Texas Tech University

Wrapped in Success

January 25, 2024

Wrapped in Success

A gift from the Dorris family will support students and faculty in the Area of Marketing and Supply Chain Management.

For many students, deciding to pursue a college education provides opportunities to discover, explore and evolve their passions.

Paige Kram, a supply chain management student at the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business, was not sure what she wanted to do her first year at Texas Tech University

After a few different paths, she connected to supply chain management through advice from friends and family and has not looked back.

Kram was drawn to the diverse career opportunities supply chain management could provide and quickly began building relationships with professors who saw she had a natural grasp of the concepts.

Supply Chain Internship
Supply Chain Internship

“I felt like it would kind of give me a variety of options if I wanted to be at a desk or walking around doing stuff,” Kram said. “But so far what I've liked most about the supply chain program is definitely my teachers.”

Kram's fondness for her professors is a sentiment shared by many students at Texas Tech. Additionally, hiring and retaining dedicated and highly qualified faculty members is a core priority for Rawls College and those who support it. 

Hank Dorris, a 1985 graduate of Rawls College, had the opportunity to see the importance of strong faculty members through his own college experience and while serving on the Rawls College Advisory Council. 

“I'm so grateful for the tremendous experience at Texas Tech that I wanted to give back,” Dorris said.

Hank and Meredith Dorris with Texas Tech Baseball Head Coach Tim Tadlock
Hank and Meredith Dorris with Texas Tech Baseball Head Coach Tim Tadlock

Dorris spent his career working in supply chain management. After graduating from Texas Tech, Dorris and his father purchased Specialty Packaging, a company which manufactures packaging for fast food, convenience stores and casual dining. You might have come across some of his work if you ever unwrapped a food item that comes in the classic foil wrapper from Sonic, Wendy's, Dunkin' Donuts and more. 

As Dorris prepared to give back to Texas Tech, he combined his time in an advisory capacity for Rawls College with his firsthand experience in supply chain management through Specialty Packaging. These factors led Dorris and his wife, Meredith, to establish the HB and ML Dorris Family Supply Chain Management Fund.

The gift from the Dorris family will allow for new faculty hires in supply chain management at a time where the program is experiencing rapid growth. From the fall of 2022 to the fall of 2023, enrollment in the department more than tripled from 86 to nearly 300 students.

With more faculty, the department will not only provide students with the highest-quality education but also will allow for those professional connections that help students like Kram find their niche in the industry.

“Texas Tech is now offering classes that are very specific to sales, supply chain and interpreting data,” Dorris said. “These classes prepare the kids for what's really expected of them.”

During his time at Texas Tech, Dorris said programs like supply chain management were not as readily available as accounting, finance or other marketing classes. Today's students have the opportunity to take specialized classes, allowing them to hone their skills and interests.

“I just hope that the gift gives other kids an opportunity and real-world experience before they hit the job market,” Dorris said.

One of the students taking advantage of the opportunity to gain this real-world experience is Kram.

Through the encouragement of her professor, Matthew Belford, MBA, Kram took the opportunity to attend a professional development conference in spring 2022 at Ulta headquarters in Chicago. During the conference, Kram toured Ulta's corporate facilities which included a distribution center and a mock storefront. Several breakout sessions walked students through different product marketing strategies, interview and communication skills, conflict management and career development advice.

Women in Supply Chain Conference
Women in Supply Chain Conference

A highlight of the trip for Kram was interacting with members of Women Impacting Supply Chain Excellence (WISE). A student organization with collegiate chapters nationwide, WISE is dedicated to promoting the field of supply chain management and logistics. The network of chapters offers career-based advice and knowledge from the perspective of both female executives in the industry and student peers with internship and industry experience. 

At the conference, students were challenged to connect with WISE on their home campuses and build a local chapter. Kram took the initiative to establish a WISE chapter at Texas Tech and leads the group as one of its founding members.

Through participating in this professional development conference and establishing the WISE chapter at Texas Tech, Kram highlights a distinct work ethic and determination, which according to Dorris, is unique to Texas Tech graduates.

“Tech grads don't seem to take things for granted,” Dorris said. “We seem to work a little harder than everybody else. The success is seen around the country, you can see the success from the graduates who are out there working hard.”

Meredith, Holt and Hank Dorris
Meredith, Holt and Hank Dorris

All Dorris family members have a strong fondness for Texas Tech, including Hank's wife Meredith. While Meredith did not attend Texas Tech, she has grown to love the community surrounding her husband and son, Henry “Holt” Dorris. Holt followed closely in his father's footsteps by graduating from Rawls College in 2021 with a degree in supply chain management. 

“We've been married 35 years, and my first exposure to (Hank's) friends was a group of Tech people,” Meredith said. “It's impressive to me how they've stayed together and the excitement around that. I don't have that from where I went to school, so I really appreciate that.

“I see that for our son's group too, they stick together and help each other out. It's just really great. It's a comfortable community feeling to me, welcoming to me, even not being a grad.”

Hank emphasized that his own experiences as a student, and now his son's, were a large part of deciding to give back to the Texas Tech community.

“I'm just grateful for all that Texas Tech has given my family, and I'm very thankful for how Texas Tech has applied gifts to provide that same great experience for other families,” Dorris said.

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