“Big Red” for sale and Big Red soda for free! On Oct. 25, Red McCombs ’49 came to campus to autograph his most recent book “Big Red: Memoirs of a Texas Entrepreneur and Philanthropist” and Big Red soda was given out for free to accompany the book signing.
“He’s had an interesting life and is an interesting person. He’s definitely had a successful career,” a faculty member said.
This event took place in the Bishop’s Lounge of the McCombs Campus Center which was named after McCombs and his wife, Charline.
The event also included live music performed by Eric Hanke ’01, with free salsa and chips available to attendees.
Students took this opportunity to attend the signing and to meet with McCombs.
“I came because I wanted to buy the book and get it autographed to give to my dad for Christmas,” senior Kristyna Uhles said. “I might give it to him early and not wait until Christmas, I get really excited about giving gifts and I want to give the book to him.”
In addition to students, individuals from the Georgetown community and groups from various cities across Texas came to campus to meet McCombs and get his autograph.
“My husband and I drove from Marble Falls to come see Mr. McCombs,” an attendee said. “I was a student at Southwestern in the ‘70s and I appreciate that he’s helped this school continue to be a success.”
The book depicts McCombs’ beginnings in the town of Spur, Texas and recalls his successful business ventures and generous contributions to various organizations. He began selling peanuts at the age of ten and then steadily grew into financial success through car sales.
After attending Southwestern and then UT Austin, McCombs built multiple businesses that dealt with a great variety of goods and services.
His various businesses included cattle, oil and gas, insurance, horse racing, films, real estate, and professional sports.
He co-founded Clear Channel Communications and at two different times owned the San Antonio Spurs, as well as other professional sport teams.
With his success also came great benevolence. McCombs and his wife have given their financial support, adding up to over 8 million dollars, to Southwestern.
Their generosity has also been extended to UT Austin and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
“I work at Creative Services and we all wanted to come to
support Red McCombs and show him our appreciation,” senior Rebecca Bennett said.
He and his wife met at Southwestern and were married in 1950.
He has served on the Southwestern’s Board of Trustees, was Chair of the Board twice, and served as an honorary chair of Thinking Ahead: The Southwestern Campaign. Mrs. McCombs was an inaugural member of the Board of Visitors.
The university has previously recognized their contributions with the President’s Philanthropy Award in 2006, honorary doctorates, and the SU Medal.