It has been a month since many of us gathered for the 2013 Conclave, yet the names of our members who had their last “roll call” during the Necrology are still with us in memory. Since then we have added to their numbers, with the latest SigEp, Brother B.M. “Mack” Rankin Jr., Texas-Austin ’50, passing into perpetuity.
A lifelong Texan, Mack grew up in Gladwater and attended the University of Texas at Austin where he joined our Texas Alpha Chapter in 1947.
After graduating, he served for four years in the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant and was stationed in Germany during the implementation of the Marshall Plan. When Mack returned home, he began a highly successful career in the oil and precious metal industry.
Mack was a passionate advocate and activist. Indeed, it was his passion for life and cut-to-the-chase attitude that led to his many accomplishments. He wanted to get things done – and done in the right way. Mack invested substantial time in training the next generation of oil industry professionals and gave generously to the institutions he believed in. Among other projects, he sponsored endowments at the University of Texas for the head football coach and a professorship in the business school. He also partly funded the Longhorn Dining Hall, which bears his name, and led a successful fundraising campaign for the expansion of the Darrel K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium.
Mack also gave generously to SigEp, serving on the National Board of Directors and as a Life Trustee of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation. In 1981, we honored Mack with the Sigma Phi Epsilon Citation.
Mack was someone who inspired others by his character and his service. Below are some of the words from the friends and brothers who knew him best.
“Mack Rankin was truly one of a kind. Those of us who had the privilege of working with him on local chapter issues, National Board issues and SigEp Foundation issues always knew where he stood and, most importantly, why. We turned to Mack for solid business advice that was so important to SigEp being a successful not-for-profit organization."
Gary Griffith, Texas-Austin ‘70
“Mack was an inspiration to everyone that served on the National Board with him. He was a straight-talking, no-nonsense businessman who, under a seemingly gruff demeanor, clearly had a love for not only Texas Alpha, but for SigEp. He added a great deal of business sense to the board and insights to the undergrads and alumni alike. He also created some very amusing and memorable moments. He was, indeed, a special guy.”
Norm Nabhan, Purdue ’71
“His style was direct, but caring; he was patient to a point, then demanded action. Some of his most effective moments expressed this, such as, ‘Brothers, please, I will speak with him. It will be corrected.’ We all knew there would be no negotiation. He was a really big Texan, an immensely proud Texas Alphan and a demanding brother. What a gift to us who knew him.”
Ken Maddox, Oregon State ‘75
Thank you, Mack, for everything you taught us and did for our Fraternity. “Well done, good and faithful servant.” You will be missed.
Rev. Ray Ackerman