News and Events for Texas A&M University-Commerce in East Texas | Distinguished Alumni
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Distinguished Alumni

Distinguished Alumni

The first Distinguished Alumni Citation was awarded in 1967. The Distinguished Alumni Chapter was inaugurated on November 5, 1983.

The purpose of this chapter is to further the interest and well-being of the University, and to foster an appreciation for the rich heritage left by its students, faculty, and administration. We value and honor all our Distinguished Alumni and proudly add four this year.

R. Wayne Chumley, Class of 1976 & 1977, former president and C.E.O. of Chrysler Group (China), has enjoyed an illustrious 24-year career with Chrysler that has taken him throughout Asia and the United States.

Chumley was elected chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce and served four years as president of the USO Council of Korea. Two of Chumley’s proudest achievements in Korea came in 2005 and 2006 when he was selected as an honorary citizen of Seoul by the former mayor of Seoul, and awarded an honorary doctorate in international business administration from Far East University.

Chumley and his wife, Joan, and two daughters Cassandra and Jessica are now back in Texas. Jessica is currently a sophomore animal science major at A&M-Commerce.

W. W. “Chip” Harper, Class of 1970, has more than 40 years of experience in the management of industrial, commercial, and institutional construction, real estate development, logistics, and banking.

Harper has been a successful businessman in numerous businesses including president of H&W Investments Company and Harper, Harper, Harper, Inc. specializing in investment properties.

Harper’s community involvement also includes 10 years of service on the board of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Health Center in Paris.

His commitment to education was honored by the Texas State Board of Education with the Hero of Children Award for his dedication to education, and the Sam Walton Business Leader Award. He served on the Texas A&M University-Commerce Foundation Board, and played an instrumental role in helping the University establish bachelor’s degree programs in both industrial engineering and construction engineering.

In Memory of Dr. Jai Nagarkatti, Class of 1972 & 1976 was a dear friend to A&M-Commerce. A beloved father, husband and leader, he served the employees of Sigma Aldrich Corporations, a $2 billion global life science and high technology company, for the entirety of his career, climbing the ranks from developmental chemist to president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board.

On campus at A&M-Commerce, Nagarkatti was known for his commitment to giving back in relevant and inspiring ways. He and Susan established the Jai and Susan Nagarkatti Graduate Fellowship in Chemistry at the university. The Nagarkatti’s generosity provided the resources necessary for students to pursue scientific research, and catch his enthusiasm for life in the lab.

“I want to inspire the next generation of scientists and chemists,” he said. “Giving back is a great way to accomplish that goal. Just imagine the things we could do if even more alumni gave back.”

Judy Castle Scott, Class of 1968 & 1977, is the director of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Center on Vision Loss in Dallas where she is involved in developing and expanding quality services for persons who are blind or visually impaired.

She was appointed to the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities by former Governor George W. Bush in 1996. In 2007, she was appointed by Governor Rick Perry to serve as the chair of the committee, a position that she still holds.

Scott is a recognized leader and advocate for people who are blind or visually impaired. For her, almost lifelong blindness has never kept her from pursuing or achieving her goals. “Being blind,” she said “doesn’t mean you can’t have vision.”

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