Remembering James J. Cain

MEMORIAL GRAPHICFriends and colleagues of James J. Cain ’51 gathered to remember him as a great friend and mentor of Texas A&M University during a memorial service held to honor the Texas A&M graduate.

Cain’s long-term commitment to the mechanical engineering department included over 30 years of gifts, and contributions. His Estate Gift to the mechanical engineering department will be transformative for mechanical engineering students and faculty. Cain’s gifts have also benefited the Corps of Cadets, the biomedical engineering department and the President’s Endowed Scholarship Program.

Cain was the youngest of five children and was born and raised in Sherman, Texas. After completing high school, Cain attended Texas A&M and received a degree in mechanical engineering. During his long and distinguished career of more than 35 years at Mobil Oil, Cain was renowned for his desire to mentor students and faculty at Texas A&M. He took great pride in being a part of Mobil’s college recruiting team, often filling positions with Aggie graduates. Not interested in seeking his own recognition, Cain generously gave the students and faculty of Texas A&M his time, knowledge, expertise and financial support. As a result, throughout his 35 years as a mechanical engineer, Cain won almost every award Texas A&M bestows on distinguished former students. His longstanding commitment to Texas A&M included his support of The Association of Former Students for over 30 years, his Silver Membership of the Century Club and his membership of the Forsyth Heritage Society which recognizes friends and alumni of Texas A&M for their generous support.

As students earn their mechanical engineering degrees at Texas A&M, they will spend hours in the study spaces, laboratories and lecture facilities housed in the building which bears his name — a fitting legacy and most appropriate honor. The Engineering Physics Laboratory building, built in 1986, supports teaching and research activities associated with the departments of mechanical engineering and physics. The building is home to 12 mechanical engineering and 11 physics laboratories; 17 classrooms for general university classes; and the ASME student chapter office. In 2011, The Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System approved the building's name change to the James J. Cain ’51 Building, and held an official ceremony the same year.

“In his passing James J. Cain left behind no immediate family, however his dedication to this great university ensures his spirit will be forever mentioned in the roll call of Aggie greats,” said Dr. Andreas Polycarpou, head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. “James J. Cain’s legacy will be forever entombed on the building which houses this prestigious department. Many generations will owe a great debt of gratitude to a man who gave without expectation and simply wanted his philanthropic contributions to go to his beloved Aggie family.”