Jan Fersing never attended Texas Wesleyan, but he’s supported the university for more than a decade.
Fersing, a Vermont native, is an Ivy Leaguer but has lived in Fort Worth for decades. His passion for helping Wesleyan athletes is shown in attendance at athletic events and a scholarship devoted to foreign students and athletes that began in 2005.
“Though neither I nor my four children attended Wesleyan I prefer to donate my time and money here rather than my Ivy League roots where it will hardly make a dent,” Fersing said.
Fersing is being honored for his contributions to Wesleyan’s athletic program on Feb. 5 at the 2016 Texas Wesleyan University Athletic Hall of Fame Induction. The event will be at the Ridglea Country Club in Fort Worth. The other four inductees are Ian Leggatt, Irvin Rue, Dianne Urey and Robert Wood.
“It’s always nice to be recognized and thanked, and I especially appreciate being selected as an Athletic Hall of Fame inductee,” Fersing said.
Fersing has been a businessman all his life. After graduating from Cornell University in 1958 with a degree in mechanical engineering, he worked for two years as an engineer for IBM, then got his MBA from Harvard university in 1964, he said.
Fersing became familiar with Wesleyan from volunteer activities in Fort Worth, where he owned a successful insulation business for 27 years, he said.
“I came to Wesleyan after I sold my company and endowed a scholarship whose beneficiaries are chiefly foreign students and athletes,” Fersing said.
Fersing said he was named an Honorary Alumnus by the Wesleyan Alumni Association in 2011, and has been on the board of trustees for about a decade.
“I have time to give back now after retiring in 2005,” he said. “One of my professors at Harvard suggested for everyone to spend thirty percent of their lives in public service, I just want to fulfill that.”
Fersing said he particularly enjoys the warm reception by staff members, students, and professors, every time he comes on campus.
Athletic Director Steven Trachier said Fersing is an important part of the athletic program.
“Mr. Fersing is genuinely interested in all athletes and events and attends as many events as he can,” Trachier said. “ He interacts with the coaches and the athletes also.
Fersing is still on the Board of Trustees and most likely will continue supporting Wesleyan as much as he can, Trachier said.
“He has given modest financial support to the university for many years now, but I think how he stays involved with the programs as much as he has is more meaningful for the school,” Trachier said.
Assistant Athletic Director and Women’s golf coach Kevin Millikan agrees with Trachier about how helpful Fersing has been.
“He’s really just a big fan of athletics and really enjoys spending time with everyone in the department, everyone knows who he is and how he builds relationships with the coaches and athletes,” Millikan said.
As a strong supporter of Texas Wesleyan for more than ten years, Fersing said he participates as much as possible as a spectator at sporting events.
“I love Fort Worth and Wesleyan, and greatly appreciate the opportunity to volunteer and contribute where I can see a difference from my efforts,” Fersing said.
The 2016 Texas Wesleyan University Athletic Hall of Fame Induction is 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Feb. 5. at the Ridglea Country Club. Reservations are $40 and can be made at www.ramsports.net.