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Buc-ee’s Co-Founder Donates $50 Million to Texas A&M


Buc-ee's co-founder Arch "Beaver" Aplin III | Image by Jeff Wilson

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Buc-ee’s co-founder Arch “Beaver” Aplin III is donating $50 million to Texas A&M to create a new learning center.

Students will be able to study hospitality, retail, and food product development in the Aplin Center, according to a press release from the university. Classes at the center will offer real-world learning experiences, with degree programs including courses in hospitality, food science, food product development, and viticulture (the cultivating and harvesting of grapes).

Aplin graduated from Texas A&M in 1980 with a degree in construction science and built his first Buc-ee’s in Lake Jackson, Texas, two years afterward. His business model included clean restrooms, scores of fuel pumps, a vast selection of food and consumer items, and well-paid employees.

In addition to creating one of the great symbols of Texas culture, Aplin serves as chairman of Texas Parks and Wildlife; a member of the ERCOT Board Selection Committee, the Lieutenant Governor’s Transportation Advisory Board, and the Board of Directors of The Association of Former Students (the official alumni organization of Texas A&M University); and a lifetime member of both the Coastal Conservation Association and the 100 Club of Brazoria County.

This fall, Aplin will be honored by the Mosbacher Institute at the Bush School of Government and Public Service with the McLane Leadership in Business Award for his “inspiring entrepreneurship, business leadership, and commitment to serve the critical needs in the communities he serves.”

University of Texas A&M President Katherine Banks has stated that the Aplin Center will allow students from all disciplines to engage in more entrepreneurial activities.

“Arch ‘Beaver’ Aplin is a true visionary and one of the most creative entrepreneurs I have known,” Banks said. “He remains connected to his university, speaking to many students who share his passion for business and product development. Through this generous gift, he is creating a living, learning laboratory that will provide transformational opportunities for our students. The Aplin Center will positively impact Aggies for generations to come.”

The $50 million gift from Aplin to build the center is one of the largest ever received by A&M from a single donor.

“We want to create a learning, gathering space on the A&M campus that exemplifies hospitality,” Aplin said. “A place where people come together. A place where the Aggie culture can thrive – a happy place.”

Aplin’s first Buc-ee’s opened on July 28, 1982, and this year marks the 40th anniversary of that event. He has expanded his business to five additional states in the last few years and is currently working on five more.

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3 months ago

A writeoff on his income tax. With his name on it, no less.

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