STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Honorary doctorates of humane letters are wonderful and distinctive. So is Tarleton State’s spring recipient, Sam Pack, owner and operator of six Five Star dealerships (Pack Automotive Group) in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.
Although an illness forced a change of plans after he started classes at Tarleton in 1956, it never diminished his belief in the power of education or his desire to make life better for others.
“Sam is a dedicated and enthusiastic friend,” said Tarleton President James Hurley. “He gives tirelessly of his time, selflessly of his energy and generously of his resources. His commitment to the good of all is unquestioned. It will be my honor to confer his degree at our May commencement.”
In addition to his North Central Texas dealerships, Pack co-owns six more in Tulsa. In 2018 he cofounded Triton Automotive Group, a collection of like-minded dealers (16 shareholders, representing 200 dealerships).
His business and community leadership earned him the national 1988 TIME Dealer of the Year tribute, one of the auto industry’s most coveted honors. Only one other Texas dealer has received this award, and none since Pack.
The Texas Automobile Dealers Association in 2005 recognized him as an industry Legend — only the second person in the association’s 93-year history so named. And he was one of five dealers inducted into Ford’s inaugural Top Volume Dealers Hall of Fame in 2016.
“An honorary doctorate is Tarleton’s highest recognition,” said Dr. Diane Stearns, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, “and it is fitting that one goes to Sam Pack. He models the university’s core values of excellence, integrity and respect. His love for all people is inspirational.”
Pack supports more than 300 nonprofits, service organizations and community events through Sam Pack Cares, the charitable arm of Pack Automotive. In 2003 he received the Ford Motor Company Salute to Dealers Award, presented by Edsel Ford II, for his commitment to improve communities and the lives of individuals in them.
He has given liberally to Tarleton, too, donating to the university’s food pantry, the President’s Circle and the Dr. James and Kindall Hurley Scholarship Endowment. Then there’s the Tarleton State University Pack Automotive Group Intern Program, providing Texans with learning opportunities that inspire career success.A founding member of The Texas A&M System, Tarleton State is breaking records — in enrollment, research, scholarship, athletics, philanthropy and engagement — while transforming the lives of more than 16,000 students in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Bryan and online. True to Tarleton’s values of excellence, integrity and respect, academic programs emphasize real world learning and address regional, state and national needs.