Southwestern University Life Trustee
Jack Garey is a business and civic leader, committed environmentalist, and philanthropist. In 1978 he founded Garey Construction Company, a road, street, and highway contractor, and served for many years as its president. Under his leadership, Garey Construction, as one of the fastest-growing, privately owned companies in the United States, was recognized early on by Inc. magazine as a member of the “Inc. 500.” In 1998, Mr. Garey served as the president for the Associated General Contractors of Texas. A longtime rancher, Mr. Garey has actively managed large cattle ranches in Williamson, Falls, and Runnels Counties. Mr. Garey began his professional career as a trial lawyer, specializing in personal injury and workers’ compensation law. He is the author of “Handling Workman’s Compensation Case for the Plaintiff,” published by the State Bar of Texas. In the 1990s, he was appointed by the governor to the Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission, serving as its chair during 1990-91 and 1994-95.
Mr. Garey has been extraordinarily generous to Central Texas generally and to Georgetown in particular. In 2004 Mr. Garey and his wife, Camille, announced their intention to bequeath their 525-acre ranch, which is located along the South San Gabriel River, along with $5 million for the development of a city park. They later accelerated their gift, allowing Garey Park to open in 2018 as Georgetown’s flagship park, roughly 1.5 times the size of Zilker Park in Austin. Amenities include a playground, a splash pad, a dog park, an equestrian arena, fishing ponds, the Garey House event facility, pavilions, picnic shelters, and more than seven miles of hiking and equestrian trails. In a 2015 Austin American Statesman article, Kimberly Garrett, Director of Georgetown’s Parks and Recreation Center, said, “[T]he park is the biggest gift the city of Georgetown has received in the past 20 years.”
Mr. Garey also has been one of Southwestern’s most generous benefactors. His landmark contribution, given with honor to his late wife Camille, was a transformative $15 million endowment gift in 2017 to underwrite high-impact experiences for exceptional students, sabbatical semesters for tenured faculty, need-based student financial assistance, and endowed chairs in the natural sciences. The gift, which was the largest single cash gift in Southwestern’s history, established Southwestern’s Jack and Camille Garey School of Natural Sciences, joining the Brown College of Arts and Sciences and the Fayez Sarofim School of Fine Arts as one of the three named schools within the University.
Jack earned a bachelor of business administration degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 1955 and a law degree from that institution in 1957. He served on the Southwestern Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2015. In 2016, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and was named a life trustee.