Donation funds SFA center, supports entrepreneurial spirit in East Texas
NACOGDOCHES — During its quarterly meeting this week, the Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regents approved the naming of a new academic center and facility in the university’s Rusche College of Business after Greg Arnold ’87, CEO of TAC – The Arnold Companies, whose significant donation is being used to establish the center.
Officially launched this summer, the Greg Arnold Center for Entrepreneurship will be housed in a remodeled space in the McGee Business Building beginning January 2023. It’s managed in cooperation with entrepreneurship program faculty members in SFA’s Department of Management and Marketing.
“The establishment of the Greg Arnold Center for Entrepreneurship will enable new collaboration across a variety of academic disciplines as well as new avenues for partnership with businesses and industry throughout the state,” said SFA Interim President Dr. Steve Westbrook. “The activities and opportunities this center will create are almost limitless in scope. This is the right type of initiative at exactly the right time, and all of us at SFA are grateful for Greg Arnold’s dynamic leadership and vision.”
Arnold said he hopes the center will help SFA students develop the skills to not only create successful businesses of their own but also assist East Texans and SFA alumni in building and sustaining their businesses.
“Having the opportunity to give back to those who supported me early in my life such as SFA makes this journey much more worthwhile,” Arnold said.
“Helping create the Center for Entrepreneurship at SFA benefits students, businesses and many Texans. The like-minded nature and collaboration that can grow out of a place with the right resources will be compounded to those learned in the traditional classroom.
“It is my hope we keep growing the spirit and action of Lumberjacks for many years in order to build the communities we call home in East Texas and across the great state of Texas,” he added. “By creating and supporting SFA through the Center for Entrepreneurship, we can make a bigger impact together.”
TAC – The Arnold Companies is a multi-business company built on a foundation of wholesale petroleum distribution and aviation services. It consisted of nearly 1,000 employees under the names TACenergy, TAC Air and TAC Private Hangars until July 1 of this year when the aviation companies were acquired by Signature Flight Support, the world’s largest network of fixed-based operators. After more than 30 years with TAC, Arnold continues to lead company growth with 150 employees in 13 U.S. offices featuring TACenergy LLC and several private investment entities.
Outside TAC, Arnold serves as vice chair of the All Stars Project of Dallas, which provides corporate business learning to area students through the Dallas Development School for Youth program. He also partnered with Food Glorious Food catering to provide nearly 5,000 meals to environmental services workers at Children’s Medical Center in Plano and Dallas during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Arnold has served on the boards of the National Petroleum Council, National Air Transportation Association, National Business Aviation Association and higher education institutions in North Texas. He also has provided long-term support to Carry The Load, a nonprofit organization that assists service members, veterans, first responders and their families.
Arnold received a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from SFA in 1987. He shares the knowledge he’s gained through his support of startup and launching companies across many sectors with SFA students by participating in the SFA Leadership Summit and other events.
“His generosity and vision are set to dramatically enhance the role of SFA and the Rusche College of Business as drivers of economic development in East Texas,” said Dr. Tim Bisping, dean of the College of Business. “We are grateful to Mr. Arnold for making possible the launch of this visionary model by which alumni, faculty, staff, students and the community can work together to promote entrepreneurial activity. The center will provide our students, faculty and staff with amazing opportunities for professional growth and development.”
Initially, the center will offer mentoring, scholarships and internships for students; travel to competitions and field trips; support for SFA’s Society for Entrepreneurial Advancement; and funding for the campuswide Lumberjack Entrepreneurship Competition inspired by the ABC TV show “Shark Tank.”
The center also will advance its mission through services provided to East Texas businesses by center staff, faculty members and SFA students under the direction of faculty members.
“This gift enables SFA to expand our transformative educational opportunities while providing a much-needed resource to future and existing entrepreneurs in the East Texas region,” said Karen Gantt, chair of SFA’s Board of Regents.
For information on SFA’s entrepreneurship program, visit sfasu.edu/mgtmkt. For information on donating to SFA, visit sfasu.edu/giving.