The Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University welcomed back Thomas W. Paterson, Class of 1980 graduate, as the 2009 Undergraduate Spring Recognition Reception keynote speaker.
Mr. Paterson left his home in Silver City, New Mexico for his first trip to come to Texas A&M a week before classes started in the fall of 1976. He moved fast while he was there, taking 20+ hours a semester so that he could graduate in six semesters; and he managed to be involved in department, college and university level activities. He was president of the Freshman Ag Society, Sophomore Class Senator, Chancellor for Alpha Zeta, and the first Executive Vice-President for Student Government. When he graduated summa cum laude in May 1979, he had a 4.00 GPA, was the Gathright Award recipient, and received the Rudder Award.
After Texas A&M, Mr. Paterson continued his education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received an M.A. and a Ph.D. in agricultural economics. At the University of Wisconsin, School of Law, he received a J.D. magna cum laude. As part of his doctoral dissertation, he co-authored The Sunkist Case, which received the Quality of Research Discovery Award from the American Agricultural Economics Association in 1988.
When he finished graduate school and law school in 1984, Mr. Paterson returned to Texas and went to work as a trial lawyer for Susman Godfrey, a Houston-based law firm. After six months, he took a year off to clerk for Judge Tom Gee on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. When his clerkship was over, he returned to Susman Godfrey, where he has practiced ever since. For approximately 25 years, Mr. Paterson has used his background and training in agricultural and natural resource economics for his clients, many of whom have been royalty owners or independent oil and gas producers. He is licensed to practice law in Texas and in New Mexico and has repeatedly been named a Texas Super Lawyer and a Houston Super Lawyer. He serves on the Board of the Natural Resource, Energy and Environmental Law Section of the New Mexico State Bar.
He has served on the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station Advanced Technology Advisory Committee and the Texas A&M Agribusiness Advisory Council. For almost 20 years, he has been a member of the Texas A&M College of Agriculture Development Council; and for the past 12 years, he has been the vice-chairman of the Board of Ministry to Muslims in Houston and is actively involved in Christian mission organizations.
Tom Paterson and his wife, Callie, have two daughters, Lindsay and Caroline. Together, they own the Spur Ranch near Luna, in western New Mexico. His passion on the ranch is conservation. With his daughters, he owns the Spur Ranch Cattle Company LLC, a commercial stocker operation.