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Bequest to ranching school A&M-K's largest-ever gift

Posted at 8:12 PM, Sep 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-26 23:55:47-04

KINGSVILLE, Texas — Upon an anonymous donor's death, The Texas A&M-Kingsville Foundation will receive land and an endowment currently valued at $20 million, marking the biggest gift the school will have ever received. The gift will go to the college's King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management (KRIRM).

"We're very honored that someone has seen what we do and is willing to pass on something of theirs that's so valuable and can be so important to our mission," KRIRM Director Clay Mathis said of the recent pledge.

All that's known about the ranch is its value, size, and that it's located somewhere in South Texas. The school currently provides students hands-on training through partnerships with area ranches. This gift gives the KRIRM land of its own on which to train students, making its proximity to the school another perk.

"It's close enough that we will be able to utilize it well here in the college," he said.

The institute, which formed in 2003 in commemoration of the King Ranch's 150 birthday, offers the world's only Masters of Ranch Management program. Mathis thinks that's part of the reason the anonymous donor chose the school.

"She found out about the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management through one of our (alums)," Mathis said. "Through that relationship we were able to introduce her to the mission of the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, and she had appreciation of that."

That mission is to teach students how to manage the largest and most complex ranches. The program averages three graduates a year, and graduates currently are working on ranches in 15 states.

It's unclear how or if receiving an 8,000 acre ranch and an endowment of between $3 million and $4 million dollars will effect the institute's enrollment.

"When the King Ranch Institute receives this ranch sometime in the future, we'll be able to put it to great use training our graduate students," Mathis said. "But also offering opportunities for the undergraduate students at Texas A&M-Kingsville as well, to really learn in an applied ranch setting. It'll be a great laboratory for us."

This agreement to transfer land and money upon death is known as a bequest gift. The identity of the donor behind the bequest gift is a mystery. Mathis says the donor doesn't live in Texas, and there are no indications the transfer will happen anytime soon.

"She has a love for the land, and for ranching, and felt like this would be good use of those lands upon her passing," he said.