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Distinguished Alum Gifts Angelo State $1 Million for Academics

November 02, 2023

Angelo State University has received a five-year, $1 million gift from alumnus Kelby Hagar, president and managing director of Argonaut Private Equity, to fund the new Angelo State Academic Excellence Endowment.

Endowment funds will be utilized for faculty, curriculum and student support within ASU’s academic departments, with priority given to the Honors Program and similar programs. Use of the funds will be at the discretion of Dr. Don Topliff, provost and vice president for academic affairs, with approval by ASU President Ronnie Hawkins Jr.

Ronnie Hawkins Jr. Ronnie Hawkins Jr. “This incredible gift will allow us to augment many of our existing academic and leadership programs, as well as implement new initiatives,” Hawkins said. “In turn, we will be able to provide additional opportunities for our students to enhance their education and campus experience so that when they graduate, they will be even better prepared to pursue successful careers and have a positive impact in their communities. Kelby Hagar personifies that success and significance, and we are very grateful for his generosity that will benefit the next generations of ASU alumni.”

Hagar pledged the $1 million gift shortly after visiting the ASU campus earlier this year. While on campus, he met with students in the Honors Program and in the Norris-Vincent College of Business’ Housley Principled Leadership Class.

Portrait photo of Angelo State alum Kelby Hagar Kelby Hagar “I am so pleased with Angelo State’s progress in developing programs to benefit its most accomplished students,” Hagar said. “Both the Honors Program and the Housley Principled Leadership Class are doing an amazing job to provide opportunities to the brightest minds on campus. I hope this new endowment can supply funds to support these worthwhile programs. I would encourage other alumni to get back to campus and meet with some of these incredible students! They are impressive, and they need our support.”

Dr. Don Topliff Dr. Don Topliff “We are so thankful,” Topliff said, “to have such giving alumni in support of academic excellence. We have a great number of students and faculty who will benefit directly from this wonderful gift, including students in the Honors Program and faculty who support student research that raises the profile of Angelo State in our region, the state and the global community.”

A 1992 ASU alumnus, Hagar graduated summa cum laude with his Bachelor of Business Administration degree. He went on to graduate magna cum laude from Harvard Law School with his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in 1995. The ASU Alumni Association recognized him as an ASU Distinguished Carr Scholar Alumnus in 1999.

As president and managing director of Argonaut Private Equity based in Tulsa, Okla., Hagar oversees the firm’s operations team, which assists portfolio businesses in the recruitment of executives, the implementation of enterprise financial and resource management systems, business improvement activities, and executive and board-level governance. Argonaut is currently investing from its fifth fund and has over $1 billion under management.

Prior to joining Argonaut, Hagar founded YellowFolder LLC in 2013 and served as chairman of the board until 2022. YellowFolder develops electronic records management (ERM) software for the K-12 education market and is one of the largest providers of K-12 ERM services in the U.S. He previously founded Digital Witness LLC, which eventually joined with Westec Intelligent Surveillance Inc. to become the nation’s largest provider of remote interactive video monitoring services – and Inc., a pioneer in the online grocery and home delivery business.

Hagar has also served as a corporate attorney in the Dallas office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, a Los Angeles-based national law firm, and as an entrepreneur-in-residence with Hunt Investment Group. He is a member of the Texas State Bar and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants. He and his wife, Shandalynn, reside in Dallas.