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Giving Stories

A Former Professor Understands the Importance of Student Research

With a planned gift that includes nearly 102 acres in the Hill Country as well as financial support from his estate, Grady Early is advancing Texas State’s research efforts in forensic anthropology for generations to come. Department of Anthropology Chairman Elizabeth Erhart says this is a transformational gift as it helps the university recruit top students, support laboratories with state-of-the-art technology and conduct experimental research in an outdoor laboratory setting. Texas State’s Forensic Anthropology Program and the Department of Anthropology use the donated land for education and research. The gift also positions the department to develop a first-rate doctoral program in applied anthropology.

Early, who taught mathematics and computer science at Texas State from 1971 until 2000, became an impassioned student of anthropology at a time in his life when many others are contemplating retirement. One of the courses he took as a student at Texas State was an introduction to cultural anthropology, taught by Dr. Erhart. “I guess you could say this is all Beth Erhart’s fault,” Early says with a smile. “She was just fantastic. I remember sitting in that first class and thinking, ‘This is really cool!’”

Early has made previous donations to the Forensic Anthropology Program at Texas State, and the Forensic Anthropology Research Laboratory on campus bears his name, but the prime Hill Country real estate that comprises his most recent contribution is significant and provides opportunities for graduate student research.

“While Dr. Early’s first academic love was computer science,” says Dr. Erhart, “after his retirement he came to anthropology with an insatiable curiosity and love for learning. He was inquisitive and thoughtful in his anthropological studies, and he continues to invest in anthropology with his mind, his heart and his generosity.”

A Distinguished Alumnus Leaves His Mark

With their endowment to the Emmett and Miriam McCoy College of Business Administration Development Foundation, Daymon and Patricia Muehl are helping to grow future generations of dependable, responsible and self-motivated citizens at Texas State.

“Texas State provided an environment that gave me independence to make decisions on my own,” Daymon said before his death in 2013. “I had the opportunity to learn and grow as a person, and make lifelong friends.”

A 2010, Distinguished Alumnus at Texas State, it comes as no surprise that Daymon’s classmates voted him “Most Dependable” for the 1960–61 school year; for more than 30 years, his generosity to the university has helped build solid foundations for the future.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Daymon moved to Houston and began a distinguished career with Humble Oil & Refining Company, now ExxonMobil Corporation, where he spent 34 years working in Texas, Oregon, Washington and, in 1969, Los Angeles, California, where he met the love of his life, Patricia.

In 2007, the McCoy College presented Daymon with a Beta Gamma Sigma Chapter Honoree Award in recognition of his professional achievement. Room 224 in McCoy Hall was named the Daymon Muehl and Patricia Muehl Classroom in honor of the couple’s many contributions.

The Muehls’ estate gift benefits student development, undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, and student leadership awards for the university’s SIFE and AAF national competition teams, as well as innovations in teaching, applied business centers, recognition awards for student excellence and other areas that advance student success at the McCoy College of Business.

More Donor Stories



Through an unusual endowment, two gifted writers have created awards and a retreat for future gifted writers at Texas State.

L. D. Clark and his late wife LaVerne Harrell Clark were both members of the Texas Institute of Letters. L. D. is a writer of novels and short stories (A Bright Tragic Thing, Lone Journey and Other Questing Stories) who taught English for many years at the University of Arizona and other institutions. LaVerne was a novelist, folklorist and photographer (Keepers of the Earth, They Sang for Horses) who founded the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Works of both of them focus on the Southwest.

The L. D. Clark and LaVerne Harrell Clark Literary Endowment will benefit the couple’s two passions – literature and Southwestern studies. With the university’s outstanding creative writing program in the Department of English and its Southwestern Regional Humanities Center, L. D. Clark says that Texas State seemed a natural choice.

The couple committed to the university their family treasures – their ranch in Bastrop County and their home in Smithville. The land had been in LaVerne’s family since shortly after the Civil War, so the decision to contribute it was not made lightly.

The sale of the 240-acre ranch created the endowment, which will fund two annual awards to be given at the Texas Institute of Letters banquet, and the recipients will reside in the home as writers-in-residents for four to six months.

“This is a gift whose stewardship we take quite seriously,” said Tom Kowalski, chair of the Development Foundation in accepting the gift. “We believe the donors have chosen wisely by entrusting us with it.”



After their parents died, the children of Azalete and Byron Little could think of no better tribute to them than to endow a scholarship in their name.

The Dr. Azalete and Byron Little Endowed Scholarship benefits current and future students who major in family and consumer science, show financial need and keep up their grades.

The choice of family and consumer science was obvious: After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, Azalete taught home economics at Texas State for 24 years while rearing her four children with her husband, a longtime assistant manager of the popular Wuest’s Grocery Store. Twice she served as chair of her department. Azalete retired in 1977.

“Mother’s courses were always very popular, even with non-majors,” remembers daughter Judy. “She was a great teacher, for one thing, and she taught sex education! Students loved her. It wasn’t unusual to see students staying at our house until they found a place to live.”

In this way, the children – Jan Little, Laredo, Class of 1961; Karen Little, Canyon Lake, Class of 1966; Judy, San Marcos, Class of 1969; and Byron Jr., Fayetteville, Ga., Class of 1972 – were also giving back to their own alma mater. The daughters chose teaching as a career and the son chose the Air Force. Daughter Judy has taught family and consumer science at Texas State for 34 years.

The couple who were remembered for affecting the lives of many people will continue to affect lives for years to come.



Endowing a scholarship is Madeleine Manford’s way of supporting future generations and creating a legacy that will outlive her.

Madeleine graduated from Taylor (Texas) High School during the turmoil of World War II and married Travis Manford after the war. They moved to Luling, where Madeleine worked in secretarial positions for several years before deciding to go to college. She’s been a lifelong learner ever since.

She earned her bachelor’s degree at Texas State in 1966 and began teaching English and history in Luling. After receiving her master’s in 1972, she chose to study only the things that interested her. She retired from teaching in 1991 and continues to study and travel extensively.

“I believe we are committed to helping those around us, to living a life that matters and making an impact,” she says.

To that end she established the Madeleine Teaff Manford Endowed Scholarship, funding the award with a combination of resources, from a planned gift to a stock transfer and outright cash gifts. The scholarship will benefit Taylor and Luling high school graduates with priority given to students who plan to study engineering.

“By selecting seniors from specified regional high schools, Mrs. Manford has shown her vision of a Texas made stronger by education,” says Harold Stern, director of the Ingram School of Engineering at Texas State. “Her endowment has helped strengthen our student body, our engineering program and Texas State University.”