Jim and Ann Nell Gann named TXST Heroes following $1 million gift


Jayme Blaschke | February 21, 2024

jim and ann nell gann
Jim and Ann Nell Gann

Jim Gann and his late wife, Ann Nell Gann, have become the newest TXST Heroes following a $1 million donation to Texas State University to support water research and endowed student scholarships

TXST Heroes are those individuals or organizations who have donated $1 million or more to the university. It is the most prestigious honor bestowed on Texas State supporters.

Of the gift, $500,000 will establish the James and Ann Nell Gann Endowment for Water Research in Texas to support students who pursue enhanced research and careers related to the future of the state’s water supply and the environment. Preference will be given to undergraduate research students interested in chemistry for water quality science and engineering; advanced water and wastewater treatment; and sustainable water resources management.

The other $500,000 will establish the James and Ann Nell Gann Endowed Scholarship in Chemistry. This scholarship will support undergraduate chemistry majors attending TXST. 

Jim met Ann Nell Burns while they were students at TXST (then known as Southwest Texas State). Jim was involved in several leadership positions and student organizations, including freshman class president, a member of Alpha Chi, a Gaillardian all-class favorite, the Harris Blairs Literary Society and twice named to Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges. As a student, he worked multiple jobs and relied on scholarships to continue the pursuit of his education. Ann Nell was a cheerleader, active in Alpha Chi, excelled in academics and was named to Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges. Jim graduated with his B.S. in chemistry in 1957, and Ann Nell earned her B.S. in home economics in 1958.

Following graduation, the couple married and moved to Bishop, where Ann Nell taught fourth grade and went on to earn her master’s degree in elementary education. Jim worked as a chemical plant manager for Celanese for 28 years, opening plants in Texas and Mexico. He became very involved in wastewater treatment and water issues in the Matagorda Bay area and held a more personal interest as a rice farm owner and recreational fisherman. Through this experience, Jim realized Texas faced increasing pressure on its water resources. Increasing demands on the Colorado River are resulting in ecological and economic consequences for Matagorda Bay and the surrounding region. 

Ann Nell passed away in 2023. The couple have two children, Denise, a Bobcat alum herself, and Dennis. Now retired, Jim owns and manages Gann Ranch in Bay City.

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922