With approval from the Texas Tech University System’s Board of Regents at its October 16 meeting, Texas Tech University’s Jerry S. Rawls College of Business has established the E.W. & J. David 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 new institute provides broad support for Rawls College’s thriving banking and finance programs.
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.
Williams and his father, E.W., focused their careers on community banking. Williams, 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.
With his lifelong passion for community banking, Williams’ gift supports scholarships, research, faculty and guest speakers, experiential learning and classroom technology, among other enhancements for banking and finance education.
“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,” Williams says. “Texas Tech’s Rawls College shares that vision through its education of students focused on the banking industry. With the Rawls College’s dedication to educating our future bankers, our vision is to further develop these programs so Rawls College is recognized as a leader in community banking and finance education to both undergraduate and postgraduate students.”
“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,” says 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.”
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 the Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo and subsequently named the 1976 Amarillo Globe-News “Man of the Year.”
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 says. “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.”