In January, Beverly and Will O’Hara, BBA ’68, gave $10,000 to The McCombs School of Business Bachelor of Business Administration Student Ethics Advisory Board. The Ethics Board was formed in 2013 by a group of students to represent McCombs BBA students in all issues related to the ethical climate and standards within the college. Working closely with the administration, the Board’s goal is to further develop and maintain the ethical climate in the school.
Will O’Hara recently retired after 10 years as a lecturer for the Department of Accounting. The O’Hara’s gift is a testament of the continued deep commitment they feel for the McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas at Austin, and higher education. In 2008, he and his wife, Beverly, pledged $16 million to McCombs for uses including scholarship and faculty endowments.
We had the opportunity to ask Will about their motivation for the gift to the Ethics Board, their reasons to give in general and how they are doing in retirement.
What motivated you and Beverly to make this gift to the Ethics Board?
I was privileged to have taught the Business Honors Students and became very familiar with their passion for ethics at McCombs. When this new effort was being formed, I met several times with Chris Pavlich during which Beverly and I offered to fund the start-up of this committee.
There are many great attributes to a McCombs degree. This effort hits at the heart of a very important one: integrity, the integrity of a McCombs degree. Prospective employers know that a McCombs degree is earned honestly and that McCombs graduates understand ethical business behavior and will always “do the right thing.” That’s why we have a strict Honesty Policy at McCombs. However, it is not enough to just have a policy. It must be communicated effectively to all students and faculty members and, most importantly, enforced. Unethical behavior cannot be tolerated – there are no misdemeanors. This committee has the promise to see that these efforts continue.
What initiatives have you given to in the past and why should others do the same?
Giving is a personal thing. Without getting into details, suffice to say, Beverly and I continue to support and are active in various things and efforts at the McCombs School, the University and the UT System. We believe that we have an obligation, along with everyone else who benefitted from the great education they received at the University, to give back.
We must preserve and enhance the experience we all had here for future generations. This is especially true now, with the decreasing state funding. As our Campaign for Texas fundraising winds down, there has never been a better time to support The University of Texas. Every gift of every amount matters!
What are you doing now? How is retirement treating you?
I already retired once, from Morgan Stanley in 2000, so I know how to do it. Teaching at McCombs was “hands down” the most rewarding thing I ever did. I was so privileged to get the chance to be a member of our award-winning faculty. There are many things and many people that I miss, but you always know when it’s time to go. I am still very active both at the University level and the McCombs School through various committees and advisory councils.
We are grateful to Beverly and Will O’Hara for their continued generous support of the McCombs School of Business.
For more information on the O’Hara’s and their support of The University of Texas at Austin and the McCombs School of Business, please follow the links below: