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Giving Streak: McCombs Alum Gives for 40 Years Straight
It took time for Dan McClean, BBA ’64, to figure out just what he wanted to do with his life. But once his calling in sales was confirmed, it took no time for him to decide what to do with the little bit of extra money in his bank account. Now, 40 years on, McClean looks back on what amounts to a lifetime of giving back to the place he says gave him the gift of curiosity.
“I got an education (at the University of Texas),” he says. “But more importantly, I got stimulated. I got curious and that has paid off in my business life.”
Landing on the University of Texas campus, McClean admits to being unprepared for college culture.
“I would say that UT and the United States Air Force were a tremendous growth time for me,” he said. “I wasn’t ready for (UT) at age 18, but it gave me a lot and helped me mature.”
McClean pursued and eventually completed a Bachelors of Business Administration degree at Texas McCombs, but it wasn’t the accounting or data entry courses that captured his interest. He was drawn, instead, to history.
“My favorite class was England Under the Tudors,” he remembers. “I was fascinated by that.”
His interest piqued, McClean began exploring new interests, such as reading. Thanks to the James Bond film “Dr. No”, he was suddenly very interested in the books. Pretty soon, he had read the entire James Bond series by writer Ian Fleming, and, he says, he hasn’t stopped reading since.
That love of reading followed him after graduation from Texas McCombs as he started his career in digital technology sales. From Chicago to Kansas City to Florida and finally to Colorado, where he finally settled with his wife, Susan, that passion stayed with him.
“It’s the funniest thing, to think back on my time at UT,” he said. “Little things will happen. I’ll read or hear a word that is unique and I’ll flash back to when I heard it at UT. Stuff like that happens a lot.”
As his career continued to gain steam, McClean began thinking about what to do with the extra income he was bringing in. It was time, McClean said, to give back. That was in 1981.
“All of a sudden, you look back and it’s been 20, 30, 40 years of giving,” he said. “And as the years go on, you give a little more and a little more until it turns into something significant.”
McClean has given a yearly donation to Texas McCombs for 41 years, a gift which has grown over time.
For McClean, however, it’s just what you do.
“I was the first McClean to graduate from college,” he says. “McCombs opened up the door to my career and I’m just very appreciative of it.”
To future McCombs alumni, eager to begin their lives, McClean has just one bit of advice as they embark on new careers.
“Somewhere in the next 15 years, you are going to reach a point where your income exceeds your needs,” he says. “That’s when it’s time to give back to society. One way to do that is to give back to your alma mater that has given you a chance at a future. One day, you’ll be very glad you did.”
Sara Mitchell Jebaily