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A Century Celebration - Roy Jacobs, Bba '34

June 21, 2010

He served as a U.S. Naval officer in World War II. He built an enormously successful business. He's shot a hole-in-one seven different times. And somehow, in the middle of it all, he managed to obtain a commercial pilot's license ... at the age of 62.

Roy L. Jacobs, BBA '34, has lived his life -- all 100 years of it -- to the fullest. Born on June 9, 1910, Jacobs grew up in Waco along with his two sisters.

"Baylor University was always my choice for college," he says. "And I still have very warm feelings toward it."

While taking a full course-load of business classes in his college years, it wasn't unusual for Jacobs to also be working 70 hours a week -- a relentless work ethic that went well beyond his graduation from Baylor.

Jacobs can recount instances when get-rich-quick schemes were suggested to him as he sought to begin a career. But he refused to take the easy path, desiring the satisfaction of building his own business from the ground up. Decorative wall coverings were his niche and genius. And before his retirement, the Roy L. Jacobs Company had earned the reputation as "The Neiman Marcus of Wallpaper."

In 2007, Jacobs turned his successes into opportunities for others when he and his wife, Betty, established a scholarship supporting Baylor students with a kindred entrepreneurial spirit in the School of Engineering and Computer Science.

Jacobs could easily teach today's students a thing or two about business savvy and surviving the school of hard knocks, but maybe more significant are the character traits that he credits with guiding him through the last century with integrity: "determination, resourcefulness and the willingness to take a risk."

Always a thinker, Jacobs, along with Betty, continues to enjoy investing in the stock market and pondering about creative business ventures.

When asked if, in his 100 years, he had discovered the secret to happiness, Jacobs smiled and replied, "Yes, I have. Marry a wonderful woman."

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