Wayne and Glenda Dayton Endowed Presidential Fellowship

Feb 20, 2013 | EPS/EPF

Wayne and Glenda Dayton believe in the American dream, and they both worked hard to achieve it.

       Wayne and Glenda Dayton

To repay the university they love and to help students realize their own American dream, the Daytons gave a new endowment to the McCombs School of Business, the Wayne and Glenda Dayton Endowed Presidential Fellowship. “We believe in the American dream, in American business, and that education is the foundation of both,” Glenda says. “My UT degree gave me a tool chest of skills that has made it possible for my professional career to evolve along with our lives.” Glenda earned an MBA from Graduate School of Business in 1991. She also got the job offer of her dreams: the position of product manager at Transamerica Funds managing the municipal bond fund in Houston. The only catch: Glenda knew Wayne couldn’t leave their businesses in Austin. Wayne was born an entrepreneur. As a boy he rode his bike around Austin delivering telegrams, newspapers, and prescriptions to help support his mother and younger sister. He graduated high school in 1942 and at the age of 17 enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He didn’t weigh enough to pass the physical so the recruiter told him to eat as many bananas as he could, drink a gallon of milk, and come back in the morning. The trick worked, and Wayne served in the Pacific Theater as a tail gunner on air-sea search-and-rescue operations in the South Pacific and Philippine waters. He returned to Austin after the war with the rank Aviation Ordnanceman, Second Class and the Air Medal for meritorious conduct in flight.

Wayne in his office at the new Wayne Dayton Plumbing, Inc. office at 8501 Research Blvd, 1962.

Wayne attended UT Austin for a while but didn’t graduate. Instead he founded the two contracting companies, Wayne Dayton Plumbing and Wayne Dayton Heating & Air Conditioning, which for more than 30 years grew during Austin’s post-World War II building boom. From 1975 until 1997, Wayne’s nightclubs the Silver Dollar, the Lumberyard, and the Country Palace hosted the best of local and national country music talent, including such names as Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Randy Travis, Kenny Chesney, and George Jones. Willie Nelson’s “Honeysuckle Rose” was partially filmed at the original Lumberyard at 9200 Burnet Road. A man who knows a good opportunity, when Glenda told him about the offer of her dream job Wayne said, “This is what you want, I think you should take the job.” For 11 years Glenda worked and lived in Houston during the week and spent weekends in Bastrop while Wayne ran the Austin businesses, sometimes driving to Houston to take Glenda out to dinner during the week.

Glenda and Wayne backstage at the Lumberyard with Clint Black, 1989.

In 2005, Glenda retired from corporate life as director, product development and product management, for AIM Investments. Now she creates investment materials for a number of financial institutions from their Bastrop home. “We have been blessed with health, happiness, and financial security and have both enjoyed fulfilling professional careers,” Glenda says. “We have been able to meet the challenges that came with those choices, thanks in part to our experiences at The University of Texas.” Through the Wayne and Glenda Dayton Endowed Presidential Fellowship, Glenda and Wayne hope to help prepare scholastically gifted students who have limited financial resources to face the challenges inherent in achieving their own American dream.
The Wayne and Glenda Dayton Endowed Presidential Fellowship was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System on February 20, 2013, to benefit The University of Texas McCombs School of Business. Gift funds were provided by Mr. Wayne and Mrs. Glenda Dayton.

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