Rawls College of Business has established the E.W. & J. David Williams Institute for Community Banking & Finance and launched the renamed F. Scott Dueser Chair for Excellence in Banking.
At a time when community banking is both greatly needed and severely threatened, Texas Tech University is taking steps to expand its support for the industry. To that end, the Texas Tech University System's Board of Regents approved two measures at its October meeting to benefit the banking and finance programs within the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business.
It renamed the Excellence in Banking Program Director Endowment as the F. Scott Dueser Chair for Excellence in Banking as a way to recruit a high-caliber individual with extensive banking experience to serve as director for the Excellence in Banking Program and it established the E.W. & J. David Williams Institute for Community Banking & Finance, the first named institute in Rawls College, to provide broad support for its thriving banking and finance programs.
Williams Institute for Community Banking & Finance
Made possible by a generous gift from longtime Texas Tech supporter and community bank executive J. David Williams and his wife Amanda, the Williams Institute works hand in hand with Rawls College's Area of Finance. It oversees the Excellence in Banking Program, which provides an intense education to finance students seeking careers in community and commercial banking, and the School of Banking, a well-established program for banking professionals to develop their leadership and banking skills for career enhancement.
"I am deeply appreciative of J. David Williams' belief in the ability of our faculty, staff and students to bring to life his vision for this institute," said Margaret L. Williams, dean of Rawls College. "Establishing the first named institute or center within Rawls College is a big step forward for us, and we are excited to work with David and his family to achieve the goals of the institute."
J. David Williams and his father, E.W., focused their careers on community banking. J. David, a Lubbock native who now resides in Kerrville with his wife, found his start in banking with Citizens State Bank in Slaton and later in the Plainview area. He ultimately served as the chairman of HCSB (formerly Hale County State Bank) before becoming the chairman and CEO of Centennial Bank in Lubbock. Williams also served as chairman of the Texas Independent Bank in Irving and later as chairman of the Independent Bankers Association of Texas. He currently is associated as a director of Happy State Bank in Amarillo and Gulf Capital Bank in Houston.
"My father and I are dedicated to the continued prosperity of the industry that has been so good to us and the communities we have served," J. David Williams said. "Texas Tech's Rawls College shares that vision through its education of students focused on the banking industry. With Rawls College's dedication to educating our future bankers, our vision is to further develop these programs so the college is recognized as a leader in community banking and finance education to both undergraduate and postgraduate students."
Including his father, E.W., in the naming of the institute meant recognizing the Williams family's history and support of community banking. E.W., who grew up in Garza County, began his career immediately after college as an assistant cashier at the First National Bank in Grapevine. After pursuing additional banking education opportunities and certifications, he served in roles with Citizens State Bank, HCSB and FNB New Mexico. E.W. became the president and CEO of Citizens National Bank in Lubbock and later joined Amarillo National Bank.
E.W. also is remembered for his generosity. He was instrumental in establishing Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo, now the Northwest Texas Healthcare System, and subsequently named the 1976 Amarillo Globe-News Man of the Year.
"As multigenerational community bankers in Texas and Northeastern New Mexico," J. David Williams said, "the vision our family has for the Williams Institute at Rawls College is to fulfill our lifelong commitment to our industry and provide for education in community banking and finance to better serve communities in Texas and the Southwest."
The Williamses' gift supports scholarships, research, faculty and guest speakers, experiential learning and classroom technology, among other enhancements for banking and finance education.
Jeff Mercer leads the new institute. Mercer, who continues his roles as the Centennial Bank Chair in Finance and director of the School of Banking, brings nearly 30 years of finance expertise in practice and higher education to the position. His work has appeared in numerous outlets including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, among other national and international publications and news broadcasts. In addition to his academic expertise, Mercer is a partner in McDonald Capital Management LLC.
"The Williams family's legacy of supporting community banking and finance education and research at Texas Tech University is further cemented by this wonderful gift," Mercer said. "David has, for years, been supportive of excellence in banking education for our students and the School of Banking and has wanted to make an impact on all that we do. This gift is a game changer and will help us move closer to being the premier provider of banking education in the country."
F. Scott Dueser Chair for Excellence in Banking
In May 2019, anonymous donors established the Excellence in Banking Program Director Endowment within Rawls College as a way to recruit a high-caliber individual with extensive banking experience to serve as director for the Excellence in Banking Program and support, to the fullest extent possible, the director's salary.
In September, the donors endorsed naming the endowment in honor of F. Scott Dueser because of his dedication and vision to raising financial support for the Excellence in Banking Program, which ensures Texas Tech teaches best practices and West Texas community values to the next generation of bankers. Dueser's tireless efforts helped the program surpass its goal, raising more than $11 million in just nine months.
"Rawls College is honored that F. Scott Dueser's name is now permanently associated with the college and the Excellence in Banking program," said Dean Williams. "Scott pushed us to establish this program to provide a robust pipeline of talent to the banking industry, and he has put all of his support behind it. Working together, we expect this to become the premier banking program in the country; we know Scott will settle for nothing less."
Dueser serves as chairman, president and CEO of First Financial Bankshares Inc. He received his bachelor's degree in finance and accounting from Texas Tech in 1975, then graduated from the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University in 1981. Dueser was named a Distinguished Alumnus by the Rawls College of Business in 2006 and the Texas Tech Alumni Association in 2019.
He has served in various leadership capacities throughout the Texas Tech University System, including four years as a member of the Board of Regents and one year as board chairman. Dueser currently serves on the boards of the Texas Tech Alumni Association and the Texas Tech Free Market Institute and previously served on the board of the Texas Tech Foundation.
Dueser also is active in the banking community and his local community of Abilene. He serves on the board of the American Bankers Association Foundation and is chairman of the Board of the United Way of Abilene Foundation. He previously served as chairman of the Texas Bankers Association and its BankPac, United Way of Abilene, the Cisco College Advisory Board and Day Nursery of Abilene. He has previously served on boards of the American Bankers Association, Abilene Industrial Foundation, Ben Richey Boys Ranch Foundation and the Cisco College Advisory Board.