCU student selling books door to door for the company.

He attributes his success to the lessons learned during the four summers he sold books while he was a TCU student. Hays said, “I learned to set high goals, to use good self-talk and to hold myself accountable. Like tens of thousands of other Southwestern alums, I began to deal with the fear of failure and fear of rejection by knocking on all those doors.” He continued, “Marlene and I are very excited that we can help build the future at TCU. We are investing in a space where business, innovation and the principles that drive all our businesses will come together to inspire future generations of students.”

Dean Erekson noted, “Spencer Hays represents the best of what we hope our students become – successful business leaders with a commitment to high moral values and to impacting the lives of others in significant positive ways.”