Texas A&M University-Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony on December 10 to dedicate the recently built equine pavilion to Mary Bonham, now named the Mary Bonham Equine Pavilion.
“One of the great joys that Jalinna and I have experienced since coming to Commerce a few years ago is getting to know Mary,” said President Dan Jones. “She is such a treasure. She has demonstrated with her life and with her work and with her good deeds that hard work, determination and persistence lead to success. Her generosity has benefitted many students here at A&M-Commerce, and will continue to do so for many years to come.”
Bonham is a native of Sulphur Springs, and her love for A&M-Commerce began when her daughter, Rhonda, attended the university. Her passion for the university only continued when her granddaughter Kristen graduated from A&M-Commerce in 1999. Bonham says she came from modest beginnings, but she worked hard to improve her business opportunities and the community around her. She co-founded the J-B WELD Company with her husband, Sam, in 1968, and today it is one of the most successful businesses in the world, spanning all 50 states and 27 countries.
A great benefactor to the university, Bonham donates her time and money to various causes including numerous scholarships. Her generous donations have helped many students achieve their dreams of pursuing a higher education, and her donation for this pavilion is no different. She said being raised on a farm her whole life made her feel that this was an important investment for her, the university and the students.
“I hope that each student that walks into that arena or rides into that area becomes a wonderful horse person or a teacher or finds some way to gain and provide extra knowledge about agriculture,” said Bonham.