KINGSVILLE, Texas — More than $2,000 was raised during a “cut-a-thon” fundraiser Monday at the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. All proceeds benefit the Dr. James Robertson Jr. Memorial Fund.

Francisco Villa, owner of Corpus Christi-based Francisco’s Salon, wanted to give back in honor of someone who gave to others. He said it was a successful six-hour event – so successful that he would like to do it again next year.

“I expected to raise at least $1,000, but we doubled that,” Villa said.

See Kiii-TV video and more photos at Caller-Times coverage.

Robertson, Ph.D., who was associate dean for student affairs for the TAMHSC-Rangel College of Pharmacy, died Nov. 21, 2012, in Corpus Christi after complications from pneumonia. More than 800 people celebrated his life at his Jan. 12 memorial service in the Edward N. Jones Auditorium on the campus of Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

“It goes to show you how revered he was here because so many turned out to support the cause,” said Mary Lou Villa, Francisco’s wife and longtime friend of Dr. Robertson’s. “We would sit around the salon, drink coffee and talk when he had the time.”

Dr. Robertson was referred to the salon in 2005, and he and the Villa family immediately became friends. The family wanted to give back in honor of Dr. Robertson – who raised millions in grants and scholarships for students throughout his years – so Francisco discussed it with his crew.

“I sat with my tribe and asked them what we could do for him because he had such an impact,” Villa said. “We learned about the scholarship fund, so we decided to do this for him — for his legacy. It was beautiful to have him in our lives; he supported us.”

Villa, who has salons in Corpus Christi and Austin, has sponsored many charitable cut-a-thons benefiting various nonprofit organizations. In 2012, he sponsored a cut-a-thon to help raise funds for AIDS Services of Austin.

“We’ve been in business for more than 15 years, and we are very involved in charities in the community,” Villa said. “We are all about the community, and being a local business owner in the community, I like to give back.”

More than six stylists were on hand to trim hair. Students with the TAMHSC-Rangel College of Pharmacy provided snacks and volunteered their time.

Dr. Robertson was known for his clean-cut, professional dress at the college. He instituted “Dress-Up Thursday,” where men and women are expected to dress to impress.

“It was a great success,” said Christine Carney, third-year doctoral pharmacy student from Katy, Texas. “It was a great event for him because he was so into style; he would have loved it.”

More information on James Robertson Jr. and the memorial fund is available online at http://pharmacy.tamhsc.edu/robertson/index.html

— Cheri Shipman

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