Texas A&M International University students from Maverick County will receive a special gift this holiday season. Two longtime supporters of higher education have pledged their support for a generous endowed scholarship for Maverick County students.
Brian E. and Sandra O'Brien and A.R.Sanchez Jr., have pledged $100,000 each to fund the Brian E. and Sandra O'Brien Endowed Maverick County Scholarship Fund.
The $200,000 Endowed Scholarship Fund was announced at a press conference held at the University's Great Room in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library Wednesday, Dec. 13.
Both the O'Brien and Sanchez families have a long-standing history of support for higher education and said that they wanted to afford students from Maverick County an opportunity to study at Texas' newest University.
"Maverick County has figured prominently in our individual and shared business successes and we believe this is a fitting return of our good fortune. We hope this will encourage many Maverick County residents to begin or continue their higher education studies at A&M International," said Brian E. and Sandra O'Brien and A. R. Sanchez in a joint statement.
President Charles Jennett said the University is honored by the O'Brien-Sanchez partnership and looks forward to helping Maverick County students realize their higher education dreams.
"In this, our 30th Anniversary of service to higher education in South Texas, we are honored by the vision and generosity of these two champions of higher education. We look forward to helping many Maverick County students realize their higher education dreams at A&M International," Dr. Jennett said.
Students receiving the scholarships will be known as O'Brien Scholars and will receive funding to help cover the cost of tuition, books and fees for study at A&M International.
They must be residents of Maverick County, meet all University admission requirements, meet a pre-established SAT or ACT score or be in the top 30% of their graduating class and maintain an appropriate GPA throughout their course of study. The Scholarship is renewable as the student continues to meet established criteria.
O'Brien is active in oil and gas exploration and production and also has ranching and livestock operations in Maverick County. He and A. R. Sanchez Sr. and A.R. Sanchez Jr. were founders of what became Sanchez O'Brien Oil and Gas Company.
Currently, he is co-founder and owner of Saxet Petroleum, and possesses one of the best exploration track records in the oil and gas industry. He has been involved in the discovery of more than 1 TCF of gas and 17 MMB of oil, from reserves located almost entirely in South Texas, Saxet's primary focus area.
O'Brien holds a B.S. and M.S. in Geology from the University of Oklahoma and remains an active member of that University's Alumni Advisory Board to the School of Geology and Geophysics.
He is a director of the Maverick County Independent Water District in Eagle Pass and was vice chairman of the Search for Excellence, University of Oklahoma and is a member of the executive committee of the University of Oklahoma Foundation.
He is a member of the steering committee for Brookwood Community of Brookshire, Texas, the Houston Petroleum Club, Texas Historical Society, Texas Wildlife Association, Beefmasters Breeders Association and the Range Management Association, among others.
He and his wife Sandra are the parents of five adult children and grandparents of eight grandchildren.
A Laredo native, A. R. Sanchez Jr., his father the late A. R. Sanchez Sr. and O'Brien established the Sanchez-O'Brien Oil and Gas Corporation, now known as the Sanchez Oil and Gas Corporation.
In addition to his duties at Sanchez Oil, Sanchez is the largest shareholder in International Bancshares Corporation, a $5 billion asset bank-holding company with 98 locations in 28 cities.
He holds a Bachelors and Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from St. Mary's University and its School of Law. In addition to his business ventures, he is a member of the University of Texas System Board of Regents, and a member of the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence, LBJ Foundation, Governor's Business Council, Conoco, Inc. and the Texas Water Foundation.
He is a member of the American Petroleum Institute, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the InterState Oil and Gas Compact Commission and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. He is a former member of the National Council of La Raza and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund.
Locally, he is a member of the Board of Directors of Bethany House and the St. Patrick Church Men's Club.
For additional information on the Brian E. and Sandra O'Brien Endowed Maverick County Scholarship Fund and other partnership opportunities, please contact the Office for Institutional Advancement at 956.326.2175.
Students seeking application information and procedures should contact the Office of Financial Aid at 956.326.2225.
University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. University offices will be closed for the holidays Dec. 21-Jan. 1 and reopen at 8 a.m. on Jan. 2.
Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at firstname.lastname@example.org