Student access to the latest high-tech building information modeling hardware and software at Texas A&M is one of the continuing benefits of a $1 million endowment created to honor the late Charles McMullan ’58, a former associate professor of construction science.
The approximately $25,000 the department receives from the endowment each year “is a real difference maker,” said Joe Horlen, who holds the Charles Dewey McMullan ’58 Endowed Chair in Construction Science.
Unlike some endowments, the McMullan Chair’s funds aren’t specifically tied to research or teaching, so Horlen, who heads the Department of Construction Science, can use the funds where they’re needed most, such as to establish and maintain the department's Building Information Modeling Computer-Aided Virtual Environment, or BIM CAVE — an immersive environment to create and view building information modeling simulations — or for departmental travel, or faculty membership in professional organizations.
“I can make extra trips to promote the college and purchase equipment that directly benefits the students, and if you ask me, that is an apt tribute to Charles,” said Horlen.
The endowment honors McMullen, who acquaintances hail as a perfect example of an honest, hard worker. He grew up on the family farm in Tupelo, Texas, and was the first of his family to attend college. Like many students in his era, he hitchhiked from his hometown to College Station, where he worked to put himself through school. He joined the U.S. Air Force after completing his studies as a distinguished military graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Construction.
His military career took him around the world, serving in various engineering capacities for 21 years. He received a number of commendations and eventually retired as a lieutenant colonel.
Along the way, he also earned a master’s degree in architectural engineering. After leaving the military, he returned to College Station, joining the construction science faculty at Texas A&M, where he taught for 18 years.