Scott and Margaret Stahl Continue Lion Legacy at A&M Commerce

February 26, 2024 – Alumnus Scott Stahl and his wife, Margaret, from Sulphur Springs, Texas, have recently presented a generous gift to Texas A&M University-Commerce. The Scott W. Stahl and Margaret Stahl Gift Agreement will provide matching gift opportunities that champion the Greatest Need Fund and Alumni Association memberships at the university.

The Stahl’s Lion legacy spans three generations, including Dr. Jim Stahl, father to Scott, and Jacob, one of Scott and Margaret’s two sons. Philanthropy and a commitment to serving others are integral Stahl family values, evident across the generations. It’s no surprise that Scott’s resonant message to fellow alumni can be summed up in three words: “Just get involved.”

Scott W. Stahl and Margaret Stahl Gift Agreement

Scott and Margaret are both firm believers in the power of engaged alumni, and they designed their gift to incentivize alumni participation. The Stahls will match membership dues for alumni who join the Alumni Association. New members may then direct the matching funds to the TAMUC college of their choice, or to the Alumni Legacy Scholarship or the Lion Athletics Scholarship Fund.

Similarly, when alumni contribute to the Greatest Need Fund at A&M-Commerce, the Stahls’ gift will match the donation. The Greatest Need Fund is especially close to Scott’s heart as it allows the university to quickly respond to students with pressing needs that may threaten their ability to stay in school. The Greatest Need Fund has supported hundreds of students since its inception.

“It’s tough for many families,” Scott said. “Education and living expenses have gotten very expensive, so perhaps the Greatest Need Fund can help in some way. And then, after students get their degrees, move on to other places, and start their careers, maybe they will come back to A&M-Commerce and pay back a little bit of it to others.”

Scott’s Story

Student Life

Scott’s association with A&M-Commerce spans most of his life. He and his family moved to Commerce, Texas, in 1976 and lived just a few blocks from campus. His mother was an elementary school teacher, and his father, Dr. Jim Stahl, was the renowned director of the Zeppa Center at A&M-Commerce (predecessor to the current Morris Recreation Center) for 21 years.

Scott graduated from Commerce High School in 1978, and he felt like it was a natural choice to stay in town and attend A&M-Commerce (known then as East Texas State University, or ETSU).

“ETSU was a great path for me because it was right in my backyard, and my dad worked there. That university has always been very important to me and to them. It was just kind of a natural fit,” he said.

Scott recalled that, even back then, first-year students were required to complete two computer science classes as part of their core curriculum. In those classes, Scott developed an interest in computer programming. At the time, computers were imposing giants, spreading across entire rooms. Yet, Scott jumped in with both feet, learning the inner workings of the big machines and how to make them function.

It turns out he was in the right place at the right time. ETSU was a national leader in computer science education, launching the first undergraduate degree in computer science in Texas in 1971.

“For a small university at that time, they were on the leading edge of technology,” Scott recalled.

A Pioneering Career

In the 1970s, ETSU’s massive mainframe computer performed functions for enrollment, payroll, financial aid, housing and other administrative offices at the university. Scott launched his computer programming career as a student-operator on the machine in the university’s data processing department.

“I had a background in the programming language that we used back then,” he said. “This was back in the old keypunch days, and we’d have to load those card decks and everything on the big mainframe. ”

In 1981, Scott was offered a full-time programming position at ETSU.

“I was probably a junior in college then, and they let me finish my coursework to get my degree, but at the same time, I was working full-time for the university,” Scott said.

Scott graduated from ETSU in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and General Business and spent the next three years as a programmer at ETSU. Then, in 1985, he accepted a job with a tiny new software company in Sulphur Springs called NET Data.

“I was the first hire they ever had, and it was just me and my boss,” he said.

In this role, Scott and his colleague wrote and developed programs for local government operations, including county government offices, court systems and sheriff’s offices.

“We wrote programs and did all the design work, customer support and marketing. When you’re working in a small, young company, you’ve got to wear many different hats. We worked hard,” he said.

After 35 years with NET Data, Scott retired in 2020 as the senior vice president and partner of the company. Under his leadership, the company grew from two employees to more than 75.

Meanwhile, Margaret continues her career as a consultant for independent insurance agencies across the U.S.

Serving TAMUC

Staying Involved

Following retirement, Scott has enjoyed doubling down on his efforts to serve A&M-Commerce.

“Now that I’m retired, I can only mow my yard so many times in a day,” he joked. “So, I decided to become more involved at A&M-Commerce, and I just love it.”

Scott is a member of the College of Business Advisory Board, a director of the A&M-Commerce Foundation Board, and an active member of the Alumni Association. He is also a member of PI Kappa Alpha Alumni Association and chair-elect of the Foundation Board’s Governance Committee. In 2011, the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at A&M-Commerce named him an Alumni Ambassador.

Scott’s philanthropic spirit seems to have been acquired from his parents.

“My parents raised me to be really involved in the university,” Scott said. “It’s very important to them.”

His father has also given generously to A&M-Commerce through service and scholarships over the years. In fact, Scott and Dr. Stahl collaborated to present the university a gift in 2017 to support an outstanding faculty member in the engineering or computer science departments.

A Message to Fellow Alumni

As evidenced by their recent gift, Scott and Margaret firmly believe the university changes for the better when alumni are involved. According to Scott, the first step is to bring former students back to campus to see the great things that are happening here.

“I want to motivate all our alumni to come back and look around,” Scott said. “Sometimes I walk around campus, and I’m inspired by all the improvements. It’s just incredible.”

His message to fellow alumni is simple but direct: “Just get involved. Come to a football game now and then. Come to a basketball game, or just take a tour of the university. Your university is part of your history that doesn’t go away. You’ll always be a part of this place, and you’re always welcome here. We’re proud of what you’ve done, so come back and visit!”

“Maybe just visiting campus will motivate our alumni to do more for the university,” Scott reflected. “Active alumni are sorely needed here.”

A Lasting Impact

The Stahls’ story weaves together the threads of a Lion legacy, a pioneering career in computer programming, and a lifelong dedication to A&M-Commerce. Their transformative gift exemplifies not just a financial contribution but a commitment to nurturing future opportunities through matching gifts.

“Scott and Margaret’s generous gift speaks volumes about their love for our institution and also underscores their dedication to the betterment of our academic community,” said Devin Girod, vice president of Philanthropy and Engagement. “Their leadership is cultivating a culture of giving and engagement among our alumni, which in turn is advancing our university’s mission to transform lives. We are sincerely grateful for their commitment and leadership.”

“Just Get Involved”

Choose your match and make an impact today!

Alumni Association Membership Match:

Greatest Need Fund Match:

Author: Chad Young

Share This Post On