As a young man growing up in Depression-era Port Arthur, Texas, George McCoy rarely traveled beyond the confines of the Gulf Coast region he called home. "I'd never been east of Lafayette, Louisiana," he remembers, "or much west of Houston."
George never could have imagined that life would lead him to exotic nations like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore. On the other side of the globe, he would build a career, a life and a family, experiencing horizons far broader than any he could have conceived before coming to Baylor.
Similarly, his wife, Carol, might never have imagined as a young woman growing up in Malaysia that someday she would help run an oil business in Thailand, move to the United States and, eventually, become a fan and benefactor of the world's largest Baptist university.
George was the first in his family to attend college. Although George grew up a fan of another Texas university, God chose Baylor for him, which led to his earning a degree in history. George's post-graduate plans for a teaching career changed when he actually began teaching, and he eventually discovered that God had mapped out a different road for him to travel in the oil business. He began at Conoco, then moved to Mobil and Texas-Pacific, which led him to southeast Asia in the 1960s.
It was in this corner of the world that he met Carol. After they were married, George and Carol become partners in business as well as in life.
Investing in People
Together, they ran their own company - Oil-Tex Thailand Co. Ltd., a machine shop and oil field service business in Bangkok and Sattahip that served oil companies throughout Thailand and surrounding countries. Their pride in what they built goes far beyond profit. In fact, they say they received the most joy from investments made in people.
"We were able to bring people in, teach them a trade and teach them English," Carol says. "We paid them good salaries, which helped them build a future. When we retired, we were able to share the profits with them. So many of them have written to us since then to tell us how it changed their life."
Years after retiring and moving back to Texas, the McCoys are still investing in people. Last year, they established the George and Carol McCoy Endowed Scholarship Fund for undergraduate students in the Hankamer School of Business. Through a charitable gift annuity, they formed the merit-based scholarship, which will help defray the costs of a transformational Baylor education for students studying entrepreneurship and corporate innovation.
"What do I owe Baylor?" George asks rhetorically. "Well, it was Baylor that gave me opportunity. My pastor said recently, 'God doesn't expect you to do something unless he gives you the tools with which to do it.' Coming to Baylor, for me, was a tool that enabled me to do so much. So was marrying Carol. Now, we want to provide deserving students with that same opportunity. Studying at Baylor can be a tool for them to do meaningful things in their own life."