Ralph B. Rushing scholarship fund created

Italy ranch owner establishes endowment for engineering technology at Texas State University

Daily Light report
Refel Rushing

Longtime education champion and proud Texas State University alumnus Refel Rushing has established a $60,000 endowment for students in the TXST Department of Engineering Technology. Funds from the Ralph B. Rushing Engineering Technology Scholarship will be awarded to undergraduate or graduate students involved in the Concrete Industry Management Program at TXST. 

After Rushing read about some exciting innovations in the concrete industry, he was inspired to encourage research at his alma mater. The combination of hemp stalks with a lime-based binder to create a material that can be cast in the same way as concrete is just one example of recent innovations and serves as an example of possible research avenues for TXST students. 

“He wanted to not only help students with scholarships and tuition — he was also interested in concrete technology research,” said Dr. Anthony Torres, Associate Professor of Concrete Industry Management at Texas State University. “This endowment is an excellent opportunity to reduce the burden of tuition and allow for students to get involved in research.”      

The Concrete Industry Management program began at TXST in 2009, and Texas State continues to be one of only four universities in the United States to offer this degree. 

“This opportunity can give the students an advantage when they get out into the industry — receiving this scholarship and working with a professor on research,” said Dr. James Wilde, Chair, Professor, and Interim Director of the Concrete Industry Management Program. “It is a way for them to stand out among other graduates.”

Scholarship recipients must either be undergraduates pursuing a degree in Concrete Industry Management or graduate students pursuing Master’s of Science with a major in Engineering Management and seeking careers or career advancement in the management of engineering and production activity in the concrete industries. All recipients must be engaged with applied research. Also, a preference will be shown to underserved students from South Texas, where Rushing was raised. 

“This gift will foster an environment of innovation allowing our students to acquire the knowledge and skills essential for Texas State University and beyond graduation,” added Denise M. Trauth, President of Texas State University.

Rushing has been a loyal member of the Texas State Alumni Association since earning his MBA at the San Marcos university in 1972 and is a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Texas State University. He has long been an advocate of providing financial aid in the form of student loans and scholarships to all students needing financial assistance — either to gain access to a postsecondary education or to stay in school to complete their education.

A financial innovator, Rushing distinguished himself for his contributions to student loan financing in Texas and across the United States. He served as President and Chief Executive Officer of LoanSTAR Funding Group, Inc., based in Bryan, Texas, for more than 30 years. Rushing also played a pivotal role in the formation of the Greater Texas Foundation, a public charity dedicated to increasing postsecondary education access for all Texas students and which has awarded more than $104 million in grants since its inception. Rushing served as director of the organization for several years following its establishment and continues to serve as chairman of the foundation board. 

Both at GTF and in Rushing’s personal philanthropic work within the academic world, his focus has been on assisting students from underserved and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities.

“These students represent the largest segment of the Texas population and will be the future business leaders and educators of tomorrow,” said Rushing. “I am especially interested in helping them succeed and pursue innovation in the field of engineering technology.”

Rushing lives on his ranch in North Central Texas, where he raises cattle and pursues a host of interests, including song writing. For more information on Rushing, visit sites.google.com/view/shadowrranch.