The Start of a Legacy: The First Hankamer
Generous support from the Hankamer family created a lasting legacy for future generations studying at the Business School.
By Justin Walker
Curtis Hankamer, BBA ’37
When you think of Baylor Business, the name Hankamer might come to mind. In 1959, the School received a significant gift from Earl Hankamer, a 1915 Baylor graduate and longtime supporter. The gift covered the construction of a new facility, the Hankamer Building, to house the School. When it opened in 1961, the School revealed its new name: the Hankamer School of Business (HSB).
While Earl is the namesake, his time at Baylor occurred a decade before the Business School opened its doors. Instead, his son Curtis holds distinction of being the first of the Hankamer family to graduate from Baylor’s Business School.
Curtis, born and raised in Sour Lake, Texas, started at Baylor’s School of Commerce and Business Administration in the fall of 1933. In May 1937, he graduated with his BBA and attended graduate school at Northwestern University the following year.
Soon after, Curtis began a 40-year career in the oil and gas industry, serving as an independent operator. During that time, he was also involved in various real estate and banking opportunities and served on numerous boards in the Houston area. Curtis worked his way up the ladder and eventually became president of Great Southwest Oil and Gas Company and later Curtis Hankamer Corporation (CHC) upon its formation.
Curtis and his wife Doris were significant supporters of the Business School. In 1983, the couple provided funds for an addition to HSB, which would house several academic departments and their faculty. Upon Curtis’ passing in 1984, Doris became president of CHC and furthered his legacy, endowing the Curtis Hankamer Chair of Entrepreneurship at Baylor in 1987.
While no longer housed in the Hankamer Building, the Hankamer School of Business is where it is today thanks to the support of Earl, Curtis and many others in the Hankamer family.